NEWCASTLE racing sailor Ivan Macfadyen’s account of his recent voyage from Melbourne to San Francisco, via Osaka, brought the biggest reader response ever to a Newcastle Herald story.
People got in touch from all over the world to comment on his poignant declaration that “the ocean is broken”. Here are some of the online comments from around the world:
Tessa:I was born and raised in Monterey, California, which is famous for its sardine factories. The sardines were so over-fished that by 1970 or so, the factories had to shut. Otters were hunted until there were less than 30 left.
Omaktari:In the early 90s in Middle East, the sea was alive and as kids, we used to see a lot of fish but now it’s almost died. All the year round, we see jellyfish now. Prices of food has been climbing up year by year.
Satya:I spend a lot of time in Hawaii and the beaches are turning to plastic. Actual, little tiny grains of plastic – all broken down so you know it’s been tossed around the ocean awhile.
applecore:I fish on Long Island Sound, catch and release. Before 1971, the spring run of mackerel fish were in the millions, all you had to do was put a feathered hook in the water and you got a fish. After 1971 they never came back, where did they go? Still fishing, still no mackerel. Don’t think I’ll ever see them again.
Beardog:Here in Thailand they catch & keep fish that normally grow to be 45cm upwards for a scrawny fish 8cm small. Water is fished out. I used to live in Maui and go game fishing three times a week. Now loaded with trash. At Java in Indonesia, I caught more garbage than fish.
Dream It Do It:Sailed for 11 days between Honolulu and the SE side of the island of Hawaii. Although we fished for almost that entire time, we caught only one fish and saw very few birds or other sea creatures. I have been sailing here weekly for almost four years and things are getting worse exponentially. The amount of garbage I see, the tumours on the honu (local sea turtles), the few dolphins, the dying coral, etc.
Lance:I live in Alaska. The salmon runs in the last few years have been the worst I have ever seen. They have closed the king salmon runs early the last three years. Why? Over-fishing in the ocean. The pollock trawlers catch thousands of king salmon as ‘‘by-catch’’ and they are simply thrown away. It is against the law to keep or sell them. Boats from East Asia constantly invade our waters since they have killed everything in their own waters.
JustMyOpinion:I grew up by Lake Ontario and it was once so vibrant, the fish would swim through your legs. Now all the seagulls have gone inland, there is nothing to eat in the lake.
Cliff:I have a place in the Philippines – Western Busuanga Island, Palawan, where over-fishing, cyanide and dynamite fishing has destroyed the South China Sea. When I first went there 15 years ago, the sea was beautiful. Abundance of fish, beautiful corals – paradise. Now it is 10per cent of what it was. Barely any fish and 90per cent of the coral is destroyed.
Mark:I’ve fished the Chesapeake Bay for 30 years. It’s become a wasteland; no fish or crabs.
Michael:In Dunedin, Florida, in the 70s, you could walk across the mullet in the bay. Net fishermen made sure that stopped.
Joel Kelly:Two years ago, I bought a trawler in Marathon, Florida and brought it back via the inside route in Florida Bay. Often I would go for 20-mile stretches with the sea bottom being a lifeless desert void of any living creature. Ten years earlier, I had made the same trip and these same areas were full of healthy turtle grass, Florida lobster etc.
Francis:I’m a ship captain and I recently completed a job that circled the Pacific from Seattle to Alaska to Russia to Philippines, Guam, New Guinea, Samoa, Hawaii and back, and I’m not sure this sailor guy was on the same ocean as me. His description doesn’t match my experience. Yes there was some trash but just some, we caught fish every day and contradicts everything he said.
Scott:Just another overly sensitive enviro-crazy. Nice simple story, but sorry, no money for phony research. The oceans are fine.