Malta Diary “If not now – when?” “If not us – who?” Growing climate and oceans crisis causing Malta much concern
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The latest updates from UN agencies on climate change are far from good. Imminently, the world has to consume less meat and dairy products while agricultural land continues to shrink and carbon emissions continue their deadly handiwork. The situation may lead to even greater migration as hunger and deprivation continue to cause panic.
To top it all our oceans are in dire trouble, invaded by plastics continuing to cause the destruction of marine life.
Welcome to Planet Earth 2019!
The Maltese Islands are of course very much concerned. Immigration invasions have already complicated matters and this, together with a great inflow of EU Schengen citizens is pushing Malta’s population to the half million mark, an increase of 33% over a few years. On the brighter side the increase has brought about an economic boom – but how long will it last?
By far the greatest concerns are the state of the Mediterranean Sea around us and further afield the state of the world’s oceans.
Because it is its lifeline, Malta has been in the forefront of marine regulation as far back as the 60s and 70s when it pione
Recently the first meeting of the Ocean Ambassadors, representing the world’s oceans, and with the support of the United Nations, the EU Commission and the Commonwealth, met in Malta to be addressed by Malta’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Carmelo Abela.
His opening address for the conference was, “If not now – when?
“If not us – who?”
Obviously, he was referring to the immediate need to implement safeguarding measures for our seas and oceans.
Malta’s Ocean Ambassador is Professor Alan Deidun who for years has been monitoring the changes of the sea around us. Earlier this year he had reported that among the visible effects of climate change are the new species of fish in Mediterranean waters that have adapted themselves to higher temperatures. Seawater temperatures have been rising rapidly and everything is indicating that for the third successive year these will be higher than 30 degrees.
Species of fish entering the Mediterranean from the Atlantic Ocean or the Pacific Ocean have continued to adapt to the higher temperatures of Mediterranean waters as a result of this climate change.
Working in liaison with local fishermen, their recent reports relate to growing numbers of catches of Rabbit Fish that instantly took to Mediterranean waters despite being totally alien in Maltese waters.
Professor Deidun estimates that in Mediterranean waters there are now about 15,000 creatures, including fish, sea vegetation and crabs. Over 1,000 have come from other waters. The marine biologist said places that alien species have been highly noted are mostly the port and harbour areas of Malta, a clear indication these have followed vessels incoming from other seas and oceans and taking to the warmer waters.
The Blue Swimmer Crab is another alien species that has adapted to Mediterranean waters. Deidun said this has entered from the Indian Ocean. Its legs are tipped blue and it is being regularly caught in the south of Malta including in Marsaxlokk and Rinella.
In my boyhood days, sea urchins, mussels and molluscs were abundant in coastal waters, so much, we used to pick them off the rocks and consume them raw there and then. These have virtually disappeared from coastal waters and it would nowadays be virtually suicidal to consume them in their raw state!
Addressing the Ocean Ambassadors’ forum, Professor Deidun said an international study carried out three years ago gave a picture of severe concern on the state of the world’s oceans and seas. He reported that sea water is becoming more acidic and this is impacting coral and other items; sea levels are rising as a result of climate change while there is also the problem of plastics, fishery problems and a number of other things affecting the sea bottom including excavations and all these are creating more damage and destruction.
So, as we continue to enjoy the height of summer – well, that is if you enjoy blazing sunshine – the horizon continues to fill with great problems of present and future concerns.
It does not look good!
Pictures courtesy of Television Malta.
FOOTNOTE RE LAST WEEK: Due to my typo error, last week’s article on Elongated Skulls bore the same headline of the week before regarding the Evil Eye and The Inquisition, Sincere apologies. The headline should have read “ELONGATED SKULLS FROM OUTER SPACE – ANOTHER MYTH ABOUT TO BE DISPELLED?”
“A fool is he who dismisses me as a fool”
Does not really have to be explained – self-explanatory!