Sunday, January 25, 2009


"The person who sizes up the waves so the boat can get out"

~An ocean forum for Haida Gwaii~

We live on islands, all of us. Some of us are directly affected by the ocean, making our living on it, harvesting from it, travelling on it, and playing in and on it. Others are influenced by the ocean, our weather, the price of fish. Others of us are less affected, our "oceans" might be considered prairies, or deserts, or mountains but in reality we all live on islands and we all depend on our oceans.

Do you know oceans cover 70% of the earth's surface and contain 97% of the earth's water supply and do you know what we are doing to our oceans? This weekend our Island was host to an Ocean Forum. It was a another wake up call to the destruction we are allowing to happen to our oceans from indiscriminate over fishing, drag netting, oil drilling, to using our oceans as a garbage dump for everything from human to toxic waste.

Did you know when a Killer Whale washes up on a beach dead, it is considered toxic waste and is treated accordingly? Did you know that CANADA dumps 200 billion litres (2004) of RAW sewage into our waterways and oceans each year and we host only .5% of the worlds population! Canada still has no National Standard for Sewage Treatment.

One cruise ship with 3,000 passengers generates approximately 30,000 gallons of sewage and 255,000 gallons of gray water per day plus hazardous wastes, oily bilge water, ballast water, and solid waste with most of it being dumped untreated into our oceans. In 2005 there were an estimated 14 million cruise tourists! Canada has no Cruise ship regulations only guidelines!

Twenty years after the grounding and oil spill of the single hauled Exxon Valdez, the Prince William Sound area in Alaska is still suffering from its effects. The human health effects from this spill are just now coming to light. Despite regulations, single hauled tankers still travel by Haida Gwaii every day.

Did you know there is a garbage dump in the Pacific Ocean the size of continental USA made up almost entirely of plastics originating from shore?

The by-catch caught by destructive drag net and long-line fisheries is the leading cause for the extinction of some of our species. It also amounts to as much as 35% of a catch that is tossed back into the ocean....dead!

There are many more things that are destroying our oceans and each one of us is responsible, directly or indirectly. If each one of us would stop buying bottled water, reduce our use of fossil fuels, put pressure on our local governments to treat our waste water, lobby our governments to make drag-net fishing illegal, choose not to buy threatened and open net farmed species of fish, go see the the movie "Deep Blue" by David Attenborough (preferably on IMAX) and be sure to take your kids we can make a difference.... Yes we can!
As our first nations hosts shared, "how we treat our earth is how we treat ourselves."


Janie said...

Fascinating stats and some great points in your blog. We've nearly lost Atlantic cod, the Atlantic salmon are in bad shape, and the Pacific salmon aren't much better off. When are oceans are dead, will the rest of our world fare much better?

CoyoteFe said...

Egad! Thanks for passing on the information. It's a dark picture, but the sooner we hear, the sooner we can start making changes. I think we see the ocean as so huge, that nothing can impact it. But that's not correct. I read of the refuse found mid-ocean far, far from land and shipping lanes. Time to start turning a very large ship away frmo disaster.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin