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Fish Are Friends

Jan 02, 2017 01:58PM ● Published by Louisa Asseo

There is nothing more peaceful than listening to waves lap against the seashore. I am an avid scuba diver, so the ocean holds a special place in my heart, and I am always in awe at the diversity and symbiosis present in every nook and cranny just under the surface. But this wonderful world is in constant danger of exploitation and destruction.

One such place near and dear to my heart has made wonderful advancements in preserving the biodiversity of the oceans. The creation of the Mexican Caribbean Biosphere Reserve was announced just a few weeks ago! This project is designed to protect and limit further development along a good portion of the Caribbean coastline of the Yucatan peninsula, including a portion of the tropical forests adjacent to the shore. This will help provide a safe haven for close to 1,900 species of plants and animals and 500 species of fish. It will protect a large portion of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, one of the world’s largest reef systems, and continue to protect precious breeding grounds and beaches for threatened sea turtles.

But human impact on the oceans can be devastating even miles away from the coast. Conservation and protection of these amazing environments should extend beyond government-protected regions and factor into our everyday life choices.

Did you know that disposable plastic shopping bags floating in the ocean look remarkably similar to jellyfish? Jellyfish are a delicacy for many sea turtles. When these “imposters” are ingested by hungry sea turtles, they can cause intestinal obstruction and make these magnificent animals become ill, facing starvation and death.

More dangers of disposable plastic products exist too. For example, plastic rings from soda cans can lodge around fins and heads of fish or limbs and beaks of sea birds, causing wounds, strangulation, and starvation.

Ironically, when it comes to seafood, there are not always plenty of fish in the sea. Many types of fish are overfished from our oceans, and fishing practices often inadvertently harm other species.

How can you help? 

·       Carry reusable shopping bags. 

·       Minimize your consumption of disposable plastic in your every day life. 

·       Cut plastic rings to help avoid entanglement.

·       Check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s source of sustainable seafood for better choices at www.seafoodwatch.org.

As we begin this new year, I hope we can all resolve to be a bit kinder to our oceans by making a few small changes. Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy New Year!

Community Dr. Asseo Oasis Veterinary Hospital
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