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Healthy Oceans: Solutions to Human Impacts | California Academy of Sciences

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    ♪ (intro music) ♪
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    We hear a lot about overfishing the ocean
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    but occasionally fishing is the solution
    to the problems facing the seas.
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    This is Academy scientist Luiz Rocha
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    catching lionfish in the Caribbean.
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    Lionfish are invasive in the region
    and are munching up the local fishes,
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    endangering several species.
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    Invasive species is a term
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    that scientists use to describe species
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    that are not where they are
    supposed to be.
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    They were transported
    from one place to another, by humans,
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    and introduced in a habitat
    where they didn't belong.
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    Lionfish are a predator
    and they're not native to the Caribbean
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    so species in the Caribbean
    don't recognize them as a predator
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    so a lot of species
    in the Caribbean are suffering
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    and many of the species
    that the lionfish are eating
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    they do have critical roles
    in the ecosystem.
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    What we can do, is control them.
    We can keep their numbers down
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    and give the native fish of the Caribbean
    a chance to survive.
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    The Caribbean fish,
    they will adapt to them
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    they will learn that they are a predator.
    In a lot of places they are catching them
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    just to try to keep their numbers down
    for awhile
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    and this is having an impact
    because people are going out more and more
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    trying to spear them
    and selling them to places
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    where they get distributed
    to the whole country
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    and sold in big numbers.
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    I'll take an order
    of lionfish sushi, please.
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    Pass the lionfish tacos, please.
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    Lionfish aren't the only invasive species
    causing trouble in the ocean.
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    Some species of fish, mollusks,
    plants and more
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    wreak havoc
    throughout the world's marine ecosystems.
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    Most of these organisms
    get to new locations by ship.
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    Not in a comfy cabin,
    but in the ballast water ships
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    carry in their hulls
    to keep the boats stable.
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    Vessels take on this water
    bringing life forms onboard
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    and discharge it in different ports
    with the liquid.
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    In fact,
    many governmental organizations
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    now have strict regulations
    about ballast water exchange.
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    Some requirements mean
    that ships have to their exchange water
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    in the middle of the ocean,
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    where life
    would have a harder time taking hold.
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    Some are working to treat ballast water
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    to make sure invasives can't hitch a ride.
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    Other regions are monitoring
    their waterways
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    so that if non-native species do arrive
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    they can't successfully
    take over an ecosystem.
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    Here's another solution
    to invasive species
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    and other threats facing the oceans:
    Marine Protected Areas.
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    Marine Protected Areas
    or MPAs, as they're called
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    can protect portions of the ocean
    for fish, birds, other animals
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    and even humans.
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    Some are established and run by countries.
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    Others, by states.
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    And some are even protected
    by local communities.
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    Like this MPA in the Philippines,
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    where local people
    are protecting their coastline
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    from overfishing,
    including dynamite-fishing.
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    Can I go to an MPA and swim?
    Or is it just for the fish?
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    It differs by the location.
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    In some places,
    you can't swim or fish at all.
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    Others are more open to fishing,
    and even ecotourism.
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    Marine Protected Areas
    are very diverse around the world.
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    They can be a no-take area,
    or they can be an area
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    that is a managed Marine Protected Area
    in which you can still fish
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    but it's managed, so that
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    there's as much
    sustainability incorporated as possible.
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    So it can remain a healthy,
    functioning ecosystem.
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    In the United States, 41% of US waters
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    are under some type of protection.
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    The one problem
    with Marine Protected Areas
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    is that there's simply just not enough.
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    They only protect around 4 percent
    of the world's oceans.
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    And scientists estimate
    that to protect marine life
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    we're going to need a lot more.
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    Look at me!
    I'm saving the ocean right now.
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    Well, you're certainly
    making your neighbors happy
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    by picking that up (laughs)
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    but I'm not really sure
    you're helping save the ocean.
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    Actually, she's right.
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    One of the biggest threats
    to ocean health is nutrient pollution
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    caused by fertilizers, sewage treatment,
    and even pet waste.
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    But nutrients sound like a good thing.
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    They are up to a certain point.
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    But too much runoff of nitrogen
    and phosphorous into the ocean
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    can cause areas
    known as dead zones.
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    When water carries these nutrients
    from farmlands or urban settings
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    into waterways that run into the ocean
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    the nitrogen and phosphorous
    may cause algae to bloom.
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    Many small ocean animals eat this algae
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    but when there's just too much of it,
    the animals can't keep up.
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    As the algae die and sink to the seafloor,
    they decompose
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    which uses up most
    or all of the oxygen in the water
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    causing dead zones.
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    At 7,000 square miles
    in area—about the size of New Jersey—
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    one of the largest dead zones is
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    where the Mississippi River
    feeds into the Gulf of Mexico.
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    Overuse of fertilizers from farmlands
    all along the Mississippi River
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    contribute to this dead zone.
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    If farmers
    use fertilizers more efficiently
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    it would go a long way
    to help solve this issue.
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    I can't believe using something here
    affects the ocean over there.
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    That's why, no matter where we live,
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    we should make sure
    these things don't end up in the ocean.
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    We can all do our part.
    Local actions have global impacts.
Title:
Healthy Oceans: Solutions to Human Impacts | California Academy of Sciences
Video Language:
English
Team:
California Academy of Sciences
Project:
Flipside Science
Duration:
05:47

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