Last month, scientists Dr. Carl Safina and Dr. Andy Read wrote an op-ed about how the New England gillnet fisheries for groundfish (e.g. cod, haddock) are needlessly catching and killing high numbers of harbor porpoises. The killings are because too high a proportion of New England fishermen (40 percent) are ignoring the law – the law requiring them to place pingers or “sound alarms” on their nets. Pingers alert harbor porpoises to the presence of the net, deterring them away.
Many coral reefs throughout the Caribbean region are in poor shape due to overfishing, disease, smothering by algae and other factors. In some places, a coral reef exists in name only, as most if not all of the hard or stony corals have disappeared. These reefs are still beautiful, covered in soft corals, sponges and fish, but their long-term future is at risk unless hard corals return.
“How do you stay positive when so many turtles are dying on a daily basis”? asked one of the Earthwatch volunteers. I paused for a second and contemplated a contrived answer. But then I told her the truth: “I cry myself to sleep most nights”, I said softly.