AQUATIC POLLUTANTS IN OCEANS AND FISHERIES

Check out this new publication. There are some important implications for aquatic animal health and aquatic productivity both domestically and globally.

https://ipen.org/documents/aquatic-pollutants-oceans-and-fisheries

Below are their KEY FINDINGS

• Overfishing is not the sole cause of fishery declines. Poorly managed f isheries and catchments have wrought destruction on water quality and critical nursery habitat as well as the reduction and removal of aquatic food resources. Exposures to environmental pollutants are adversely impacting fertility, behavior, and resilience, and negatively influencing the recruitment and survival capacity of aquatic species.

• Chemical pollutants have been impacting oceanic and aquatic food webs for decades and the impacts are worsening. The scientific literature documents man-made pollution in aquatic ecosystems since the 1970s. Estimates indicate up to 80% of marine chemical pollution originates on land and the situation is worsening. Point source management of pollutants has failed to protect aquatic ecosystems from diffuse sources everywhere.

• Pollutants including industrial chemicals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, plastics and microplastics have deleterious impacts to aquatic ecosystems at all trophic levels from plankton to whales. Endocrine disrupting chemicals, which are biologically active at extremely low concentrations, pose a particular long-term threat to fisheries. Persistent pollutants such as mercury, brominated compounds, and plastics biomagnify in the aquatic food web and ultimately reach humans.

• Aquatic ecosystems that sustain fisheries are undergoing fundamental shifts as a result of climate change. Oceans are warming and becoming more acidic with increasing carbon dioxide deposition. Melting sea ice, glaciers and permafrost are increasing sea levels and altering ocean currents, salinity and oxygen levels. Increases in both de-oxygenated ‘dead zones’ and coastal algal blooms are being observed. Furthermore, climate change is re-mobilizing historical contaminants from their ‘polar sinks’.

• Climate change and chronic exposures to pesticides all can amplify the impacts of pollution by increasing exposures, toxicity and bioaccumulation of pollutants in the food web. Methyl mercury (MeHg) and PCBs are among the most prevalent and toxic contaminants in the marine food web.

• We are at the prepice of disaster, but have an opportunity for recovery. Progress requires fundamental shifts in industry, economy and governance, the cessation of deep-sea mining and other destructive industries, and environmentally sound chemical management, and true circular economies. Regenerative approaches to agriculture and aquaculture are urgently required to lower carbon, stop further pollution, and begin the restoration process.

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