Page Summary: Clips, Quotes & Links for 45+ Science News Reports about Ocean Dead Zones & Destruction of Marine Environments due to Over-Fishing, Seafood Consumption, Plastic & Pollution from Land-based Agriculture (notably Meat, Dairy & Poultry); Exacerbating Climate Change; Threatening Our Food Systems.
Related page: 50+ reports on higher disease rates associated with consumption of fish and other sea-life. This site also has pages with scores of science news reports on the impact of our food choices on climate change, deforestation and biodiversity loss.
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2019 report in National Geographic: “The sea is running out of fish, despite nations’ pledges to stop it …”
Excerpts: “A third of commercial fish stocks are being harvested at biologically unsustainable levels and 90 percent are fully exploited, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The population of Pacific bluefin tuna, for instance, has plunged 97 percent from historic levels due to rampant overfishing of one of the ocean’s most ecologically and economically valuable top predators …
A study last year found nearly half the fish caught on the high seas in 2014 ended up in the holds of Chinese and Taiwanese vessels …
new research shows that governments have actually increased financial support for fishing practices that decimate marine life, despite public pledges to curtail such handouts.
In an exhaustive survey of 152 countries, scientists at the University of British Columbia found that ocean-faring nations spent $22 billion on harmful subsidies in 2018, or 63 percent of the total amount expended to support the global fishing industry …
Harmful subsidies is a term that refers to those that promote overfishing and illegal fishing that would otherwise not be profitable …
The University of British Columbia researchers report that China provides the most subsidies of any nation—some $7.2 billion in 2018, accounting for 21 percent of global support …”
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A 2006 CBS News report titled “Salt-Water Fish Extinction Seen By 2048.”
Excerpts: “The apocalypse has a new date: 2048. That’s when the world’s oceans will be empty of fish, predicts an international team of ecologists and economists. The cause: the disappearance of species due to overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, and climate change...
“This isn’t predicted to happen. This is happening now,” study researcher Nicola Beaumont, PhD… “If biodiversity continues to decline, the marine environment will not be able to sustain our way of life. Indeed, it may not be able to sustain our lives at all,” Beaumont adds.
Already, 29% of edible fish and seafood species have declined by 90% — a drop that means the collapse of these fisheries.
But the issue isn’t just having seafood on our plates. Ocean species filter toxins from the water. They protect shorelines. And they reduce the risks of algae blooms such as the red tide…”
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2019 report: “nearly 90% of the world’s marine fish stocks are now fully exploited, overexploited or depleted, according to Friends of Ocean Action, a group of more than 50 global leaders, convened by the World Economic Forum and World Resources Institute.”
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From the abstract of the study: “Human-dominated marine ecosystems are experiencing accelerating loss of populations and species, with largely unknown consequences… Overall, rates of resource collapse increased and recovery potential, stability, and water quality decreased exponentially with declining diversity… We conclude that marine biodiversity loss is increasingly impairing the ocean’s capacity to provide food, maintain water quality, and recover from perturbations…”
Reference: “Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services”, Science, 03 Nov 2006: Vol. 314, Issue 5800, pp. 787-790; at http://science.sciencemag.org/content/314/5800/787
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National Geographic reported in 2006: “Seafood May Be Gone by 2048, Study Says.”
Excerpts: “According to the study, the loss of ocean biodiversity is accelerating, and 29 percent of the seafood species humans consume have already crashed. If the long-term trend continues, in 30 years there will be little or no seafood available for sustainable harvest…
The increasing pace of diversity loss thus imperils the “ecosystems services” that many human populations depend on for survival, the study says.
The research also found that biodiversity loss is tightly linked to declining water quality, harmful algal blooms, ocean dead zones, fish kills, and coastal flooding…
“Biodiversity is a finite resource, and we are going to end up with nothing left … if nothing changes,” said Boris Worm…
He likened the relationship to a house of cards: Remove one species or habitat type in the system, and the whole thing comes tumbling down…
the finding that areas do recover if managed is a major bright spot to the otherwise dark study…”
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From a 2009 article by Professor David Suzuki titled “All Life Depends on the Oceans” some excerpts: “oceans provide almost half the oxygen we breathe… The collapse of Canada’s Atlantic cod stocks was just one of many warnings we should have heeded. Many West Coast salmon stocks have also disappeared and many are returning in increasingly lower numbers. Even the survival of the very base of the marine food chain, plankton, is being threatened…
Some threats to our oceans are easier to pinpoint than others. Swirling masses of plastic garbage in the oceans — one of them in the North Pacific estimated to be bigger than Quebec — are obvious artifacts of our disposable societies. Dead zones are showing up in our oceans around the globe. These are areas where oceans are starved of oxygen because of a nitrogen overdose from agricultural runoff.
Many fish stocks are dwindling, in part because of our appetite for seafood…
We know that global warming is causing the oceans to become more acidic…
while oceans help slow the pace of global warming, they too are absorbing too much carbon dioxide, resulting in disruption of the ocean’s pH balance. This increasing acidity causes calcium carbonate to dissolve, affecting life forms including corals, shellfish, and several species of plankton that rely on calcium for their very structure.
Science is confirming that our old assumptions are no longer valid, and we find ourselves in a situation of escalating risk. As a result, we need to look at our oceans in an entirely new way. We can’t continue to exploit ocean resources on false assumptions…
Neglecting the health of our oceans, where all known life began, is a risk we cannot afford to take.”
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The United Nations reported in 2006: “According to a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimate, over 70% of the world’s fish species are either fully exploited or depleted. The dramatic increase of destructive fishing techniques worldwide destroys marine mammals and entire ecosystems… oceans are cleared at twice the rate of forests…” Source: http://www.un.org/events/tenstories/06/story.asp?storyid=800
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“General situation of world fish stocks, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)… Of the 600 marine stocks monitored by the FAO:… 52% are fully exploited; 17% are over exploited; 7% are depleted; 1% are recovering from depletion; 20% are moderately exploited …” So that’s 77% overall being considered “fully” or “over exploited” or “depleted” with just 1% “recovering” from depletion with another 20% (making 97%) seemingly on the way to similar crisis statuses.
Source is page 1 of this PDF http://www.fao.org/newsroom/common/ecg/1000505/en/stocks.pdf (which seems to be from 2002)
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2019 news report: “The number of heatwaves affecting the planet’s oceans has increased sharply, scientists have revealed, killing swathes of sea-life like “wildfires that take out huge areas of forest”.
The damage caused in these hotspots is also harmful for humanity, which relies on the oceans for oxygen, food, storm protection and the removal of climate-warming carbon dioxide the atmosphere, they say.
Global warming is gradually increasing the average temperature of the oceans, but the new research is the first systematic global analysis of ocean heatwaves, when temperatures reach extremes for five days or more …
“This [research] makes clear that heatwaves are hitting the ocean all over the world … The ocean, in effect, is spiking a fever,” said Prof Malin Pinsky, at Rutgers University, US, and not part of the team. “These events are likely to become more extreme and more common in the future unless we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” …”
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The Guardian news 2018: “Just 13% of the world’s oceans remain untouched by the damaging impacts of humanity, the first systematic analysis has revealed. Outside the remotest areas of the Pacific and the poles, virtually no ocean is left harbouring naturally high levels of marine wildlife…
Scientists warned in January that the oceans are suffocating, with huge dead zones quadrupling since 1950, and in February, new maps revealed half of world’s oceans are now industrially fished…
The scientists said a high seas conservation treaty is urgently needed, with negotiations beginning in September under the UN Law of the Sea convention. They also said the $4bn a year in government subsidies spent on high seas fishing must be cut. “Most fishing on the high seas would actually be unprofitable if it weren’t for big subsidies,” Jones said…
“Beyond just valuing nature for nature’s sake, having these large intact seascapes that function in a way that they always have done is really important for the Earth. They maintain the ecological processes that are how the climate and Earth system function – [without them] you can start seeing big knock-on effects with drastic and unforeseen consequences.”
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2018 article in The Guardian titled “Oceans suffocating as huge dead zones quadruple since 1950, scientists warn.”
Excerpts: “Areas starved of oxygen in open ocean and by coasts have soared in recent decades, risking dire consequences for marine life and humanity… the number of very low oxygen sites near coasts have multiplied tenfold. Most sea creatures cannot survive in these zones and current trends would lead to mass extinction in the long run, risking dire consequences for the hundreds of millions of people who depend on the sea.
Climate change caused by fossil fuel burning is the cause of the large-scale deoxygenation, as warmer waters hold less oxygen. The coastal dead zones result from fertiliser and sewage running off the land and into the seas…”
Article at https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/04/oceans-suffocating-dead-zones-oxygen-starved
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“SEASPIRACY: What You Should Know About Fish, The Ocean, and More!” is a 14 minute presentation on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLgkrQSRy9E … Many of the claims in the video are supported by the quotes and references on this page as well as this site’s page regards the higher rates of diseases associated with eating fish and seafood.
