By: Rachel Cozzi
Summary: The pollution of the ocean and carelessness of humans are the driving forces in suffering and harm of marine life, including; sea turtles, whales, and dolphins. When the topic of ocean pollution and sea turtles comes up, many first think of the straws and plastic bags that the turtles are accidentally, and fatally, ingesting. Although smaller plastic pollution, such as straws and bags, are extremely harmful, fishing nets are also strangling and smothering the reptiles by the hundreds of thousands every single year. Other fishing equipment, such as ropes and hooks, also entangle and impale the animals as well. Both Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles have the greatest risk of injury due to the nature and location of where they feed. The largest source of plastic pollution in the ocean is discarded fishing nets, known as “ghost nets”, which make up almost half of the total plastic ocean pollution. As a whole, the ocean is very difficult to moderate as there are no concrete laws when it comes to dumping, so many fishermen leave their old equipment behind. If individuals want to make a difference in the well-being of sea turtles, then along with using a reusable straw and bag, they should also be researching brands and seeing if they are contributing to the deaths of sea turtles and other marine life, as well as ocean pollution. It is imperative to purchase seafood only from sustainable companies that aim to minimize their environmental impact on the oceans, or simply not purchase any seafood at all.
Why we should care? Wildlife is being strangled and smothered by the thousands due to human carelessness. All living beings deserve respect and it is unacceptable that they are dying due to the selfishness of humans.
Example News Article:
I found this article interesting as it pertained to the topic of ocean conservation, but the article was comprised of an interview with Harvard graduate and marine biologist, Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson. Dr. Johnson is an extremely accomplished marine biologist who has dedicated her life to ocean conservation. Since it was an interview and not an article written by a journalist, it seemed like an unbiased, authentic, and informative article. What initially drew me to the article was the title “Why Saving the Ocean is as Vital as Protecting Rainforests” as it seems to be a commonality that the idea of saving the rainforest is of greater importance than saving the ocean when it comes to climate change and the health of the Earth as a whole, but both the rainforests and ocean are of equal importance.
Science in Action.
Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a marine biologist, and founder and CEO of Ocean Collectiv, a consulting firm for conservation solutions grounded in social justice.
Dr. Johnson has completed extensive research on the ocean and the importance of sustainability in the ocean. She has researched a variety of topics, from coral bleaching and marine bycatch, to research on the ocean and its inhabitants in specific locations, such as Bonaire. Her article on marine bycatch highlighted how many sea creatures are being caught in the crossfire and needlessly murdered due to commercial fishing and although she did not specifically list sea turtles, they unfortunately are frequently injured and killed. In the United States alone, around 250,000 sea turtles are accidentally captured, injured or killed every year by fishermen. Dr. Johnson has completed research pertaining to the overfishing of Caribbean coral reefs, and has tested traps that certain fish/sea life have the ability to escape from, depending on their body shape. Sea turtles are both harmed by the fishermen, and their fishing nets that get dumped into the ocean when they are finished utilizing them.