Even the most ardent critics of climate change have to admit that our planet is changing and, for the most part, not for the better.
Acidity levels in our oceans are rising due to carbon dioxide uptake. Ocean and sea temperatures have risen an average of a little over one degree. Oxygen levels are dropping as much as three percent in some oceans. Dead zones in our oceans have grown and are believed to be doubling every decade. A trash vortex (trash pile) the size of Texas in the North Atlantic is growing.
Global ocean currents are slowing due to warmer temperature levels which have caused earth’s rotation speed to increase, shortening the day by .1 millisecond. Fertilizers running down our rivers are creating massive plankton and algae blooms in the ocean, which in turn is creating even bigger dead zones and further decreasing dissolved oxygen levels. When phytoplankton die, they fall to the sea floor and are ingested by microorganisms. This process removes oxygen, creating low oxygen areas—also known as hypoxic zones. These dead zones will not end up being completely lifeless—jelly fish, for example, could be a winner, for they positively thrive in pollution-rich seas. Jelly fish empires anyone?
The warming planet is bleaching to death some of the planet’s biggest reef systems and allowing imbalances of species. This further destroys the filtering marvels that help keep our oceans less toxic. The rise in water temperature causes water to expand. Couple this with the melting at the polar ice caps and you might be launching your boat out of your driveway by the end of the century.
The next 90 years will see our population increase to between 9 billion and 11 billion people. The planet is already using its natural resources equal to the sustainable production of one and a half planets. How much more will be needed with 30 to 60 percent more people? This truly scares the crap out of me.
There are four billion viruses in a one- to two-pint bottle of sea water. While these little guys help hold other microorganisms in place, let them get out of balance and they could exact a devastating toll.
Oh, not to worry. There is a profit to be made in the form of climate sequestering. Quite simply this means you figure out a way to store the excess carbon dioxide while removing it from the atmosphere. But wait, the preliminary suggestion is to put it in saltwater, old oil fields or carbon sinks. Great. Let’s pump some more stuff down into Mother Earth. Further, it seems geo-engineering is another idea rapidly gaining ground. In its purest form geo-engineering is the a large-scale process of manipulating the earth’s climate to counteract stuff we’ve yet to take control or ownership of. Hell, we can’t even predict the weather. So sure, THIS is going to work.
“Well, aren’t you a fountain of optimism, Capt. Mac?” you must be saying to yourself. If we are going to hell in a hand basket why does life feel pretty good right now? Because we have yet to really feel the impact of our actions. Any good financial advisor will tell you to spend your profit and not draw from your principal. For decades we have been spending our natural resource capital, and at current pace we will pay sooner than later.
Simply put, the currency of life—be it man, or animal, or fish—endures when the birth rate equals the death rate. This equation breaks down in our case, for it seems man has learned to be much better at surviving than dying. Unfortunately, we haven’t given the same attention to the other species on this planet, over which we were given dominion. While we seem to be holding our own, the planet’s species overall are losing the war. Folks, we are tilting already and new pollutants are being introduced as byproducts of our inventiveness and zeal for industry. We better start paying attention.
When a species succumbs to environmental pressure, the effect is felt through a complex web of interactions that connect many, many species—and guess what—we are one of them. What can we do? Today we are multiplying faster than the adaptive capacity of our natural resources. For God’s sake, get a grip. Better yet, adopt. We have too many people on this planet. We need to nurture nature to support our needs.
Nature offers us things that no other known system can. If we give her a chance she can heal herself but she must have that opportunity. Species that support huge populations and reproduce vigorously have a much better chance of surviving the stresses we throw at them. They do not need to be our focus. We need sanctuaries or, if you will, reserves where hiding, healing, growing, and reproducing can take place. This includes our bays. Not dead zones but life zones, and we should guard them jealously.
Let’s do what George W. Bush did when he created the Pacific Protected Area. He added 30 percent to the total area protected in our planet’s oceans. Thirty percent. Like him or not, that makes him the world’s greatest marine conservationist to date. Why can’t we applaud these people? How come they’re not on CNN or National Geographic? That is the kind of legacy we should expect of our elected officials. We no longer have the freeboard to over-exercise willful self-indulgence and flagrant and ugly waste.