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“The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) is the flagship publication of the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department.” http://www.fao.org/fishery/sofia/en
The 2016 PDF report states “The state of the world’s marine fish stocks has not improved overall… Based on FAO’s analysis of assessed commercial fish stocks, the share of fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels decreased from 90 percent in 1974 to 68.6 percent in 2013. Thus, 31.4 percent of fish stocks were estimated as fished at a biologically unsustainable level and therefore overfished. Of the total number of stocks assessed in 2013, fully fished stocks accounted for 58.1 percent and underfished stocks 10.5 percent…” Link: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5555e.pdf
The 2012 PDF report states “The declining global marine catch over the last few years together with the increased percentage of overexploited fish stocks and the decreased proportion of non-fully exploited species around the world convey the strong message that the state of world marine fisheries is worsening and has had a negative impact on fishery production. Overexploitation not only causes negative ecological consequences, but it also reduces fish production, which further leads to negative social and economic consequences…” Link: http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/i2727e/i2727e.pdf
These reports and figures are also discussed at this site http://overfishing.org/pages/why_is_overfishing_a_problem.php An excerpt: “Due to the difficulty of aggregating and combining the data it can be stated that the SOFIA report is a number of years behind of the real situation.
– 52% of fish stocks are fully exploited
– 20% are moderately exploited
– 17% are overexploited
– 7% are depleted
– 1% is recovering from depletion
The above shows that over 25% of all the world’s fish stocks are either overexploited or depleted. Another 52% is fully exploited, these are in imminent danger of overexploitation (maximum sustainable production level) and collapse. Thus a total of almost 80% of the world’s fisheries are fully- to over-exploited, depleted, or in a state of collapse. Worldwide about 90% of the stocks of large predatory fish stocks are already gone. In the real world all this comes down to two serious problems.
– We are losing species as well as entire ecosystems. As a result the overall ecological unity of our oceans are under stress and at risk of collapse.
– We are in risk of losing a valuable food source many depend upon for social, economical or dietary reasons…”
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From a 2015 article in The Guardian newspaper: “Marine food chains at risk of collapse, extensive study of world’s oceans finds… The food chains of the world’s oceans are at risk of collapse due to the release of greenhouse gases, overfishing and localised pollution, a stark new analysis shows. A study of 632 published experiments of the world’s oceans, from tropical to arctic waters, spanning coral reefs and the open seas, found that climate change is whittling away the diversity and abundance of marine species…
The world’s oceans absorb about a third of all the carbon dioxide emitted by the burning of fossil fuels. The ocean has warmed by about 1C since pre-industrial times, and the water increased to be 30% more acidic… We are seeing an increase in hypoxia, which decreases the oxygen content in water, and also added stressors such as overfishing and direct pollution… These effects are happening now…”
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“Global marine populations slashed by half since 1970: WWF… Populations of marine mammals, birds, reptiles and fish have dropped by about half in the past four decades, with fish critical to human food suffering some of the greatest declines… “Overfishing, destruction of marine habitats and climate change have dire consequences for the entire human population… The pace of change in the ocean tells us there’s no time to waste,” Lambertini [head of WWF International] said. “These changes are happening in our lifetime. We can and we must correct course now.”…”
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“Seafood hit by climate change, Australian study finds… A global marine food chain collapse due to greenhouse gas emissions could hit many popular eating fish, an Australian study has found. Warmer waters, coupled with ocean acidification, mean that the higher a fish is up the food chain, the more imperilled it would be… “There will be a species collapse from the top of the food chain down.“… Around 61 per cent of wild fish stocks are “fully fished” and 29 per cent “over-fished”, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. Just 10 per cent are under-fished, the organisation’s 2014 World Fisheries report said…”
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A 2016 article on the ScienceMag site is titled “Official statistics understate global fish catch, new estimate concludes”. The author states: “Commonly cited statistics have understated the size of the global seafood catch by about 30%, a new tally finds…” – http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/01/official-statistics-understate-global-fish-catch-new-estimate-concludes
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“Plastic rubbish will outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050 unless the world takes drastic action to recycle the material, a report has warned on the opening day of the World Economic Forum…” – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-21/more-plastic-than-fish-in-the-oceans-by-2050-report-warns/7105936
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“Fish not so healthy? Popular seafood riddled with plastic…” – http://www.natureworldreport.com/2015/09/fish-markets-filled-with-garbage/
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“How Plastic In The Ocean Is Contaminating Your Seafood…” – http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/12/12/250438904/how-plastic-in-the-ocean-is-contaminating-your-seafood
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“One-third of fish caught in Channel have plastic contamination, study shows. Fish were found to contain small pieces of plastic known as ‘microbeads’, in a study of 10 species…” – http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/jan/24/fish-channel-plastic-contamination
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National Geographic 2018: “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Isn’t What You Think it Is.”
