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Pollution, rampant trawling hit fish catch along AP coast - Times of India (It's also happening in the Phil)

Pollution, rampant trawling hit fish catch along AP coast - Times of India (It's also happening in the Phil) | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Pollution, rampant trawling hit fish catch along AP coastTimes of IndiaVISAKHAPATNAM: Fish catch in coastal AP has plummeted by almost 40% besides registering a sharp decline in marine biodiversity and disruption in ecosystem with several endemic...

This is direct fallout of indiscriminate and unscientific exploitation by trawler nets, unchecked pollution and lack of implementation of government regulations.

Researchers and experts express concern and point out that alternative methods of fish catching and livelihood for the fishing community are a must to save the marine biodiversity. B Baratha Lakshmi, director, Academic Staff College, Andhra University, who is involved in biodiversity conservation, points out that untreated release of effluents including heavy metals, chemicals and its sewage, pesticides, pharma factories and oil spills from ships have wreaked havoc on the marine life on AP coast.

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Once the 4th-Largest Lake in the World, the Aral Sea Is Now Gone ("an example of drier times ahead")

Once the 4th-Largest Lake in the World, the Aral Sea Is Now Gone ("an example of drier times ahead") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

The Dutch parliament voted Thursday night to shutter the nation’s coal industry in order to achieve a 55-percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. The vote, which is not yet binding, would require shutting down the five coal power plants currently operating in the Netherlands, three of which just came online in 2015. Slashing CO2 emissions by 55 percent would bring the country’s emissions in line with the targets set by the Paris climate deal last December, and set a strong precedent among European nations for policies to slow the effects of climate change.

The Netherlands’ Liberal and Labour parties led the 77 to 72 vote on September 22, in favor of the 2030 emissions reduction goal. Parliament will next move to get the plan into effect. The decision comes on the heels of the discovery that the nation’s CO2 emissions have jumped 5 percent over the last year, which analysts blame on the three new coal-fired power plants. Turning away from coal power is the fastest and simplest method for drastically reducing emissions over time.

“Closing down big coal plants–even if they were recently opened–is by far the most cost effective way to achieve the goals of the Paris agreement, and all countries will need to take such far-reaching measures,” the Dutch Liberal MP and vice president of the parliament, Stientje van Veldhoven, told the Guardian. “We cannot continue to use coal as the cheapest source of energy when it is the most expensive from a climate perspective.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
Much of the world is either melting or drying up.

"The Dutch parliament voted Thursday night to shutter the nation’s coal industry in order to achieve a 55-percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. The vote, which is not yet binding, would require shutting down the five coal power plants currently operating in the Netherlands, three of which just came online in 2015. Slashing CO2 emissions by 55 percent would bring the country’s emissions in line with the targets set by the Paris climate deal last December, and set a strong precedent among European nations for policies to slow the effects of climate change."
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Florida sinkhole leaks radioactive water into local aquifer ("if true, the aquifer is forever doomed")

Florida sinkhole leaks radioactive water into local aquifer ("if true, the aquifer is forever doomed") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

About 215 million gallons of radioactive water have spilled in to the sinkhole in Mulberry, Florida, so far.

About 215 million gallons of radioactive water has been leaked into a massive sinkhole that opened at a fertilizer plant in Mulberry, Fla, threatening the state aquifer. According to abc news, Fertilizer company Mosiac said the sinkhole is about 45-feet wide and 800-feet deep.

The aquifer is the source of drinking water for millions of local residents and empties into springs that Floridians use for recreation.

"Based on the nature of the water loss and what we've learned so far," the sinkhole damaged the liner system at the base of a phosophogypsum stack, Mosaic said on Thursday. "The pond on top of the cell drained as a result" and "some seepage continues." 

The fertilizer company added that it believes the sinkhole reached the Floridian aquifer, and WFTS reported that the company told the station about 215 million gallons of contaminated water used to process fertilizer drained had into the hole.

After learning of the water loss, "Mosaic immediately implemented additional and extensive groundwater monitoring and sampling regimens and has found no offsite impacts," the company said. Additionally, Mosaic "began pumping water out of the west cell" of the affected phosphogypsum stack "into an alternative holding area on site to reduce the amount of drainage." 

The company has also "begun the process of recovering the water" drained through the sinkhole "by pumping through onsite production wells," it said.

Bert Guevara's insight:
When something may go wrong, it will.

Who would have thought that a sink hole will happen under a fertilizer plant and leak radioactive water into the aquifer? Well, here is a case of an foreseen event creating a nightmare for the local population.
If the leak is true, that aquifer is dead!
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Two dead in water riots in India's Silicon Valley ("future water wars begin w/ question of ownership")

Two dead in water riots in India's Silicon Valley ("future water wars begin w/ question of ownership") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Two people have died in ongoing disputes over water in India's Silicon Valley.

Relative calm has been restored to the Indian city of Bangalore following the deaths of two men amid riots over an ongoing water dispute. Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to protesters to exercise restraint and follow the law as a heavy paramilitary presence was deployed Wednesday. Protests began earlier this week over a water sharing deal between the Indian states of Karnataka and neighboring Tamil Nadu.

Tempers have been running high on Karnataka's streets since a September 5 Supreme Court ruling which ordered the state to release 15,000 cubic feet of water per second per day (cusecs) from its reservoirs to relieve drought-stricken farmers in Tamil Nadu. 

Millions of farmers in both states rely on water from the Cauvery River -- which originates in Karnataka and flows into Tamil Nadu before feeding into the Bay of Bengal -- for irrigation. As the monsoon rains wind down in southern India in September, sources of drinking water run short.

Farmers also struggle to meet their farming needs. Tamil Nadu claims it is not receiving enough water and blames Karnataka for holding it in its reservoirs. The latter claims the former is asking for more than it actually needs. 

After rumblings of unrest, the Supreme Court on Monday reduced the level of water that had to be released by Karnataka to 12,000 cubic feet of water per second each day until September 30.

"We are ready to give up our lives but not Cauvery," one protestor screamed, referring to the river that supplies the water to the reservoirs.