People have a deep emotional connection to our bays, our oceans and our seas. We need to collectively unleash that power to transform ourselves from being a species that uses up its natural resources to one that cherishes and nurtures them. I for one believe the laws that govern our planetary waters are weak and impossible to enforce in their current state. But at least we have some laws. We need to make them stick. We must learn to live within our means and, given the timetable of the zone of life, we can’t keep looking the other way—we don’t have eons of time left.
It’s one thing to destroy a species out of ignorance, but it’s quite another to destroy it with full knowledge. The warning signals are all around us. We can’t cheat nature out of more than it’s capable of producing. We have the means but do we have the will? We need to reinvent what our relationship with nature means. If we heal nature we heal ourselves.
I’m not fool enough to believe we can backtrack to some primordial time or condition. Species rise and fall by natural selection, but we don’t have to help. Ecosystems shift and bend, So it has been since the dawn of time. If nature is to weather what looks like the unparalleled challenges ahead, we must help her by strengthening life’s variety and abundance.
You see, really, it is basically pretty simple: we must change the way we think. As Margaret Thatcher said: Our THOUGHTS become our words, our words become our actions, our actions become our habits, our habits become our character and our character becomes our destiny. What we THINK is what we become.
Happy New Year by the way.
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Tired of the HO HO HO and mistletoe? Well, let’s fish.
You probably have some new fishing gear and the January cold is a good time to use it. Dress warm, bring plenty of warm drink and a warm sweet roll; both go down well on a cold gray day. This is cut-bait time and, of course, soft plastics are a must. You’ll even have some success with finger mullet if you can find them. Live shrimp are scarce and usually pretty lethargic, given the cold water, but if they are lively they can be a great bait to have along.
Copano Bay – The deep dark mud close to Turtle Pen is good for a few trout and some black drum. Use soft plastics for the trout in new penny and morning glory colors. Free-lined, peeled shrimp will trigger the black drum bite. Be patient and quiet and if you have trolling motor use it. The reef adjacent to Smith Channel is a great place for some reds using cut mullet and cut piggy perch. The lighter the rig the better with free-lined preferred.
Aransas Bay – Grass Island Reef is good for some black drum using peeled shrimp on a light Carolina rig. Paul Motts Reef is a good wade for some trout and a few reds using new penny jerk shads and sand eels in pepper and pumpkin seed colors. The pot holes in front of Hog Island are a good place for reds using free-lined finger mullet.
St. Charles Bay – The mouth of east pocket is a good place to set up for reds and trout on a falling tide. Mud minnows are the ticket here; if they are not available use cut mullet or menhaden on a light Carolina rig. Drifts across Big Sharp Point using soft plastics in smoke and pearl white are good for reds. The key is to drift very slow and be quiet, at the slightest tap set the hook.
Carlos Bay – Carlos Dugout is the best game in town using deep running lures like rattle traps or Bomber HD salt water minnow. A silent cork works well using cut mullet or live shrimp. Let it drift along the shallow shell transition.
Mesquite Bay – Third Chain is good for reds with a north wind, using finger mullet. Cast and try not to reel in until you have a hit. Still some sheepshead around the new spoil area next to Roddy Island. Use a #2 wide gap hook and peeled shrimp. Quick hook sets are the ticket.
Ayers Bay – When the wind allows, black drum frequent Second Chain. Use free lined shrimp on a light Carolina rig. Ayers Bay with a north wind is good for trout and reds using live shrimp under a cork.
THE BANK BITE
A good place for reds and trout is St Charles Bay cut going into Aransas Bay. You can access via Goose Island State Park. A bucket of live shrimp is hard to beat here and a silent cork is your best rigging. This time of year there is usually not a lot of boats, but be careful as the cut is deep and the current swift. Work the edges of the shell on both sides of the cut.
Contact Capt. Mac Gable at
Mac Attack Guide Service,