Excerpt: “Microplastics make up 94 percent of an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic in the patch. But that only amounts to eight percent of the total tonnage. As it turns out, of the 79,000 metric tons of plastic in the patch, most of it is abandoned fishing gear—not plastic bottles or packaging drawing headlines today.
A comprehensive new study by Slat’s team of scientists, published in Scientific Reports Thursday, concluded that the 79,000 tons was four to 16 times larger than has been previously estimated for the patch. The study also found that fishing nets account for 46 percent of the trash, with the majority of the rest composed of other fishing industry gear, including ropes, oyster spacers, eel traps, crates, and baskets…”
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ABC news Australia 2018: “Great Pacific Garbage Patch plastic pollution dwarfs previous estimates and is ‘growing exponentially‘”
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ABC news Australia: “Arctic birds, seals and reindeer killed by marine plastics; pollution expected to rise.”
Excerpt: “A new report illustrates the scale of contamination in the Norwegian and Barents Seas north of Scandinavia, and shows that no corner of the Earth is immune from the scourge of plastic pollution.
Virtually everywhere researchers look they find plastic, according to the report by the Norwegian Polar Institute.
Even in remote areas with relatively low human impact, it says the concentration of plastic waste in the European Arctic is now comparable or even higher than in more urban and populated areas.
And there are signs the amount of plastic is increasing, with global plastic production reaching 322 million tonnes in 2015 and predicted to grow by around 4 per cent a year.
The report warns ocean debris poses a threat to marine organisms via entanglement, ingestion or as a vector for alien species.”
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A 2014 report by Oceana.org states “According to some estimates, global bycatch may amount to 40 percent of the world’s catch…
Bycatch, or the catch of non-target fish and ocean wildlife, is one of the largest threats to maintaining healthy fish populations and marine ecosystems around the world.
According to some estimates, global bycatch may amount to 40 percent of the world’s catch, totaling 63 billion pounds per year. In the United States, despite strong management measures and conservation initiatives in some regions, bycatch remains a persistent problem for far too many fisheries.
Some fisheries discard more fish at sea than what they bring to port, in addition to injuring and killing thousands of whales, dolphins, seals, sea turtles and sharks each year.
While bycatch data is often outdated and inaccurate, researchers estimate that 17-22 percent of U.S. catch is discarded every year, according to the best available data…”
Source: “Wasted catch: unsolved problems in U.S. fisheries” available at http://oceana.org/sites/default/files/reports/Bycatch_Report_FINAL.pdf
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From FAO report titled “A global assessment of fisheries bycatch and discards” – “Summary: The authors estimate that between 17.9 and 39.5 million tons (average 27.0 million) of fish are discarded each year in commercial fisheries. These estimates are based on a review of over 800 papers. The highest quantities of discards are from the Northwest Pacific while tropical shrimp trawl fisheries generate a higher proportion of discards than any other fishery type, accounting for one third of the global total.
Of four major gear groups, shrimp trawls stand alone at the top of the list; bottom trawls, long-lines and pot fisheries come next.
The third group consists of Japanese high-seas drift net fisheries, Danish seines and purse seines for capelin…. The authors point to inadequate data to determine the biological, ecological, economic and cultural impacts of discards although economic losses run to billions of dollars…” Source: http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/T4890E/T4890E00.HTM
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2018 report: “Our growing taste for shrimp is bad news for climate change.” Excerpts: “The amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by fishing vessels rose 28% from 1990 to 2011, according to a new study, thanks largely to a greater haul of this premium seafood… All told, crustaceans account for 22% of the CO2 emissions from fishing, despite making up just 6% of all the tonnage landed…”
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“For every pound of shrimp on your dinner table, 26 pounds of other sea animals were killed and tossed back into the sea. ‘Bycatch’ refers to all the additional creatures that are caught in the highly inefficient methods for harvesting seafood. Shrimp trawling is pretty much the worst, throwing 80 to 90 percent of its extra catch overboard in order to get to the shrimp. While shrimp makes up only 2 percent of the global seafood market by weight, its harvest is responsible for 33 percent of global bycatch…” Source: https://www.treehugger.com/green-food/6-shocking-facts-about-seafood-production.html
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“The number of [ocean] Dead Zones throughout the world has been increasing in the last several decades and currently totals over 550… “Dead zones,” also called hypoxia areas, are caused by nutrient runoff from agricultural and other human activities in the watershed and are highly affected by river discharge. These nutrients stimulate an overgrowth of algae that sinks, decomposes, and consumes the oxygen needed to support life…”
Source article: “NOAA-, EPA-supported scientists find average but large Gulf dead zone” at http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2014/20140804_deadzone.html
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The Guardian, UK newspaper, 2017: “Meat industry blamed for largest-ever ‘dead zone’ in Gulf of Mexico.”
