Target: Greg Hunt, Australia’s Minister of the Environment
Goal: Protect marine animals near coral reefs from extinction due to noise pollution.
Motorboat engines and other noises are putting marine species at risk of extinction as it makes them more vulnerable to predation, according to recent scientific discoveries. In fact, it makes them up to six times slower in reaction time. For endangered fish species, this slower reaction time is likely having a significant affect on population numbers. Thankfully, though, this is a type of pollution that can be easily controlled.
Anything that we can do to take human influences out of the environment is a good thing. We are increasingly seeing a rise in marine extinctions and need to mitigate this as much as possible. Noise is a form of pollution just like anything else. We might not be able to hear it in the same way that fish do, but we should be able to appreciate the effect that noise has on their environment.
For example, in addition to reducing their survival rates from predation, it also affects some fish’s sense of direction. When larval fish go to colonize an area, boat noise may permanently scare them away; noise travels farther underwater. This is not a good thing for the one in five people who rely on fish as their primary source of protein.
Noise pollution is less obviously detrimental than global warming but it is one of many factors that, when taken as a whole, chip away at species’ survival. Sign to demand that something be done to stop the scourge of noise pollution.
Dear Minister Hunt,
Fish species all over the world are suffering. A variety of things are causing the suffering: Polluted waters, rising temperatures, overfishing, rising acidity, reef destruction, invasive species, and more. Noise pollution is one of those negative things, but noise pollution, unlike many of the others, is easily controlled.
In recent studies on how prey fish react to predator fish, while distracted by noise pollution, scientists observed that the prey fish reaction times were six times slower than usual. This obviously results in higher mortality for the prey fish and the ecosystem may become unbalanced. Additionally, noise pollution drives young fish away from settling in certain areas, doing no favors to the people reliant upon them for protein or tourism.
Fish must be managed appropriately if we hope to maintain the correct population levels. According to Dr. Simpson, one of the scientists running the noise experiment: “If you go to the Great Barrier Reef, there is a lot of noise from motorboats in some places. But unlike many pollutants we can more easily control noise. We can choose when and where we make it, and with new technologies, we can make less noise.”
It sometimes seems rare that real solutions might be immediately found for environmental issues, but this is something that humans can so easily change. All you need to do is control boating times and paths. In doing so, you raise your fish survival rates. Please do this and make a change for the better.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Benson Kua