Importance of Natural Resources

Ocean Seeding – A New Technology that can Save Marine Life

People have relied on the abundance of the
ocean since the beginning of human history. But things are rapidly changing. Scientists project that by 2048 the ocean
will be depleted and fisheries will cease to exist. Billions of people rely on fish as their primary
source of food and income – a number that will continue to grow over the next few decades
as the world population increases. A collapse of ocean fisheries will be a massive
threat to the food security and well-being of life on this planet. Nations around the world are pursuing better
management practices and sustainable fishing in an attempt to curb this loss… but it
is not enough. Despite our efforts, the health of the ocean
is decaying even faster than initially predicted. Moreover, we have discovered that overfishing
is only part of the problem. To see the bigger picture, we have to go much,
much smaller. The whole oceanic ecosystem obtains its energy,
food, and nutrients from tiny green phytoplankton – microscopic organisms that play a critical
role as the base of the marine food chain. They grow and multiply through the absorption
of sunlight – alongside water, carbon dioxide, and micronutrients such as iron. Phytoplankton are the food of zooplankton,
which in turn are consumed by small fish, which are themselves consumed by larger ones
and so on. For their health, phytoplankton depend on
the natural fertilization of iron-rich winds and upwelling currents, which have been ongoing
for millions of years. However, as a result of climate change, winds
and currents are changing, and the oceans are getting warmer. This hinders the mixing of surface layers,
separating phytoplankton from the nutrients they need to grow. A NASA study has shown a constant decrease
of phytoplankton in the ocean… 1% per year since 1950. That means plankton has declined more than
40% in just 60 years. When phytoplankton are in danger, the whole
ocean is in danger. Less plankton means less food for fish and
other organisms. With the continual decline of plankton, we
are facing the collapse of the marine food chain as we know it due to climate change. The question is: WHAT CAN BE DONE? Over the last several decades, scientists
have observed that the iron-rich dust of volcanic eruptions can create massive plankton blooms
over deserted areas of the ocean. On several occasions, scientists saw the volume
of wild fish in these areas increase significantly – far beyond expectations. Given these observations, experts began to
consider what might happen if humans could mimic natural volcanic iron fertilization
to boost ocean life. This process is known as OCEAN SEEDING. In a recent Ocean Seeding project, researchers
added iron dust to an area of the ocean that was part of the migratory route of juvenile
salmon. Only a year later, mainland rivers experienced
one of the largest salmon returns in history. Ocean Seeding offers an opportunity to begin
repairing the damage to our ocean, rebuild wild fish stock, and improve food security
for the growing populations of the world. This vital shift cannot be made without further
research in Ocean Seeding and your support. Support us by sharing this video with your
friends on social media. And join the conversation on Twitter with
hashtag #OceanSeeding

Reader Comments

  1. This is really well made, with a lot of links where find more about it. I hope this channel (and the project) can grow and reach more people because it seems very interesting!

  2. Am I mistaken or is that the World of Goo soundtrack playing in the background? Sounds like "Rain Rain Windy Windy."

  3. Seems like a solid video and concept. This has some great potential for growing into something larger. Keep up the good work; I hope to see more of you in the future!

  4. Pretty sure the project the mentioned was quite a controversy and was known to break two international moratoria on ocean fertilizing and wasn't approved by the Canadian government.

    They put these brakes on in 2008 with regulators agreeing that the risks need to be better understood before such large scale practices are used. This is from a 2010 NOAA report

    "Scientists hypothesize that such consequences
    may include: decreases in productivity in ocean regions remote from the fertilization site;
    alteration of the relative abundance, size structures and diversity of higher trophic levels,
    including (but not limited to) economically important species; increases in deep ocean hypoxia
    or anoxia; increases in the oceanic production of the greenhouse gases nitrous oxide and
    methane; generation of toxin-producing algae; introduction of toxic chemicals at the fertilization
    site (depending on the composition of the fertilization material); and increases in ocean
    acidification with associated increased impacts in sub-surface ecosystems already vulnerable to
    ocean acidification. "

    It's been 7 years since this report came out. What have we learned since then?

  5. In the year 2050, I'm going to have to explain to my grandchildren how diving in a coral reef full of life felt.

  6. Just wanted to let you know that we have reposted your video on Angler's Atlas.Check it on the Fraser River page. Here is the link:

  7. Hello, very interesting video.
    Just a short and practical question. Why you call this activity "seeding" since you are not adding any seed? you suppose to add a nutrient, in this case iron. The title produces a misinterpretation of the activity to be performed. Could you please clarify?
    Thanks in advance

  8. Well made video. Explains the idea well enough for your average joe and Jane. Perhaps your biggest contribution however was including your sources. For that I am especially grateful

  9. Sadly there's more to this than iron seeding. We so often get misled into thinking of point solutions, like taking a pill for a pain. Not wise. Narrow thinking is what got us close to killing oceans and climate. Our descendants rightly expect better of us…

    We have years, not decades, to get it right.

    Dr. A. Cannara
    650 400 3071

  10. make something like that to happen
    and you will have all the tools and resources you need to manage ocean conditions on the planet scale.

  11. At San Diego O.B. Pier, few fish exist and usually less than 6" after several attempts to fish with my son and no other fishers caught anything pre 2007…

  12. It may not be climate change but over fishing and lack of volcanic activity don.t assume climate change is the cause it might be it might not be

  13. « The whole oceanic ecosystem obtains its energy, food, and nutrients from tiny green phytoplancton » (0:55) is a partially false statement. It is correct for energy. It is wrong regarding P, Ca, K, Mg, Fe… The phytoplankton does not create P, Ca, K, Mg, Fe… which is needed throughout the whole ecosystem all the way to the end of the food chains.These nutrients of the oceanic ecosystem come from the land masse, from the terrestrial ecosystems : from streams and rivers, from dust blown by the wind.

  14. It's not due to climate change its do to pollution there's a big difference climate change is really only bad in the areas that will be flooded if the north and south poles became warm enough to hold the forests they once did and we gained 2 habitable continents from climate change its not such a bad thing its just cycles in the earth goes through to much global cooling isn't good either and if water expands when it's frozen and most of the ice is underwater the oceans levels should actually drop as it melts

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