Excerpts: “A new report shows toxins from suppliers to companies like Tyson Foods are pouring into waterways, causing marine life to leave or die…
The global meat industry, already implicated in driving global warming and deforestation, has now been blamed for fueling what is expected to be the worst “dead zone” on record in the Gulf of Mexico.
Toxins from manure and fertiliser pouring into waterways are exacerbating huge, harmful algal blooms that create oxygen-deprived stretches of the gulf, the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay…
America’s vast appetite for meat is driving much of this harmful pollution, according to Mighty, which blamed a small number of businesses for practices that are “contaminating our water and destroying our landscape” in the heart of the country…
Arkansas-based Tyson Foods is identified by the report as a “dominant” influence in the pollution, due to its market strength in chicken, beef and pork. Tyson, which supplies the likes of McDonald’s and Walmart, slaughters 35m chickens and 125,000 head of cattle every week, requiring five million acres of corn a year for feed, according to the report.
This consumption resulted in Tyson generating 55m tons of manure last year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with 104m tons of pollutants dumped into waterways over the past decade. The Mighty research found that the highest levels of nitrate contamination correlate with clusters of facilities operated by Tyson and Smithfield, another meat supplier…
This voracious appetite for meat has driven the loss of native forests and grasslands in the US and abroad, releasing heat-trapping gases through deforestation and agricultural practices…”
Related report titled “Tyson Foods Linked to the Largest Toxic Dead Zone in U.S. History. America’s largest meat producer must clean up its act.” is at https://www.alternet.org/environment/tyson-foods-linked-largest-toxic-dead-zone-us-history
Another report about it is titled “Mcdonald’s supplier, Tyson Foods blamed for largest ever ocean dead zone“…
Excerpt: “This week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are set to release new information on the planet’s largest ever ocean dead zone. Located in the Gulf of Mexico, the impacted area is expected to stand at more than 8,200 square miles big…
Tyson Foods has been pinpointed by the report as a major influence in the pollution, due to its large production of animal products. The company supplies major food and retail outlets such as McDonald’s and Walmart which slaughter 35 million chickens and 125,000 cows each week! According to the report by the Environmental Protection Agency, this demand requires 5 million acres of corn for feed and resulted in Tyson alone generating 55 million tons of manure last year, with 104 million tons of run off going straight into water ways within the last ten…
this pollution is also to blame for contaminating drinking water. The Environmental Working Group’s report from last week showed that over 48 US states had water systems containing high levels of nitrate; a chemical linked to increased risk of cancer…
the driving force for this problem is the excessive demand for meat products.
“This problem is worsening and worsening and regulation isn’t reducing the scope of this pollution,” said Lucia von Reusner, campaign director…
With one study saying that the planet has just 5% chance of reaching the Paris climate goal, it can be easy to feel disheartened and overwhelmed. The good news is, we all have the ability to make a difference. Livestock farming produces from 20% to 50% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions, with meat heavy diets causing the highest carbon footprint at 3.3 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. A vegan diet has the lowest carbon footprint at just 1.5 tons CO2e…”
Full article at http://www.livekindly.co/mcdconalds-tyson-ocean-dead-zone/
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This site contains pages with hundreds of science reports on the higher rates of disease & death associated with eating red meat, dairy, chicken/poultry, eggs, fish/seafood & of the lower rates associated with eating healthy plant-based diets high in fruits & vegetables & nuts.
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The Natural Resources Defense Council states, in an article titled “Facts about Pollution from Livestock Farms” that “Giant livestock farms, which can house hundreds of thousands of pigs, chickens, or cows, produce vast amounts of manure, often generating the waste equivalent of a small city. A problem of this nature and scale is tough to imagine, and pollution from livestock farms seriously threatens humans, fish and ecosystems. Below are facts and statistics that tell the story…”
Regards waterways and aquatic life two facts they state are:
i) “Nutrients in animal waste cause algal blooms, which use up oxygen in the water, contributing to a “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico where there’s not enough oxygen to support aquatic life. The dead zone fluctuates in size each year, extending a record
8,500 square miles during the summer of 2002 and stretching over 7,700 square miles during the summer of 2010…” and
ii) “Ammonia, a toxic form of nitrogen released in gas form during waste disposal, can be carried more than 300 miles through the air before being dumped back onto the ground or into the water, where it causes algal blooms and fish kills.”
