A recent study by US scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has found that species such as Atlantic tuna and billfish are more vulnerable to human fishing activities as they are driven out of oxygen-poor regions in the ocean.
In monitoring fish populations off the coast of West Africa, where a very large hypoxic zone exists, the scientists concluded that this growing region is encroaching on the fishes' deep water habitats. As the fish are forced to move to more shallow waters, they face the hazards of reduced habitat areas and are far more likely to perish due to human slaughter.
With more than 400 dead zones already observed worldwide, several of which are directly caused by global warming, the scientists warn that continued climate change will only aggravate the alarming scope of this situation.
Dr. Eric D. Prince, who led the NOAA study stated, “The hypoxic zone off West Africa… is roughly the size of the continental United States, and it's growing. With the current cycle of climate change and accelerated global warming, we expect the size of this zone to increase, further reducing the available habitat for these fish.”
Our thanks, Dr. Prince and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration colleagues, for highlighting this grave disturbance to marine life and ecology. May we hasten in concerted steps to protect our essential oceans and the unique life forms they support. During a May 2009 videoconference in Togo, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke of the devastating effect of oceanic dead zones while reminding of the restorative solution available to us all.