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Saving the Oceans

November 4, 2005 • Volume 15, Issue 39
Is more action needed to stem pollution and overfishing?
By Marcia Clemmitt

Introduction

Fishermen clean the day's haddock catch off Cape Cod. Catches of haddock, cod and other ground fish are being carefully managed to replenish stocks.  (Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fisherman's Association/Jessie Agee)
Fishermen clean the day's haddock catch off Cape Cod. Catches of haddock, cod and other ground fish are being carefully managed to replenish stocks. (Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fisherman's Association/Jessie Agee)

The world's oceans are under extreme pressure from overfishing, pollution and coastal development, two major commissions have warned. Global fish catches have declined in recent years, despite the use of increasingly sophisticated equipment — including satellite tracking. Moreover, some scientists say 90 percent of the world's large predator fish — such as swordfish and tuna — have disappeared. Scores of proposals on oceans have been introduced in Congress this year, but none has passed. While 3,600 Americans a day move to coastal communities — bringing new development that eats up fish-breeding wetlands and increases runoff pollution from motor oil, fertilizer and lawn chemicals — no single public agency is responsible for coordinating onshore development with ocean health. Meanwhile, new fisheries-management techniques are offering hope in North America and Europe that overfished species like cod can recover. And the White House has created a new Cabinet-level committee to coordinate oceans policy.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Aquaculture and Maritime Policy
Oct. 2007  Oceans in Crisis
Jul. 27, 2007  Fish Farming
Nov. 04, 2005  Saving the Oceans
Aug. 02, 2002  Threatened Fisheries
Sep. 27, 1985  Whaling: End of an Era
Jul. 16, 1982  Troubled Maritime Industry
Jun. 07, 1974  Oceanic Law
Sep. 29, 1965  National Maritime Policy
Sep. 04, 1963  Fishing Rights and Territorial Waters
Oct. 05, 1955  Territorial Waters and the High Seas
Jul. 21, 1954  Plight of the Maritime Industry
Jul. 10, 1935  Merchant Marine Policy of the United States
Jan. 15, 1929  Sea Power and Sea Law
Jul. 24, 1928  Government Aid to the Merchant Marine
Oct. 17, 1925  The Merchant Marine Problem
Apr. 26, 1924  The New Merchant Marine Situation
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Earth Sciences
Water Resources
Wildlife and Endangered Species
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