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How ‘Blue Acceleration’ Drives Ocean Exploitation?

blue acceleration

According to a recent in-depth study on the condition of the ocean, Human Influence On The World’s Oceans has been increasing at an alarming rate since the turn of the 21st century. There is no indication that it will get less severe in the near future.

Researchers are referring to the huge increase as the “Blue Acceleration.” The researchers at Stockholm University’s Stockholm Resilience Centre analyzed fifty-year data. They gathered from a variety of sources, including shipping, drilling, deep-sea mining, aquaculture, bioprospecting, and many more.

During the 1970s, the tiny island state of Nauru in the pacific was for a period of time considered one of the richest countries in the world. It had an income that was comparable to that of Saudi Arabia, but this prosperity was not founded on oil like Saudi Arabia’s was; instead, it was built on human waste.

Throughout millennia, migrating seabirds have been dumping their waste on the island, resulting in forming a thick crust of phosphate-rich guano that is now ready to be processed into fertilizer.

Unfortunately, it was unsuccessful; the guano was eradicated some 20 years ago. Now that it is not as filthy rich as it once was, Nauru is the lead mover in another contentious attempt to exploit resources. Since the previous year, the nation has been leading a push to initiate deep-sea mining in the Pacific, with the possibility of doing so as early as 2023.

The Seas’ Human Demands Are Growing

There are presently 16,000 desalination plants globally, which turn 65 million cubic meters of saltwater each day; substantial expansion is projected for floating plants. They draw in and consume little marine life, which they then destroy, and they release warm water that is high in salt content, which can be harmful to coastal ecosystems.

 One example of this is the rising need for fresh drinking and agricultural water. Meanwhile, there are more than 1.3 million kilometers of underwater cables for telecommunications and more than 100,000 kilometers of pipes running over the seabed that deliver gas, oil, water, or sewage.

According to Jeffrey, they are harmless until they leak after damage by anchors or storms. However, they are incompatible with other operations performed on the seabed, such as dredging for sand.

The global demand for wild and farmed fish is on the rise, and it is anticipated that it will reach 154 million tonnes by the year 2030. Each year, millions of aquatic species are harvested for use as ornamental elements in homes, jewelry, and aquariums.

There is also the 385 billion dollar nutraceutical business, which, for instance, uses the little crustacean known as krill to extract omega-3 fatty acids. According to Jeffrey, there has also been an uptick in the practice of bioprospecting for potential constituents in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and other types of chemicals.

All of these activities compete with the 9,000 offshore oil and gas platforms that are located all over the world, as well as the exploration of the seabed for metal ores. More than 1.4 million square kilometers of international waters have been parceled in exploration contracts. Chinese companies hold more mining claims on the high seas that lie beyond national jurisdiction than any other nation.

Oceanic Mineral Deposits Across The World

Commercial shipping boats and cruise ship passengers make up 94,000 of the world’s 94,000 vessels. These enormous marine geoengineering initiatives may have to be avoided in the future if they are to succeed in their goal of combating climate change.

According to Jeffrey, there are these aspirations that the ocean will deliver as the motor of future human progress.

As soon as you see all of those graphs with sky-high expectations rising, you know it won’t add up because of two reasons. First of all, the ocean is not infinite. Beyond depletion, though. Because they are so new, we have no idea how they interact with one another. Thus, I believe there will be an emergent danger.

In the South China Sea, the paper states, activity shows the intricacy of blue acceleration. Its 3.5 million square kilometers are surrounded by six nations that are locked in a territorial struggle over its resources.

Approximately one-third of the world’s marine traffic passes through this sea, which is home to more than half the world’s fishing vessels, a key node in the network of undersea telecommunications cables, and $3.4 trillion in commodities.

This so-called “Blue Acceleration” is actually just a competition for space and resources in the ocean, which both threatens and offers prospects for the planet’s long-term viability.

The research focuses on the beneficial effects that humans can have. For instance, the amount of land that is protected from various forms of exploitation has expanded at an exponential rate since the year 2000 and shows no indications of slowing down.

And throughout this time span, technology for offshore wind farms has advanced to the point that they are commercially viable, enabling a reduction in the world’s dependency on fossil fuels.

They point out that there is a significant degree of consolidation concerning the oil and gas business, the bioprospecting industry, and the seafood industry, with just a tiny handful of international firms dominating each area. The group proposes that financial institutions and other types of investors should implement more strict sustainability requirements for ocean projects.

In addition, the study mentions Norway. Northern Europe’s government wants to boost salmon output fivefold by 2050 in this country, which borders the North Sea and has an extensive coastline. However, aquaculture facilities are already at a premium in this region.

As a result, the fishing industry is concerned about aquaculture contamination and the possibility that farmed salmon might contaminate wild populations. Oil and gas output continues to rise, as do cruise tourism numbers in Norway, and now floating offshore wind projects are also being discussed. Massive metal and mineral-rich sulfide deposits were discovered on Norway’s continental shelf in September 2019.

Ocean Is Enormous, But Not Unlimited

If anything, the scientists downplayed the problem, said Lance Morgan, head of the Marine Conservation Institute in Seattle, which is located in the United States of America. It is not enough to just make an effort to manage all of the varied activities prudently; in addition to that, it is necessary to maintain the ocean’s functionality.

The ocean is the most important ecosystem on Earth if we do cause problems due to its lack of resilience. It’s capacity to produce oxygen, absorb carbon, and operate correctly. In reality, it is our whole system for regulating the climate and providing for our sustenance. It’s not only the ocean that’s failing. We’re failing as a species.

According to Porter Hoagland, an expert on marine policy at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, the United States, the term “saturation” of the ocean is an issue that is significantly more prevalent along coasts than it is out on the high seas.

In specific locations, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, maritime spatial planning is being used to help balance competing needs. The North Sea in Europe is one such region.

Countries have the authority to control the management of resources located within 200 nautical miles of their own coasts. Both the water column and the seabed, as well as the many activities that take place in the ocean, such as fishing, shipping, mining, and pollution, are examined in their own distinct ways.

Author

Jesica Garcia – a great tech freak and a professional Software Engineer, belongs to a tiny town in the UK, Stamford. It is her own choice to be a content writer. Before starting the online work, she taught computer science in a school. Apart from her Software Engineering career, she has also completed her master’s in Education and Politics. She is very passionate about helping people understand about content writing and marketing. She is a keen observer and possesses a very humble personality. Additionally, she is a keynote speaker and a social worker.

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