Over 80% of all life on the planet resides in the oceans and unfortunately is nearly invisible to us as it quickly vanishes beneath the surface of the water due to over fishing, pollution, and global warming. Many fisheries which once supplied abundant food for humans and sustained richly bio-diverse ecosystems are gone and many more are on the verge of collapse.
Without healthy oceans the rest of the planet’s life systems are in jeopardy. Ocean nutrients feed terrestrial ecosystems, over 50% of oxygen produced comes from ocean phytoplankton, and human beings and other animals rely on the abundance of food sourced from the ocean across the globe. Oceans are the lifeblood of the planet and it is widely agreed that they are being rapidly depleted and destroyed.
So, when I visited the Fish Market in Busan, South Korea, these were all of the thoughts going through my head. While I admired the bounty of the sea, I also was keenly aware that much of what I was seeing was part of the vast system of commercial fishing that is depleting our oceans at an unsustainable rate worldwide.
While much of the ocean life that was for sale may still be in relative abundance for the next few years, I also saw items for sale that we know to be severely threatened and any consumption has a direct and real impact on species with very uncertain futures. These included whale meat, turtle, and bluefin tuna.
Unfortunately, with human populations growing worldwide and the increasingly advanced methods for harvesting larger and larger catches of ocean life, there is little hope that much will change until it is too late. In parts of the world certain fisheries have been closely regulated to maintain sustainable levels of harvest, but regulating the seafood industry worldwide is incredibly difficult.
Of course the Fish Market in Busan is not the problem, it is just one piece of a huge picture, but when it comes to the oceans, each piece needs to be carefully looked at to better understand the whole so that action can be taken to protect the lifeblood of this planet before it is too late.
If you would like to learn more about the problems facing our oceans and what some people and organizations are doing to help please check out the links bellow: