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Sierra Daily

Sep 21, 2012

Saving Nemo

RS9676_Amphiprion_percula_orange_clownfish_CoralCoE_Flickr_FPWC_commercial_use_ok g.r. allenLast week, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition with the National Marine Fisheries Service seeking Endangered Species Act protection for the orange clownfish, best known as Nemo from Finding Nemo (which was conveniently recently released in 3D). Joining Nemo are seven equally spectacular species of damsel fish that don’t have box-office recognition. All, however, are dependent on coral reefs and threatened by climate change, ocean acidification, and the marine aquarium trade.

Writes Smithsonian: “Since the Industrial Revolution, ocean acidity has risen by 30 percent as a direct result of fossil-fuel burning and deforestation. And within the last 50 years, human industry has caused the world’s oceans to experience a sharp increase in acidity that rivals levels seen when ancient carbon cycles triggered mass extinctions, which took out more than 90 percent of the oceans’ species and more than 75 percent of terrestrial species.” According to a study published this week in Nature Climate Change, 70 percent of coral reefs are projected to suffer from long-term degradation by 2030 “even under an ambitious mitigation scenario.”

Image by G.R. Allen

HS_ReedMcManusReed McManus is a senior editor at Sierra. He has worked on the magazine since Ronald Reagan’s second term. For inspiration, he turns to cartoonist R. Crumb’s Mr. Natural, who famously noted: “Twas ever thus.”

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