Article at http://www.nrdc.org/water/pollution/ffarms.asp
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Smithsonian Magazine: “Nearly all ocean dead zones will increase by the end of the century because of climate change, according to a new Smithsonian-led study… Dead zones are regions where the water has unusually low dissolved oxygen content, and aquatic animals that wander in quickly die. These regions can form naturally, but human activities can spark their formation or make them worse. For instance, dead zones often occur when runoff from farms and cities drains into an ocean or lake and loads up the water with excess nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. Those nutrients feed a bloom of algae, and when those organisms die, they sink through the water column and decompose.
The decomposition sucks up oxygen from the water, leaving little available for fish or other marine life…
Researchers have known that low-oxygen, or hypoxic, areas are on the rise. They have doubled in frequency every 10 years since the 1960s, largely due to increases in nutrient-filled runoff. But warming and other aspects of climate change will likely worsen dead zones around the world…”
The article is at http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ocean-dead-zones-are-getting-worse-globally-due-climate-change-180953282/?no-ist
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From a 2014 report titled “Net Loss: The Killing of Marine Mammals in Foreign Fisheries” by the National Resources Defense Council (NDRC):
“The numbers are staggering: Scientists estimate that more than 650,000 marine mammals are killed or seriously injured every year in foreign fisheries after being hooked or entangled or trapped in fishing gear. Some of the harm is intentional—as is the case when fishing fleets using massive gillnets set upon dolphins as indicators that fish are present—while other harm is incidental, as when North Atlantic right whales are entangled in crab and lobster pots. This unintentional capture of animals in fishing gear, or bycatch, is pushing some marine mammal populations to the brink of extinction. And it is unacceptable, given the global importance of marine mammals and the availability of various technologies and methods for reducing harm…
Few realize it, but nearly every foreign fish product sold in the United States enters the U.S. market in violation of federal law. From the cod and haddock that go into the fish sticks enjoyed by children to the sea bass served at fine restaurants, if it was imported, it probably entered this country illegally. The reason is simple: The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) requires that all imported fish or fish products be accompanied by proof that the technology used to land the catch does not kill or seriously injure
whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals in excess of U.S. standards. Collecting dust for more than 40 years, this measure has never been enforced by the federal government, with predictable results: Foreign fisheries fail to invest in measures
limiting harm to whales and dolphins; U.S. fisheries, which do make these investments, are placed at a disadvantage; and Americans unwittingly consume foreign fish or fish products caught using techniques that needlessly kill a multitude of marine mammals each year…”
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From an article titled “What’s the role of factory farming in ocean degradation?” Some excerpts:”industrial animal agriculture is seriously impacting our waterways and ocean yet few people know it… animals are fed an endless stream of antibiotics and hormones, which are excreted and end up in our waterways and ocean. And even if the manure were from a strict grass-fed diet, there is still a problem: the scale on which factory farms produce animal waste creates nitrogen shocks to the environment, encouraging disease outbreak and destructive algae blooms…
Industrial animal agriculture contributes directly to sea temperature rise and ocean acidification… According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions – more than all transportation combined. As a primary driver of global warming – more than cars – animal agriculture is directly affecting the global ocean in two ways. First, the rising atmospheric temperature is raising global ocean temperatures leading to widespread coral bleaching. (Bleaching slows coral growth, makes them susceptible to disease, and leads to large-scale reef die-off). Second, a greater concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing the acidity of the global ocean, handicapping the extensive roster of marine organisms that build shells or skeletons.
Industrial animal agriculture hogs fresh water… Industrial animal agriculture is very water intensive. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) points out that one hamburger requires 660 gallons of water to produce – the equivalent of 2 months worth of showers. Then, consider the estimation that the meat and dairy industries combined use nearly 1/3 (29%) of all the fresh water in the world today.
Essentially, the once-fresh inputs of clean, natural water into the ocean are being replaced by flows of polluted farm runoff. And on a massive scale.
It’s no wonder that animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution and habitat destruction, according to the EPA.
What can we do in the face of such large scale destructive practices that harm the ocean? (Not to mention, harm ourselves through consumption of contaminated meat and water?) Simple: eat less meat and dairy.”