Bert Guevara's insight:
This unrest in India is an example of what happens when water runs dry. People become threatened when drinking water supply or irrigation water is threatened.

"We are ready to give up our lives but not Cauvery," one protestor screamed, referring to the river that supplies the water to the reservoirs. 
"Cauvery belongs to Karnataka," the crowd shouted. 
The dispute over Cauvery's waters go back to early 1800, according to government records. The two-century-old disagreement has resulted in multiple settlements in the past, but none has resolved the issue.
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World's oceans facing biggest coral die-off in history, scientists warn ("underwater heat wave fatal")

World's oceans facing biggest coral die-off in history, scientists warn ("underwater heat wave fatal") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

A third global bleaching of coral reefs is underway following a massive and persistent underwater heatwave ...

Scientists have confirmed the third-ever global bleaching of coral reefs is under way and warned it could see the biggest coral die-off in history. 

Since 2014, a massive underwater heatwave, driven by climate change, has caused corals to lose their brilliance and die in every ocean. By the end of this year 38% of the world’s reefs will have been affected. About 5% will have died forever. 

But with a very strong El Niño driving record global temperatures and a huge patch of hot water, known as “the Blob”, hanging obstinately in the north-western Pacific, things look far worse again for 2016.

For coral scientists such as Dr Mark Eakin, the coordinator of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coral Reef Watch programme, this is the cataclysm that has been feared since the first global bleaching occurred in 1998 . 

“The fact that 2016’s bleaching will be added on top of the bleaching that has occurred since June 2014 makes me really worried about what the cumulative impact may be. It very well may be the worst period of coral bleaching we’ve seen,” he told the Guardian. 

The only two previous such global events were in 1998 and 2010, when every major ocean basin experienced bleaching.

The difference between this bleaching event and others before it is not just the extremity of sea temperatures, but how long they have persisted for. Corals can recover from bleaching if the temperature relents. But after a month or more the organisms that build these brilliantly coloured underwater cities die.

Bert Guevara's insight:
A third global bleaching of coral reefs is underway following a massive and persistent underwater heatwave. (1st, 1998; 2nd, 2010)

“The development of conditions in the Pacific looks exactly like what happened in 1997. And of course following 1997 we had this extremely warm year, with damage occurring in 50 countries at least and 16% of corals dying by the end of it,” he said. “Many of us think this will exceed the damage that was done in 1998.”
Since the early 1980s the world has lost roughly a fifth of its coral reefs. Hoegh-Guldberg said the current event was directly in line with predictions he made in 1999 that continued global temperature rise would lead to the complete loss of coral reefs by the middle of this century. 
“It’s certainly on that road to a point about 2030 when every year is a bleaching year … So unfortunately I got it right,” he said.
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How an ancient tradition could save Hawai’i’s oceans ("rock fishponds provide sustainable fish farm")

How an ancient tradition could save Hawai’i’s oceans ("rock fishponds provide sustainable fish farm") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

The revival of traditional fishponds can be good for communities and coral reefs alike.

On the shores of Hawai’i, the ancestors of modern Native Hawaiians built loko iʻa (traditional fishponds) that provided them with a regular source of fish. The pond walls were built with stacks of rocks that allowed ocean water to filter through the cracks. Young wild fish would swim through the gates into the pond to feed in its rich, brackish water; once there, the fish grew too large to swim out of the gate and became trapped. 

As a result of overfishing and the degradation of coral reefs and other habitats in the islands, today around 60% of seafood consumed in Hawai‘i is imported. Luka Mossman of CI Hawai’i believes that the revitalization of loko iʻa can help change that. “The goal is to feed the communities,” he said. 

Surprisingly, the fishponds can also help restore the coral reefs nearby. The pond managers periodically release some of their farmed fish back into the wild, and the pond’s walls become habitat for bivalves and other marine life that prey on the small fish escaping from the fishpond. The pond also traps sediment runoff that would otherwise damage the reef.

“We are using modern tools like cloud software and tablets to help us collect water-quality data within the loko iʻa,” Mossman explained. “We will then reconcile this with our traditional kilo (Hawaiian observations) of our resources. This will help further our understanding of the optimal conditions for loko iʻa to rear fish, and allow us to revitalize this traditional practice.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
Learn from the Hawaiian tradition of building sustainable fishponds out of rocks. The engineering may be crude, but the science is amazing.

"On the shores of Hawai’i, the ancestors of modern Native Hawaiians built loko iʻa (traditional fishponds) that provided them with a regular source of fish. The pond walls were built with stacks of rocks that allowed ocean water to filter through the cracks. Young wild fish would swim through the gates into the pond to feed in its rich, brackish water; once there, the fish grew too large to swim out of the gate and became trapped."
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Dahil sa maduming tubig mula Laguna Lake, Maynilad, may araw-araw na water interruption ...

Dahil sa maduming tubig mula Laguna Lake, Maynilad, may araw-araw na water interruption ... | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Tumaas umano ang antas ng total dissolved solids sa Laguna Lake kaya dumumi ang tubig.

Dahil sa pagtaas ng antas ng total dissolved solids (TDS) sa tubig na nagmumula sa Laguna Lake, nagbawas ang Maynilad Water Services Inc. ng kanilang water production. 

Paliwanag ng Maynilad, kinakailangan nilang ibaba ang produksyon ng tubig para matiyak na ang suplay na nakararating sa kanilang customers ay malinis at nakatutugon sa Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water. 

Dahil limitado nga ang water supply, araw-araw na magpapatupad ng water interruption ang Maynilad sa mga barangay sa Las Piñas Muntinlupa, Parañaque at Imus, Cavite simula ngayong araw, August 31 hanggang sa October 30, 2016. Narito ang mga lugar na maaapektuhan ng water interruption ng Maynilad at ang oras kung kailan lamang sila mayroong suplay ng tubig:...

