Science, Bitches! | Issue 11

Science, Bitches! | Issue 11

Marine Conservation

The oceans cover most of the Earth, so arguably it could be called Planet Ocean, right? It contains 99% of the living space on Earth, covers nearly 71% of the planet’s surface, provides about 50% of our oxygen, and gives us 20% of the world’s protein. Yet we’ve explored less than 10% of its mysterious depths and we provide it with almost 0% protection. Let’s wave in marine conservation; it’s all about protecting this vast ocean and all the creatures that live in and around it. Just trawling the net, we can see there is some great stuff happening around the place.

You can catch the Dunedin-based marine conservation group Our Seas, Our Future (OSOF) making a difference one small step at a time. When you open up a can of OSOF, what you find is a group of passionate marine conservationists making a difference at the grass-roots level. And rest assured, the contents of this can are not only dolphin-friendly but also sustainably caught.

OSOF is a part of a national campaign called the New Zealand Shark Alliance working at saving our sharks. 98 countries have now banned shark finning and New Zealand is one of the few countries that still tolerate this brutal practice. What is so good about shark fins? Apart from helping sharks go about their daily business, not much! They’re mostly used for texture in shark fin soup, and symbolise wealth, prestige and honour to some, while others think it will help them get lucky in the bedroom. With all these magical properties, shark fins can fetch up to US$1000 per kg. Bad news for sharks.

OSOF is also encouraging people to use fewer plastic bags, because plastic is both resource-hungry to manufacture and ends up in our oceans, choking marine life, starving baby birds and polluting the environment. A part of OSOF’s campaign is organising kick-arse coastal clean ups, removing man-made rubbish from coastal areas, while at the same time educating people about the effects of plastic on the environment.

Speaking of plastic, you may have heard about the 19-year-old Dutch student, Boyan Slat, who plans to remove more than seven million tons of plastic waste currently polluting the world’s oceans. Boyan designed the Ocean Cleanup Array, a device that will travel the ocean while filtering out bits of plastic. He got the idea from a school paper he wrote looking at plastic particles found in the oceans. So help out the world and get studying science, beaches!

This article first appeared in Issue 11, 2013.
Posted 2:26pm Sunday 12th May 2013 by Noel Jhinku.

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