– Article at http://mission-blue.org/2015/02/whats-the-role-of-mass-animal-agriculture-in-ocean-degradation/
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The Guardian: “A new study finds that the world’s seabird populations have plummeted by almost 70% in just 60 years… Conservationists have long known that many seabird populations are in decline, but a recent paper in PLOS ONE finds the situation worse than anticipated. According to the researchers, seabird abundance has dropped 69.7% in just 60 years – representing the deaths of some 230 million animals…”
– http://www.theguardian.com/environment/radical-conservation/2015/sep/22/after-60-million-years-of-extreme-living-seabirds-are-crashing …
From the PLOS article “Seabird population changes are good indicators of long-term and large-scale change in marine ecosystems, and important because of their many impacts on marine ecosystems… We found the monitored portion of the global seabird population to have declined overall by 69.7% between 1950 and 2010…” at
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“The amount of fish taken from the world’s oceans over the last 60 years has been underestimated by more than 50%, according to a new study…” –
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Guardian: “We knew fish catches were too high. But it’s much worse than we thought. Just when we need it most, the very future of seafood is in doubt. How did the official figures get it so wrong – and can anything be done before it’s too late?… In reality, we take 50% more fish than we thought…
We can’t go on this way for much longer. Recognising you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery, and these new figures leave us in no doubt of the urgency of fixing overfishing. In a nutshell, we have to fish less, waste less and devise ways to capture what we want more selectively and with less collateral damage. We must also protect more by putting places off limits to fishing so that the seas can continue to thrive and provide in our fast-changing world…”
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“Rich countries pay zombie fishing boats $5 billion a year to plunder the seas…” – http://qz.com/225432/rich-countries-pay-zombie-fishing-boats-5-billion-a-year-to-plunder-the-seas/
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“Jellyish: They’re Taking Over!” in the New York Review of Books – about how human pollution and over-fishing is helping large blooms of jellyfish to take over and destroy the remaining aquatic life forms. The article is a review of a book titled “Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean”… The closing quote: “When I began writing this book,… I had a naive gut feeling that all was still salvageable… But I think I underestimated how severely we have damaged our oceans and their inhabitants. I now think that we have pushed them too far, past some mysterious tipping point that came and went without fanfare, with no red circle on the calendar and without us knowing the precise moment it all became irreversible. I now sincerely believe that it is only a matter of time before the oceans as we know them and need them to be become very different places indeed. No coral reefs teeming with life. No more mighty whales or wobbling penguins. No lobsters or oysters. Sushi without fish…”
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From a 2014 issue of the Environmental Pollution journal: “Microplastics are present throughout the marine environment and ingestion of these plastic particles (<1 mm) has been demonstrated in a laboratory setting for a wide array of marine organisms. Here, we investigate the presence of microplastics in two species of commercially grown bivalves… As a result, the annual dietary exposure for European shellfish consumers can amount to 11,000 microplastics per year. The presence of marine microplastics in seafood could pose a threat to food safety, however, due to the complexity of estimating microplastic toxicity, estimations of the potential risks for human health posed by microplastics in food stuffs is not (yet) possible…”
Reference: “Microplastics in bivalves cultured for human consumption”, Lisbeth Van Cauwenberghe, Colin R. Janssen, Ghent University, Laboratory of Environmental Toxicology and Aquatic Ecology, published in the journal ‘Environmental Pollution’; https://www.elsevier.com/life-sciences/aquatic-sciences/virtual-special-issue-plastic-in-the-worlds-oceans and at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0269749114002425
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Regards bivalves from a 2017 report: “HOW FARMING OYSTERS IMPACTS THE OCEAN … The Audubon society was outraged by the unjust approval for the expansion of a commercial oyster farm (owned by Coast Seafoods and Co) into the Humboldt Bay Harbor that would hurt Canada geese, Western sandpipers, and other migratory birds … The Audubon society claimed that a faulty environmental report was used by the Conservation District to approve the expansion, and that 200 species of birds, 300 species of invertebrates, and over 100 plant species, including eelgrass, would be affected by this expansion … Certain methods to harvest oysters trample eelgrass in the process, which for a species already in extensive decline on the west coast, could have detrimental impacts on the ecosystem as a whole … Eelgrass supports a multitude of marine organisms and communities, including but not limited to: crabs, sea turtles, young herring, and other microorganisms through acting as food and shelter … Eelgrass has been known as the foundation of the marine food chain …”
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From a 2014 article titled “Whales, Dolphins Are Collateral Damage In Our Taste For Seafood” Excerpt: “Hundreds of thousands of marine mammals are injured or killed every year by fishermen around the world. And because most seafood in the U.S. is imported, that means our fish isn’t as dolphin-friendly as you might expect.
Under pressure from conservation groups, federal regulators are preparing to tighten import standards to better protect marine mammals.
There was a time, more than 40 years ago, when U.S. fishermen killed millions of dolphins while fishing for tuna. After a public backlash, fishermen figured out how to minimize that so-called bycatch.