Bert Guevara's insight:
This is what happens when a city relies on water from a polluted and dirty lake.
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This is huge! Obama to Create World’s Largest Marine Reserve in Hawaii ("we should have a few more")

This is huge! Obama to Create World’s Largest Marine Reserve in Hawaii ("we should have a few more") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Obama to Create World’s Largest Marine Reserve in Hawaii

Citing the danger that climate change poses to the oceans, President Obama will establish the largest marine reserve in the world today, protecting nearly 600,000 square miles off the coast of Hawaii. 

Commercial fishing, mining and extraction are prohibited in the expanded Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, though subsistence fishing and scientific research will be allowed. 

"The oceans are the untold story when it comes to climate change and we have to feel a sense of urgency when it comes to protecting the ocean that sustains us," said Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii. George W. Bush originally established the reserve a decade ago, protecting 140,000 square miles.

"President Obama's expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National makes it the largest sanctuary for ocean life in the world," Greenpeace oceans campaign director John Hocevar said. 

"This is a bold decision that will have lasting benefits for Hawaii's unique ecosystem. Networks of sanctuaries have proven to be powerful tools to ensure the health of our oceans. Setting aside areas closed to fishing, drilling and other extractive uses is the best way to protect biodiversity, rebuild depleted fish populations, and increase the resilience of marine ecosystems so they can better withstand the impacts of climate change.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Many MPAs (Marine Protection Areas) are already existing in the Philippines and are reaping the fruits of tourism today. Let's have more!

"Bolder steps are still needed. Less than two percent of the world's oceans are protected from fishing, and many scientists suggest a target of 40 percent. ...
"Setting aside 40 percent of our marine ecosystems—in remote areas as well as those closer to home—will help preserve the health of our oceans and our communities."
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Climate change is doing weird things to our beaches ("scenario is no longer the same due to climate")

Climate change is doing weird things to our beaches ("scenario is no longer the same due to climate") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Climate change is expected to make beaches get saltier, leading to potentially significant changes for crabs, sea birds and other coastal creatures, according to a new study. 

Researchers had expected the subsurface or ‘pore’ water in beaches to be about as salty as the waves washing over it. 

However, they discovered that at the high tide mark on a beach in Delaware Bay, average salinity was more than twice the seawater and up to four times higher in places.

It is thought that evaporation is the main reason behind the increased concentration and suggested this could intensify due to climate change.

In the journal Scientific Reports, they said: “An increase in temperature or a decrease in relative humidity – for example, due to climate change – would not only increase the pore-water salinity in the beach, but would also alter its spatial distribution; abrupt salinity increases are expected to occur immediately near the water line.” 

The scientists, from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), tested 400 different samples at different times of the day and night on seven days.

They found the seawater had salt concentrations of 25 grams per litre (g/L), compared to an average of 60 g/L at the high tide mark, with some places as high as 100 g/L. 

Dr Xiaolong Geng, a postdoctoral fellow at NJIT and the principal author of the paper, said: “These elevated levels can only be caused by evaporation, as there is no other mechanism for increasing the salt in pore water – the water trapped between the grains of sediment.

Bert Guevara's insight:
“Based on what we learned, we think this finding should alter the way water management in coastal areas is conducted.”

“Evaporation is an important driver of underground water flow and salinity gradients, and animals such as mussels and crabs are affected by changes in salinity. If the concentrations are too high or too low, they will move away.”
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From Boom to Glug glug: Indonesia’s new anti-poacher policy ("turning villains to agents of nature")

From Boom to Glug glug: Indonesia’s new anti-poacher policy ("turning villains to agents of nature") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Blowing up illegal foreign fishing boats is out. Turning them into coral reefs is in.

To mark its independence day on August 17, Indonesia’s fisheries ministry will scuttle 34 fishing boats — from Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and China — all caught fishing with faulty documents in Indonesian waters. But instead of blowing up boats like last year, this year the boats will be sunk to build fish habitat alongside the anti-poaching action.

The boats will be sunk in Indonesia’s remote and coral-and-fish-rich marine borderlands in yet another signal to Indonesia’s regional neighbors to curb their poaching fishermen. This time the sinking locations carry a symbolic territorial message as well. 

Nine vessels will be totalled off the waters of Northern Maluku, Sulawesi and Morotai — dileneating Indonesia’s northern border with the restive southern Philippines where pirates and militants ply the waters. Seventeen will be destroyed in the waters off Natuna, Tarempa and Batam — Indonesia’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Three will be submerged beneath the waters of eastern Borneo where southern Filipino terrorists kidnapped the crew of two indonesian coal trampers. Four will be sunk in western Papua.

Putnam thinks the basic principles behind creating reefs from old boats are mostly sound. Coral need hard, large substrates (such as a sunken boat) to grow on. “Small pieces rolling around on the ocean bottom is not good,” she said. Time is also a component, Putnam added, as “coral also needs a layer of bio-film algae.” However, the process needs to be followed up with research and monitoring.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The Phil used to sink rusting vehicles and rubber tires, but these were failures. Will sinking fishing vessels be better in growing corals?

"Putnam thinks the basic principles behind creating reefs from old boats are mostly sound. Coral need hard, large substrates (such as a sunken boat) to grow on. “Small pieces rolling around on the ocean bottom is not good,” she said. Time is also a component, Putnam added, as “coral also needs a layer of bio-film algae.” However, the process needs to be followed up with research and monitoring."
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Flint Is About To Run Out Of Bottled Water And Filters — ThinkProgress ("residents may be left alone")

Flint Is About To Run Out Of Bottled Water And Filters — ThinkProgress ("residents may be left alone") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

As the federal state of emergency lapses, residents may be left in the lurch.

The federal government declared a state of emergency for the city in January after news of the water contamination crisis, in which the city failed to use corrosion control chemicals when it switched water sources and lead leached into its drinking water for years, made national headlines. The state of emergency meant that the government picked up 75 percent of the cost of buying bottled water and filters. 

But that designation lapsed on Sunday. The state will now have to cover the entire cost, which is estimated to come to $3.5 million a month, or $117,400 a day. The state had put aside $6 million for the costs, but that money will soon get eaten up as it shoulders the entire burden.

