Britannia ruins the waves: how pollution and over-fishing are …
Independent – UK
Britannia ruins the waves: how pollution and over-fishing are destroying sea life
Fish are changing sex. Species are disappearing as breeding patterns collapse. The food chain is in chaos as temperatures rise, says the first ever major audit of the state of our seas. Severin Carrell reveals what ministers will say on Tuesday about the damage being done to British waters by industry and global warming
27 February 2005
Britain’s seas are seriously ailing and the species that depend on them suffering as never before. The most comprehensive “health check” ever made of the waters around our shores has revealed that, while Britannia once ruled the waves, now it is helping destroy what lives beneath them.
Fish stocks are on the brink of collapse. Species are changing sex because of pollution. Dolphins and porpoises are being killed at unprecedented rates. Water temperatures are rising, and the seabed is being destroyed.
In a disturbing insight into the state of our seas, the government-led investigation has found clear proof that the seas around the British Isles are already suffering the effects of global warming – threatening the survival of fish such as cod and raising the risk of a sudden, catastrophic change in weather patterns.
The study, compiled by the Department for Food, Environment and the Regions (Defra) after 18 months of reviewing all current marine research, found that water temperatures and sea levels are now rising around Britain, while salt levels are dropping because of melting Arctic ice caps. Meanwhile native plankton species – vital to the survival of many fish stocks – are slowly disappearing.