Industrial fishing, the territorial conflict between nations and oil exploration have caused part of the Arctic to turn from a beautiful and natural landscape, into a place threatened and soiled by the presence of man.
Fishing is a human activity that provides food for the communities there installed and that also represents a source of income for their livelihood.
To some extent this is sustainable, as the amount captured by villagers fails to jeopardize the species or cause an ecological disaster; Additionally, anglers really know their job and use selective fishing methods, and respect regulations and closed seasons.
By contrast, trawling is something unparalleled and alarming. There exists no control; Huge fishing nets catch everything in their path without considering endangered species or other animals that are not necessarily of interest and are cruelly thrown back … dead, wounded or in agony. They capture so many fish daily that it is almost impossible for their populations to recover. There is no future vision by fishing companies, but they seek to exploit at the time the largest possible number of raw material for the benefit of their corporations.
Remember that although there are vast oceans and most of our planet is composed of water, not all fish species are distributed worldwide. They are distributed in regions and not in others. Therefore it’s alarming, because there is no responsible control for how many specimens can be captured without affecting the ecological balance. The scarcity or extinction of an animal has a domino effect. Not only directly affects the species but all around them and those dependent on it for their subsistence.
To get an idea of the size of trawls, imagine a football field. Yes, as big as that.
Conflicts among nations
The North Pole is a land for all. There is no country that is owner of that land, however, this could change in a few years. Currently, six nations are those that want to take over that territory for oil exploration and other human activities under their own laws. Reliable sources say that at this time of apparent calm, the military forces are supplying weapons to be prepared for war in a very near future.
For them, global warming is not a problem but an opportunity to fill the thawed areas so they can be installed to start oil drilling and commercial fishing. Of course, they all want the best areas.
Powerful companies led by powerful people, are moving to the Arctic to explore the seabed and extract that precious mixture of organic compounds that has been the trigger for many wars between nations: petroleum.
This so-called ” black gold ” has meant a breakthrough for humanity , but equally , its exploitation has caused the global temperature to increase, for the poles to be affected and for the poor planning of their management to result in ecological disasters, some being irreversible. To make matters worse, the underwater noise produced by huge machines , is synonymous with stress and disorientation of marine life , creating an imbalance in their natural cycle of life.
Unfortunately for these people whose ambition is huge, economic power is more important than anything related to environmental conservation.
They seek to get about 90 billion barrels of crude, which translates to millions and millions of dollars to their bank accounts , ensuring the economic welfare of their families, but also forgetting they’re leaving a contaminated world as legacy .
Big companies themselves assure that stopping an oil spill is impossible and that there is no fully reliable method to clean cold water.
The worst of the situation is that many of these corporations have already created catastrophes in their oil exploration outside the Arctic, may have the opportunity to work again with a simple payment of a fine to fix the problem, but the reality is that consequences go far beyond money.
There are several factors causing oil spills. First, for lack of a preventive planning, and second, by the deterioration and lack of maintenance of the facilities. But how to allow operating in such conditions? Why does Greenpeace or some other organization not do something about it? unfortunately corruption between government and powerful people is an every day theme, and environmentalists are often repressed, attacked and even imprisoned.
How would an oil spill affect in the Arctic?
Poor visibility due to the strong winds that lift the snow, the total darkness of the night, blocks of sea ice and bitter cold, makes human work much more complicated and the possibility of error very high. The consequences would be absolutely devastating for both wildlife and humans settlements that depend on natural resources that the Arctic provides.
There are natural and unique formations that have been created from years ago and could be destroyed in an instant if men were to break continuity.
An oil spill can affect wildlife in different ways: the oily and heavy substance alters the plumage, fur and skin, reducing the thermal properties that keep them alive; ingestion and inhalation of contaminated food causes damage to their bodies, and finally, reduction of food or prey by slaughtering. Any Animal may be affected; remember that all this is a food chain and therefore there’s a consistent effect.
For indigenous people who depend on fishing, it would be catastrophic, because they could not trade their products nor feed their families with food invaded by deadly toxins.
If we go back and review the year’s job history that humans have done outside the Arctic, we can realize that a lot of infrastructure, planning and skill is still required to operate under arduous conditions without disturbing the environment.
Following are a sample of ecological tragedies that have marked in red the history of man’s productive activities in areas close to the Arctic, either by lack of planning, accountability or common sense, but the point here is that to all affected innocent living beings, so we cannot allow these corporations reach the Arctic regions and turn paradise into a landscape of terror.
It’s not a case that happened many years ago, so if you are over 30 years old you’ll probably remember. An oil tanker bound for Long Beach, California, ran aground in Prince William Bay located in the Gulf of Alaska in 1989, causing one of the biggest disasters in history. More than 257,000 barrels of oil were dumped into the sea.
Chemical dispersants, incinerations and use of microorganisms to break down oil slicks were used by 11,000 employees as a remedy to clean up the affected areas and try to save the maximum amount of wildlife possible. 2,000 miles of coastline was covered with black and wildlife was severely damaged.
Aftermath: 250,000 seabirds, 22 orcas, 2,800 sea otters, 300 seals and thousands of fish were killed. Will we allow these industries to reach the North Pole?