The water quality in the city has been improving, and officials are urging residents to drink from filtered taps. But the latest citizen-led testing shows that while the city is close to ending the public health disaster, it’s still not safe to drink straight tap water yet. Meanwhile, during the peak of the crisis lead levels were so high that filters couldn’t remove all of the toxic chemical.

Residents will likely have a difficult time buying their own water and filters if help runs out. More than 40 percent of people in Flint live in poverty. Meanwhile, they were already being charged the highest rates for their water services in the country, even while that water was contaminated with lead.

Bert Guevara's insight:
This is the scary scenario when water resources are not protected. What happens when government resources can no longer subsidize bottled water and filters?

"The federal government declared a state of emergency for the city in January after news of the water contamination crisis, in which the city failed to use corrosion control chemicals when it switched water sources and lead leached into its drinking water for years, made national headlines. The state of emergency meant that the government picked up 75 percent of the cost of buying bottled water and filters. 
"But that designation lapsed on Sunday. The state will now have to cover the entire cost, which is estimated to come to $3.5 million a month, or $117,400 a day. The state had put aside $6 million for the costs, but that money will soon get eaten up as it shoulders the entire burden."
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13 ways to provide water & sanitation for nine billion people ("raise the priority level for action")

13 ways to provide water & sanitation for nine billion people ("raise the priority level for action") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

How can water be better managed to ensure enough supply for a growing global population? Our panel of water experts have their say

1. Calculate the water available: We need a better accounting of our “water balance sheet”. In many places, we don’t have any idea how current and near-term future demand matches up with the available surface and groundwater supplies.

2. Link global water use: Although the Swiss are quite efficient at using water within our country, we have a huge water footprint because of all the food and goods we import, often from very water stressed parts of the world. Globalisation means there is a global water economy at play.

3. Think across sectors: Currently, those who work on “water services” think almost exclusively in terms of access, and those who work on “water resources” think in terms of sectors and water usage.

4. Treat water resources better: For a long time we treated water as limitless, and the incentive structures in cities and rural areas pushed people towards unsustainable practices.

5. Develop water monitoring and regulation: Governments can provide both regulatory sideboards – such as requirements for full cost recovery on water tariffs – and incentives – such as cost-share on water reuse and rainwater harvesting systems.

6. Establish accountability mechanisms: To secure a safe water supply for the poorest people, service providers should get into trouble when they fail to provide the services the poorest need.

7. Construct better water points:

8. Invest in simple, efficient irrigation technology:

9. Promote rainwater harvesting:

10. Secure sufficient financing.

11. Work with communities:

12. Invest in staff skills and capacity:

13. Apply smart strategies:

Bert Guevara's insight:
How can water be better managed to ensure enough supply for a growing global population?
Check out these 13 suggestions and decide which ones apply to your area.
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Belgian scientists built a solar-powered machine that turns urine into potable water ("pee-drink")

Belgian scientists built a solar-powered machine that turns urine into potable water ("pee-drink") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

A team of truly resourceful scientists at the University of Ghent claim to have created a machine that transforms your urine into drinkable water.

This just may be the ultimate in green technology — if you can stomach it, that is. A team of truly resourceful scientists at the University of Ghent claim to have created a machine that transforms your urine into drinkable water. That’s right. We may soon be drinking our pee. 

It’s all contingent upon solar energy, which means that this technology could be useful in a number of under-resourced areas. To treat the urine, the scientists use the energy of the sun to power membrane distillation, which the team says “holds possible advantages over existing urine treatment technologies.”

In a paper detailing their study, the scientists wrote, “The possibility of potable water production was investigated in human urine by assessing the permeate water quality, maximum recovery and mid-term process stability. It was shown that at least 75 percent of the available water could be recovered from non-hydrolyzed human urine without process failure. As such, membrane distillation is a viable alternative for existing urine treatment.”

Membrane distillation, the Belgian researchers said, is particularly useful because it is particularly energy-efficient. “We’re able to recover fertilizer and drinking water from urine using just a simple process and solar energy,” University of Ghent researcher Sebastiaan Derese told Reuters.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Drink your own pee? What if it tasted like beer? 
This solar-powered urine converter may come in handy sometime.

"To test the viability of the new technology, the team set up their purifying machine at a 10-day festival in Ghent, Belgium, whereupon it collected 1,000 liters of water from attendees’ urine. And what did they do with that water? They turned it into beer. “We call it from sewer to brewer,” Derese said. I mean, they kind of look alike anyway, right? 
"Ultimately, the scientists hope that their urine-purifying machine can be placed in various frequently-visited public spaces, or better still, in developing nations where there remains a dire need for clean drinking water. So if you’re up to #peeforscience, this just may be the best invention of all time."
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6 Human Activities That Pose The Biggest Threat To The World’s Drinking Water ("killing world slowly")

6 Human Activities That Pose The Biggest Threat To The World’s Drinking Water ("killing world slowly") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Humans are doing a pretty good job of seriously messing up our drinking water.

Here are some of the ways that human activity is seriously messing with clean water, both in the United States and around the world. 

Agriculture 

Agriculture is a huge contributor to water pollution, from fertilizers used for row crops to the manure created by large-scale animal agriculture.

Fossil fuel production 

Fossil fuel production is another human activity that places considerable strain on drinking water — and not just because fracking and coal mining use a great deal of water, but because their waste products can pollute groundwater, and therefore drinking water, as well.

Sewage 

In some places, population growth has strained wastewater treatment plants to the point where they cannot handle the amount of sewage that is produced by the city or town.

Pharmaceuticals 

In addition to poop, sewage, fertilizers, and coal ash, the United States’ drinking water might have a drug problem. U.S. health providers — as well as livestock producers — use millions of pounds of pharmaceutical drugs each year, and some of those are ending up in treated drinking water. Antibiotics are a particular concern, because they could lead to antibiotic resistance.

Development 

Development and land-use changes — or the changing of land from rural to urban — is a big part of what the PNAS study published Monday looked at when considering the degradation of drinking water.

