Protection of Marine Resources

Spencer - Cape Carteret, North Carolina
Entered on October 23, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: environment

I believe in the protection of marine resources. If we protect marine resources, it will help maintain a healthy ecosystem and also help our economy by increasing tourism.

Practically since I was born, I have been fishing or been on or around the water. I have caught almost all of the possible species of saltwater fish, inshore and offshore. I have had many incredible experiences and have already seen a lot of things most people will not see in their entire life. For example, I have seen ocean water glow in the dark and I have seen multiple blue marlin over 1,000 pounds.

I believe that in order to protect our marine resources we must first have better regulations on the amount of fish bagged, particularly offshore. For example, some fish like Dorado have a limit of ten per person with a maximum of sixty. This creates greed, waste, and eventual decline in a particular species. Managing our marine resources will increase our future tourism.

Also, there needs to be better enforcement of laws and the regulation of commercial fisheries. Right now, there is no way for the coast guard and marine fisheries to effectively enforce these rules. I see the coast guard writing tickets or giving warnings to mainly tourists all the time for minor infractions. However, this does not resolve any real problems. In addition, many commercial fisheries are not well regulated and are damaging to fish and other marine life populations. An example is long-lining. In my lifetime, I have witnessed the depletion of billfish and shark populations and have seen blue fin and other tuna species fished practically to extinction. The coast guard cannot really control long-lining boats because they are so far offshore and spread out. Only

about 2% of the boats are observed. Plus, many of the boats are foreign and they may not abide by our laws. Therefore, the laws must be made international. We have a tough road ahead of us in improving our enforcement of regulations.

In addition, I believe we need to reduce runoff in order to maintain our healthy ecosystems. For most of my life, I have lived on a relatively small creek that is occasionally active with fish and serves as an estuary. But after storms or a heavy rain, the creek becomes polluted by runoff and storm drains. Sometimes it is so severe, the water becomes a “dead zone.” This damages the ecosystem and has lasting effects. The runoff also deposits sediment which fills in the creek. This shows the need for the control of runoff.

In some areas of the country, like Florida, our marine resources are better. However, over time, they have declined (especially offshore). Hopefully, if we can effectively manage them, we can help our economy and ecosystems, and people will have the chance to share some of my experiences.