But fishermen in other parts of the world continue to kill not just dolphins but seals and even whales. So conservation groups like the Center for Biological Diversity have been pressing for stricter standards on imports…”
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“For every pound of shrimp on your dinner table, 26 pounds of other sea animals were killed and tossed back into the sea. ‘Bycatch’ refers to all the additional creatures that are caught in the highly inefficient methods for harvesting seafood. Shrimp trawling is pretty much the worst, throwing 80 to 90 percent of its extra catch overboard in order to get to the shrimp. While shrimp makes up only 2 percent of the global seafood market by weight, its harvest is responsible for 33 percent of global bycatch…” from this article at https://www.treehugger.com/green-food/6-shocking-facts-about-seafood-production.html … “Under the broader definition, shrimp may be synonymous with prawn…” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrimp
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From a 2012 report titled “Tiny shrimp leave giant carbon footprint: scientist” – “Measured by environmental impact, a humble shrimp cocktail could be the most costly part of a typical restaurant meal, scientists said Friday… “The carbon footprint of the shrimp from this land use is about 10-fold greater than the land use carbon footprint of an equivalent amount of beef produced from a pasture formed from a tropical rainforest,” wrote Kauffman in a paper released to AFP, not including emissions from farm development, feeds, supplements, processing, storing and shipping.
The farms are inefficient, producing just one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of shrimp for 13.4 square kilometers (five square miles) of mangrove, while the ponds created are abandoned in just three to nine years because disease, soil acidification and contamination destroy them, he wrote. After abandonment, the soil takes 35 to 40 years to recover, he said…”
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Infographic title “35 facts that will make you never want to eat fish again” at http://inhabitat.com/35-facts-that-will-make-you-never-want-to-eat-fish-again/
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From an article titled “Reducing My Plastic Wastes” excerpts: “another thing that I am trying to do to lessen my carbon footprint is by reducing my trash, most especially plastic waste… In the US, 33.6 million tons of plastic gets discarded every… Our oceans are dying, the animals are dying, this destroys the ecosystem and frankly we should all be taking this seriously… it is actually not so hard to reduce trash… These are some of the simple things that I do to reduce mine: Always carry a reusable shopping bag… Skip the straw… Solution? Paper, bamboo and stainless steel straws… say no to plastic utensils… Buy in bulk and buy package free… Skip the plastic bottles… Choose the lesser evil… [use] paper bags… bring a reusable canvass bag… glass bottles or jars… opt for something that would disintegrate faster (like paper) instead of plastic… And if you really can’t say no to plastic, make sure you are getting the recyclable one…” from this page: https://bettereverydayph.wordpress.com/2017/08/19/reducing-my-plastic-wastes/
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This set of articles were compiled for
Pages on this Site:
Quotes from news reports & science journals on how the Western omnivore diet with meat and dairy products accelerates climate-change through: i) increasing our carbon footprint of greenhouse gases; ii) deforesting & destroying wilderness that absorbs carbon and protects biodiversity; iii) creating massive pollution; and iv) wasting resources like grains, water, fuels and agricultural lands.
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Excerpts & links to medical studies, articles & reports on the links between meat consumption and increased incidences of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and early mortality (a shorter lifespan); also to reports on how cancers are increasing in young people.
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Quotes & links to articles in science, medical & health journals that report great benefits vegetarians and vegans generally have including longer lives with less of the chronic degenerative diseases like cancer, cardiovascular heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and obesity as well as lower blood pressure, hypertension and blood cholesterol levels.
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Excerpts & links to articles in news media science journals about the current ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’ known also as the ‘Holocene Extinction’ or ‘Anthropocene Extinction’ as it is largely caused by human activities.
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This page contains quotes & links for studies & articles in science journals, news media & by medical doctors; on the association of drinking milk to higher rates of osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.
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This page features quotes & links to articles in news media and science journals about the rise of microbes that are resistant to antibiotics; posing a grave threat to all of us; from 50% to 80% of antibiotics are (mis-)used in animal agriculture industries.
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This page features quotes & links to reports that expose how the animal agriculture industries (meat, dairy, poultry) influence government, politics, the education schooling system and news media in order to promote their interests.
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Excerpts from articles about the marine ecosystem collapse that is happening now in oceans, seas & rivers due to over-fishing and the toxic pollution in waterways from land-based animal agriculture meat-farming; worsening climate change; threatening the entire food chain.
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Articles from science journals & news reports that dispute the health claims made regards eating fish; some even find higher rates of heart disease and cancer among seafood consumers.
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A collection of quotes & links for articles by doctors, dietitians & nutrition experts who refute & rebut the negative claims made regards “the soy food debate”
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For Archives of Related Memes see:
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This site’s original 2012 page with excerpts from articles in science journals and news media about how what we choose to eat can: i) accelerate or slow down climate change and the related environmental catastrophes we face; and ii) increase or reduce our risks for chronic illness and disease. The evidence and body of opinion against the animal agriculture livestock industry is particularly compelling and damning.
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