Climate change 

The bad news is that climate change is expected to exacerbate a lot of the problems that already threaten our waterways.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Why are we polluting the resource that sustains life? Why are we throwing poisons into our sources of drinking water?

"The study, which was a joint effort from researchers at the Nature Conservancy, Yale University, and Washington State University, looked specifically at how three kinds of water pollution — sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus — have degraded the watersheds from which we obtain our drinking water. These kinds of pollution can enter into watersheds for a variety of reasons, but they all come back to one thing — human activity, which can have seriously detrimental impacts on drinking water."
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Chinese poachers destroyed coral reefs in Spratly, Pag-asa islands ("all happening in the open sea")

Chinese poachers destroyed coral reefs in Spratly, Pag-asa islands ("all happening in the open sea") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Marine biologist John McManus said Chinese poachers had been using the propellers on their boats to destroy coral reefs at disputed islands Spratyls and Pag-asa, referred to as Thitu in China. 

"I looked at the historical satellite imagery and found out that in every single case where they built their islands, a few years before, there had been the giant clam fishers who had used their boats to dig up the reef flat, killing all the corals," McManus said in a report by Maki Pulido for "News To Go" on Friday.

According to data, coral bleaching and reef scarring are evidence of systematic crushing through repeated scratching or scraping by Chinese poachers to harvest giant clams. 

McManus added that aside from discovering the poaching method, the data also links the destruction of the corals to China's construction of artificial islands. 

"They said their scientists went there. They looked around and they say 'Oh, this is all dead coral.' It was! It's the truth—it had been killed by the Chinese fishers," he said.

McManus is pushing for a large Spratly Island International Peace Park, which would be managed together by concerned countries. 

"There has to be coordination of fisheries management and coral reef management across the whole South China Sea or it will collapse," he said. 

Peace parks have already been established in parts of Africa and on the Red Sea between Israel and Jordan. 

The Antarctic Treaty, signed in 1959 to turn Antarctica into a scientific preserve and to ban military activity in the continent, is an early example of an agreement between seven countries with overlapping territorial claims. It is also proof that territorial disputes do not need to end in armed conflict and violence. 

Bert Guevara's insight:
This rape of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) is irreversible! Something has to be done.

"I looked at the historical satellite imagery and found out that in every single case where they built their islands, a few years before, there had been the giant clam fishers who had used their boats to dig up the reef flat, killing all the corals," McManus said in a report by Maki Pulido for "News To Go" on Friday.
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Expedition to study scale of microplastics on Atlantic's smallest creatures ("tiny particles' havoc")

Expedition to study scale of microplastics on Atlantic's smallest creatures ("tiny particles' havoc") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Scientists will sail from the UK to the Falkland Islands to study the level of microplastic pollution on tiny zooplankton at the bottom of the food chain

Scientists will set off from the east coast of England this week to journey thousands of miles across the Atlantic to discover how bad the problem of the oceans’ tiniest creatures eating microplastics has become. 

Zooplankton are essential for the marine food web right up to the fish we eat, and are known to be more likely to die and be worse at reproduction after eating the minuscule pieces of plastic. 

But researchers still do not have a clear picture of exactly how prevalent the pollution has become in the wild. The Atlantic Meridional Transect expedition, due to leave the Port of Immingham on Tuesday, will travel to the middle of the Atlantic and then head south before cutting across to the Falkland Islands to shed light on how widespread microplastics are in zooplankton. 

“Studies have proven that zooplankton suffer side effects from ingestion of microplastics: increased mortality, not as successful at reproducing. In other species, there is a change in behaviour that makes them more vulnerable to predation. Basically it’s not good for them, they’re going to die,” said Madeleine Steer at Plymouth University, who will be aboard the RRS James Clark Ross for the 46-day voyage. 

“But there’s not much work that’s been done looking at the bottom of the food chain in the wild, and how microplastics affect them. We need to see the prevalence [of microplastics] in zooplankton.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
One serious plastic problem is the one that we can't see, especially in water.

"Microplastics have become an increasingly high profile environmental problem. The UK government followed the US earlier this month when it said it would ban a subset of them, known as microbeads, from some household products."
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Global treaty set to halt invasive species ravaging our oceans ("ships become the unwilling agents")

Global treaty set to halt invasive species ravaging our oceans ("ships become the unwilling agents") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Many ships will soon have to install systems to deal with stowaways species in their ballast water that have caused havoc when dumped far from home ...

At last, the game may be up for marine invaders that hitch free rides across the globe in ships’ ballast water. A global convention to stop this happening was formally triggered on 8 September, more than two decades after it was proposed, and will officially come into force a year from then. 

The convention will compel many of the world’s 70,000 or so registered cargo ships to install equipment guaranteed to kill off any aquatic creatures in seawater taken on board to maintain stability. 

Ships often discharge their ballast at distant destinations, and for decades this has led to hugely damaging introductions of new and invasive species from one part of the world into another. 

“The ones with the biggest economic and ecological impact have probably been the North American comb jelly, Mnemiopsis leidyi, and the European zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha,” says Natasha Brown, a spokeswoman for the International Maritime Organization, the UN body that will administer the Ballast Water Management Convention. 

The arrival of the comb jelly (pictured top) in the Black, Azov and Caspian seas from its home on the east coast of North America caused the catastrophic collapse of fisheries in the 1990s. 

Crossing in the opposite direction as larvae, zebra mussels (pictured below) have caused an estimated $1 billion worth of damage between 1989 and 2000 in the US Great Lakes by blocking water intake pipes.

With the convention coming into force, this invasion route – one of the greatest threats to the world’s oceans – should be dramatically curtailed. But it will take time. “There aren’t enough facilities around the world to immediately fit all the world’s ships with the necessary sterilisation equipment,” says Smith.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Many shipping companies become transporters of invasive species across the oceans because of the untreated sea water they store in their ballasts to maintain stability. The invasive species in these waters are transferred to other oceans upon discharge.
This practice is causing havoc in the biodiversity of our oceans.

