By Katya Silva, Marine Biologist and Guide at Cabo Trek
The global COVID-19 pandemic gives us all a pause about what the future holds. Our focus and attention are on all those hurt by this terrible disease. But this is also a time of deep reflection about society and the world we’ll inhabit when this is over. It is also a moment to reflect on the prospects for the ocean, one of the planet’s fundamental life-support systems, making it vital to human health and well-being.
The reduction in ship traffic in the ocean has been compared as a giant human experiment and has had scientists racing to find out the effect this has had on marine life.
The world has faced a moment of truth. Cetacean researchers have an opportunity to listen and that opportunity will not be available again in this lifetime.
There is a generation of marine animals that has known a quiet ocean. Many studies show that in areas with intense boat traffic whales call less and ship noise was associated with chronic stress in whales.
On the other hand, illicit fishing is likely to increase as well. A less secure ocean will be less well-managed and less able to provide sustainable fishing resources in the long term. A reduction in operational ocean science could undermine stock assessments and management regimes even in currently sustainable fisheries.The noise and the activity on the water has diminished. These animals have a culture that is passed through generations and the young ones are probably feeling curious about areas that were part of their territory decades ago.
The blue economy, including both those who work at sea and those whose livelihoods depend on it, present a unique challenge to address during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.
While evidence of a recovery in marine life is still anecdotal, increases in the presence of mammals such as killer whales, dolphins and seals have been recorded in areas where they hadn’t been seen in decades.
The noise and the activity on the water has diminished. These animals have a culture that is passed through generations and the young ones are probably feeling curious about areas that were part of their territory decades ago.
The recovery of diversity and numbers in fish is a slow process and a full recovery of marine protected areas can take decades. Nature is taking a breath from human activities.
We are part of the natural world and we depend on it. It is time to rethink our habits and choices. Everyone can make an impact every single day.