Cumberland Times-News

August 2, 2013

Condition of bay, oceans, paints a grim picture

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— I would like to follow up on Patrick Brady’s reply (“Should we also have to pay to clean up the Nile?” July 25 Times-News) to my letter regarding the rain tax (“You’re not taxed on rain, but on your impact,” July 9).

I was not defending the tax, and stated in the letter’s opening that it was absurd. I was however pointing out that spending money to sustain or clean up a natural resource is money well spent, as it benefits us all.

The rain tax likely will not do anything long term regarding bay health, but is acting as a temporary band-aid buffer to help the state cope with new EPA regulations and subsequent fines.

Anyone familiar with ocean ecology understands its most basic principle, the oceans are the life support system of the Earth, they die, and life dies. For this reason responsibility for oceans is placed upon anyone who lives today.

Overfishing, ocean acidification, warmer sea temperatures and a myriad of other problems threaten the health of the oceans. A worldwide fisheries collapse is predicated by scientists to occur as soon as 50 years from today, with coral reef devastation slated for around 80 years from today.

In the Caribbean Sea for example, 80 percent of all coral reefs are dead or in a state beyond repair. These reefs are home to 80 percent of oceanic species, yet make up only 25 percent of the total ocean.

No coral reefs, no large pelagic fish equals a dim future for the oceans as the food chain and ecosystem becomes totally unbalanced.

The bay factors in to this as a major estuary. We can voice our opinions about the abuses taking place on other international waterways, though we often have no control over them.

We can control how we treat, sustain and restore the Chesapeake Bay. Simply put it’s clear there is an imbalance with how it has been treated, or it would have met EPA guidelines and the state wouldn’t be issued a fine.

You point out that the population of the planet has surged, overpopulation is another major threat to oceanic health.

It creates a grim picture, as experts struggle to decide how to save an already greatly overburdened life support system, with the bay representing one working part of that overall global system.

Jeremy Gosnell

Oakland