With the convention coming into force, this invasion route – one of the greatest threats to the world’s oceans – should be dramatically curtailed. But it will take time. “There aren’t enough facilities around the world to immediately fit all the world’s ships with the necessary sterilisation equipment,” says Smith.
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MORNING TICKER - Stunning ocean discovery alarms scientists ("ocean warming rate is dangerous")

MORNING TICKER - Stunning ocean discovery alarms scientists ("ocean warming rate is dangerous") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Scientists are seeing something in the ocean that makes them very, very concerned: dangerously high temperatures that suggest our lives could be changing very quickly and much sooner than we think. A paper published by the International Union for the Onservation of Nature seeks to explain ocean warming and its consequences, and describes quickly warming seas as the “great hidden challenge of our generation.” 
The study included 80 scientists from 12 different countires and predicts that mean global temperatures will rise by one to four degrees by the year 2100. 
Why is this a problem? Such a drastic change would kill corals and marine leaf, decimating fisheries and devastating communities, for one thing. It could also lead to the disappearance of many creatures, like emperor penguins, which are seeing their population numbers cut in half. It could lead to the creation of more superstorms that would smash into human-populated cities. It would lead to more famines and intense heat. It could result in the faster spread of viruses like Zika and Malaria.
The way forward, IUCN says, is to push for lowering carbon pollution and creating larger protected marine areas to halt the decline. That said, there’s only so much that can be done, and now is the time to start planning for some of these devastating effects to local economies. 
“Ocean warming may well turn out to be the greatest hidden challenge of our generation,” the paper states. “Whether ocean warming impacts a particular group of organisms, alters the structures of ecosystems such as coral reefs, changes the very essence of environmental conditions, or indeed influences weather, it impacts on everyone to some degree as we are an ocean planet. It has profound implications not just for ecosystems but also for the significant number of coastal communities and valuable economies that depend on a healthy ocean. Up to now, the ocean has shielded us from the worst impacts of climate change. The costs is that its chemistry has been altered as it absorbed significant amounts of the extra carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere, but it has also warmed at an alarming rate in recent decades.”
Bert Guevara's insight:
What happens when the cool oceans that have absorbed carbon emissions and global warming have become saturated? What happens then?

“Ocean warming may well turn out to be the greatest hidden challenge of our generation,” the paper states. “Whether ocean warming impacts a particular group of organisms, alters the structures of ecosystems such as coral reefs, changes the very essence of environmental conditions, or indeed influences weather, it impacts on everyone to some degree as we are an ocean planet. It has profound implications not just for ecosystems but also for the significant number of coastal communities and valuable economies that depend on a healthy ocean. Up to now, the ocean has shielded us from the worst impacts of climate change. The costs is that its chemistry has been altered as it absorbed significant amounts of the extra carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere, but it has also warmed at an alarming rate in recent decades.”
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Five Years After Hurricane Irene, Vermont Still Striving for Resilience ("respect natural rivers!")

Five Years After Hurricane Irene, Vermont Still Striving for Resilience ("respect natural rivers!") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
One of the main takeaways from Irene was that development had changed the landscape around rivers. By making them straighter and easier to build around, it meant that heavy rains turned them from placid waterways into chutes of destruction. 
"It's clear to us that flooding is not just the water rising," said Swanberg, "It's the power of water that is causing the damage to roads and bridges and culverts." 
When the water breached river channels during Irene, it behaved like water from a firehose, not just flooding homes but sweeping them away. It created damage along corridors never identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as Special Flood Hazard Areas. In some areas of the state, such as the northeast corner known as the Northeast Kingdom, many of the FEMA maps are 30 years old and exist only on paper. 
"FEMA's stalled in Vermont," said Swanberg. "Because we're not on a coastline or behind a levee, we're not a priority update area." 
"We get floods all the time," said Kenneth Jones, an Economic Research Analyst with the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. In fact, Vermont has experienced flooding in every year since 2007, which is still not reflected in many of FEMA's maps. 
Instead of waiting for FEMA to update its maps, Vermont made its own that focused on its specific kind of river flooding. They mapped the river and tributary systems statewide and identified the channel or the space that rivers will need, helping the state's municipalities manage development near those rivers to give them the wiggle room they need.
Bert Guevara's insight:
The new normal is heavier rainfall in many parts of the world, like the Philippines. 
The water will have to pass through natural and man-made waterways. To disrespect the nature of water means disaster. This US state has become smarter from previous disasters and has moved forward.

One of the main takeaways from Irene was that development had changed the landscape around rivers. By making them straighter and easier to build around, it meant that heavy rains turned them from placid waterways into chutes of destruction. 
"It's clear to us that flooding is not just the water rising," said Swanberg, "It's the power of water that is causing the damage to roads and bridges and culverts." ...
"But they also say that only a quarter of the state's municipalities have adopted updated river corridor and or floodplain standards, and a third of municipalities haven't yet adopted a local hazard mitigation plan. Businesses are still shuttering, finding that after five years after Irene they weren't able to fully recover. 
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One shower could flush 100,000 microbeads into the ocean ("coastal cleanups can't recover this")

One shower could flush 100,000 microbeads into the ocean ("coastal cleanups can't recover this") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

British MPs have issued a report detailing the alarming damage to the environment wreaked by microbeads used in cosmetic products.

British MPs have issued a report detailing the damage to the environment wreaked by microbeads used in cosmetic products. 

The report from the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee called on the the government to introduce a legislative ban on microbeads in cosmetics and toiletries.

According to environmental advocacy group Greenpeace, microplastics are "tiny pieces of plastic that are added to everyday cosmetic products [like] face wash, toothpaste, abrasive cleaners and lots more." 

Because of their size — typically 0.1 to 0.5 millimetres in length — microbeads can easily go down plug holes and pass through water filtration systems. 

Microbeads — often labelled as polyethylene — settle into ocean sediment and can be ingested by marine life, resulting in severe health impacts. 

The report states that a "single shower can result in 100,000 plastic particles being flushed into the sewage system." 

Indeed, James Clark — a research scientist at Plymouth Marine Laboratory — told Mashable that 25ml of shower gel can contain up to 40,000 plastic particles. 

