What Is Industrial Farming Doing to Our World’s Oceans?


Christopher George- Aquatic Biologist
Tampa, FL

I just finished watching the movie Dirt a film that (among other concepts) shows viewers the negative impacts of industrial farming practices and it really got me thinking….

dirt the movie

Living on Florida’s gulf coast, from time to time the Tampa Bay Area is plagued by the infamous red tide. For those of you not familiar, red tide is created primarily by excess fertilizers used in farming that runoff into rivers and streams. These fertilizers eventually end up in coastal areas. The excess nutrients become a food source for phytoplankton to feed on, creating massive algae blooms in high concentration that leaves red colored trails in the water.

red tide in florida

As the algae blooms die, microorganisms feed on the algae and deplete the dissolved oxygen levels in the water. Fish and other submarine life perish without vital oxygen. Also, one species of algae often associated with red tide produces neurotoxins that can be harmful to birds, humans, and other land animals. Red tide creates polluted beaches, full of dead fish and makes swimming and beach activities unsafe.

fish dead from red tide

After thinking about all of this, my mind  really started turning…With all of the concerns about the methane emissions of biodegradable plastics, what about the excess of fertilizers used when farming corn, is anyone concerned with how that will effect the earth/waters? Is there any fix that doesn’t have any faults? Does the spread of  articles on the internet that misguide readers give us a sense of false concerns ?  ( See my Is the methane released from biodegradable plastic harmful? Blog )

These are all things to  definitely  think about and talk about!  Make sure to leave any of your thoughts in the comment box below, I look forward to this dicsussion!

-Megan Bentley





Thanks for the photo