"If one were to use 50ml while showering, that would equate to 80,000 particles. This is consistent with the number quoted from the report," Clark told Mashable.

The report also stated that a plate of six oysters "can contain up to 50 particles of plastic," but more research is still needed to investigate the impact of microplastic consumption on human health.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Do your cosmetics (face wash, toothpaste, abrasive cleaners) contain microplastics? 
The amount of microplastics we flush out to the oceans will land on our plates sooner or later. Fishes, shrimps, oysters, etc. may not distinguish microplastics mixed with the other matter in the ocean.

"The report also stated that a plate of six oysters "can contain up to 50 particles of plastic," but more research is still needed to investigate the impact of microplastic consumption on human health."
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Alaska Native village votes to relocate in the face of rising sea levels ("threat is real for them")

Alaska Native village votes to relocate in the face of rising sea levels ("threat is real for them") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

The villagers were nearly split on whether to leave their ancestral home for good.

Today, the coastal village of Shishmaref, Alaska, voted to relocate due to climate change–induced rising sea levels, according to city council secretary Donna Burr. The community is home to about 600 people, most of whom are Inupiat Inuit, and welcomed votes from tribal and non-tribal residents alike. 

This isn’t the first time the village has voted to relocate. In 2002, residents chose to leave for the mainland, but a lack of federal funds made that impossible. The U.S. Department of the Interior has made $8 million available for all tribes seeking relocation — that’s far short of the estimated $200 million the village needs to move.  

A lot of residents, like 25-year-old Tiffany Magby, are too young to really remember the 2002 vote. Magby says she’s heard talk of relocation almost her entire life and that the vote was difficult for her. 

“I waited until the last hour to vote,” Magby says. “I have a 3-year-old son, and am worried about what it means for his upbringing.” 

Magby voted to stay, because she doesn’t want her son to lose access to traditional values outside of Shishmaref. She says she didn’t know how most people voted, because most were quiet about the decision, pondering their vote until the last minute. The vote still needs to be certified, but the unofficial ballot results are 89-to-78, according to Burr. 

Burr says that that due to a lack of state and federal funding, the village will have to figure out a creative process to relocate. “It’s not going to happen in our lifetimes,” Burr says. “We just want to take the right steps forward for our children.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
Enough with the speculations and alarmists, sea level rise is so real for this Alaskan village that they have agreed to evacuate and transfer.

"Today, the coastal village of Shishmaref, Alaska, voted to relocate due to climate change–induced rising sea levels, according to city council secretary Donna Burr. The community is home to about 600 people, most of whom are Inupiat Inuit, and welcomed votes from tribal and non-tribal residents alike. 
"This isn’t the first time the village has voted to relocate. In 2002, residents chose to leave for the mainland, but a lack of federal funds made that impossible. The U.S. Department of the Interior has made $8 million available for all tribes seeking relocation — that’s far short of the estimated $200 million the village needs to move."
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Seas aren’t just rising, scientists say — it’s worse than that. They’re speeding up. ("too late?")

Seas aren’t just rising, scientists say — it’s worse than that. They’re speeding up. ("too late?") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Scientists say that once they correct for the cooling effect of 1991's Mount Pinatubo eruption, sea level rise is accelerating.

On a warming Earth, seas inevitably rise, as ice on land melts and makes its way to the ocean. And not only that — the ocean itself swells, because warm water expands. We already know this is happening — according to NASA, seas are currently rising at a rate of 3.5 millimeters per year, which converts to about 1.4 inches per decade.

However, scientists have long expected that the story should be even worse than this. Predictions suggest that seas should not only rise, but that the rise should accelerate, meaning that the annual rate of rise should itself increase over time. That’s because the great ice sheets, Greenland and Antarctica, should lose more and more mass, and the heat in the ocean should also increase.

The problem, or even mystery, is that scientists haven’t seen an unambiguous acceleration of sea level rise in a data record that’s considered the best for observing the problem — the one that began with the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite, which launched in late 1992 and carried an instrument, called a radar altimeter, that gives a very precise measurement of sea level around the globe. (It has since been succeeded by other satellites providing similar measurements.) 

This record actually shows a decrease in the rate of sea level rise from the first decade measured by satellites (1993 to 2002) to the second one (2003 to 2012). “We’ve been looking at the altimeter records and scratching our heads, and saying, ‘why aren’t we seeing an acceleration in the satellite record?’ We should be,” said John Fasullo, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

The study was performed using a suite of 40 climate change models to determine how the Pinatubo eruption affected seas and the global distribution of water. The scientists estimate as a result that sea level not only fell between 5 and 7 millimeters due to a major ocean cooling event in the eruption’s wake, but then experienced a rebound, or bounce back, of the same magnitude once the influence of the eruption had passed.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Because of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, our scientists' projections were thrown off. But now that Mt. Pinatubo's effect on the environment is waning, the sea level rise is back to its normal speed. This is scary.

"So far, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change officially estimates that the high-end sea-level rise projection for 2100 is lower than some of these scenarios, closer to about 1 meter (3.3 feet) by that year. But that has recently been challenged by new work estimating that Antarctica alone could add this much to global sea levels by 2100 if high levels of human greenhouse gas emissions continue."
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Flint’s lead-poisoned water cost the city nearly 100 times as much as it was supposed to save

Flint’s lead-poisoned water cost the city nearly 100 times as much as it was supposed to save | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

The disastrous switch from Lake Huron to the Flint River as the city's water source will cost it nearly $460 million.

The Flint water crisis wasn’t just terrible for the thousands of its residents who were exposed to lead. It’s also been bad for the city’s coffers — really bad. 

According to Peter Muennig from Columbia University’s School of Public Health, switching the water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint river — a move that was intended to save the city $5 million — will actually cost the city nearly $460 million. 

That figure doesn’t just cover emergency water and medical care — it includes social costs, including “lower economic productivity, greater dependence on welfare programs, and greater costs to the criminal justice system,” as James Hamblin points out in The Atlantic. 

Young people are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning, which has serious consequences on developing brains and can result in intellectual disabilities and anti-social behavior. And state officials have advised that all children under six in Flint – an estimated 8,000 to 9,000 kids – should be treated as though they’ve been exposed. Two years after the lead crisis started, the water in Flint is still unsafe to drink without a filter.

Bert Guevara's insight:
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
What actually happened -- Flint’s lead-poisoned water cost the city nearly 100 times as much as it was supposed to save.

"According to Peter Muennig from Columbia University’s School of Public Health, switching the water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint river — a move that was intended to save the city $5 million — will actually cost the city nearly $460 million."
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Fathom One is a modular underwater drone that explores the deep ("after aerial drones, check this")

Fathom One is a modular underwater drone that explores the deep ("after aerial drones, check this") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Get ready to welcome the Fathom One, the world’s first affordable modular underwater drone.

Costing just $600, small enough to be carried in a rucksack, and controllable via smartphone or tablet, the Fathom will give users the chance to explore underwater locations they otherwise couldn’t — courtesy of a full HD live stream from the deep. 

“In the same way that aerial drones have allowed people to soar to new heights in the past five years, the Fathom One is about allowing people to dive to new depths,” Danny Vessells, one of Fathom One’s co-founders, told Digital Trends. 

Much as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have transformed everything from photography to the delivery of medical supplies, Vessells noted that underwater drones like Fathom offer plenty of innovative use-cases. 

It could, for example, be used to carry out tasks such as inspecting underwater pipes, search-and-rescue operations, research, or even giving fishermen a competitive edge by finding the best spot to drop a line. There are also all the ready consumer applications we’d expect — like snapping a truly unique underwater shot or offering tourists a twenty-first century upgrade on the glass-bottom boat experience to check out marine life. 

According to its creators, the Fathom drone is able to dive to a depth of 100 ft, and has a range of 100 ft from shore station, plus 100 ft tether. The modular aspect of Fathom One is equally exciting. Not only does it make it easier to transport, since you can easily take it apart and put it back together again, but it also offers the tantalizing promise of add-ons. 

Bert Guevara's insight:
This technology opens up a whole range of possibilities, especially for those who cannot go diving. Later developments of this underwater drone will make underwater surveillance cheaper and safer for humans.

"According to its creators, the Fathom drone is able to dive to a depth of 100 ft, and has a range of 100 ft from shore station, plus 100 ft tether. The modular aspect of Fathom One is equally exciting. Not only does it make it easier to transport, since you can easily take it apart and put it back together again, but it also offers the tantalizing promise of add-ons."
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Future of world fish production depends on urgent action to combat falling stocks ("it's up to us")

Future of world fish production depends on urgent action to combat falling stocks ("it's up to us") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

UN agency releases global status of fish stocks revealing 89.5% are fully fished or overfished, while OECD forecasts 17% rise in fish production by 2025.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has today released its report on the state of world fisheries and aquaculture. The flagship SOFIA report, considered a check-up on the world’s fish supplies, has confirmed an alarming trend over the years in falling fish stocks, the result of vast overfishing on a global scale. Oceana regrets the new findings, which place overfished and fully-fished stocks at 89.5% in 2016, compared to around 62-68% in 2000. 

“We now have a fifth more of global fish stocks at worrying levels than we did in 2000. The global environmental impact of overfishing is incalculable and the knock-on impact for coastal economies is simply too great for this to be swept under the rug any more”, said Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe. 

In a parallel report published earlier this week on agriculture and fisheries, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) forecasts a growth in fish production of up to 17% by 2025. However, due to declining fish stocks, only 1% will come from fisheries, with aquaculture becoming the driving force behind this growth. 

Oceana believes that aquaculture is not the solution to meeting an increasing global demand - we must first address the unsustainable exploitation of wild fish. In fact, the OECD stressed that the rise in fish production hangs in the balance of environmental factors and productivity in fish stocks.

Bert Guevara's insight:
There is something wrong in the culture and values of our present fishermen. They fish as if there is no tomorrow.

“The figures speak for themselves. Overfishing will knock wild, everyday fish from our dining tables replacing it with aquaculture and other seafood. Only through sustainable fisheries management and by ending overfishing will we really able to increase fish in our oceans and ensure seafood can be put on a plate for millions of people”, concluded Gustavsson.
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Sections of Great Barrier Reef suffering from 'complete ecosystem collapse' ("no more fish thriving")

Sections of Great Barrier Reef suffering from 'complete ecosystem collapse' ("no more fish thriving") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Coral Watch investigator reports ‘shocking’ lack of fish and says the surviving corals are continuing to bleach, even during winter

“The lack of fish was the most shocking thing,” said Justin Marshall, of the University of Queensland and the chief investigator of citizen science program Coral Watch. “In broad terms, I was seeing a lot less than 50% of what was there [before the bleaching]. Some species I wasn’t seeing at all.” Marshall spent a week this month conducting surveys on the reefs around Lizard Island.

Marshall said many of the fish species that were commonly seen around branching coral had completely disappeared from the area, including the black-and-white striped humbug damselfish. He said in his time there he saw only one school of green chromis, which were previously seen all over the area. 

Marshall said the lack of fish was an indication that there was “complete ecosystem collapse”. Without enough surviving corals, the fish didn’t have the shelter and food sources they needed and had died or moved elsewhere. 

Without many of those fish, Marshall said the coral would face a harder time recovering, since the entire ecosystem had been degraded.

He said he was also surprised to see that some of the surviving corals continued to bleach, despite the southern hemisphere winter bringing cooler waters to the Great Barrier Reef.

Bert Guevara's insight:
It used to be unthinkable that the Great Barrier Reef, a very rich expanse of ocean-life biodiversity, is now collapsing in many areas. Does this confirm accelerated extinction?

"Marshall said the lack of fish was an indication that there was “complete ecosystem collapse”. Without enough surviving corals, the fish didn’t have the shelter and food sources they needed and had died or moved elsewhere. ...
"He said he was also surprised to see that some of the surviving corals continued to bleach, despite the southern hemisphere winter bringing cooler waters to the Great Barrier Reef."
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