Mama Ray, Little Ray and 3 fish share concerns in an image from The Amazing Flight of Little Ray displayed at 50% of viewport width.
June 2020 by Terry Verduin


Little Ray thought his world quite bland,
the same old water, the same old sand.
He watched birds take off and fly
and thought to himself, why can't I?
(The Amazing Flight of Little Ray)

Failure to fix the Clean Water Act, which currently offers no universal benefit, may result in no fish, no fishing and the total loss of ocean secrets to water pollution problems.

Water Pollution Problems?

Pure Poetry? Water is fluid and flowing. It circulates, cushions, lubricates, maintains, purifies, renews, saturates, sustains, transforms and transports. The transparent, odorless liquid is critical for all life forms on earth.

Red Alert? People argue the merits of rich water. They need to raise concerns about the environmental threats faced by ocean life. Most of the water on earth is filthy. Little Ray advocates for prompt corrective action.

Pure Water? Water naturally contains contains trace amounts of minerals like magnesium, calcium, sodium and zinc. These boost nutritional intake. Ultra pure-water serves industry. If ingested, it strips minerals from bodies.

Salty Seas? The oceans are called seas. However, not all seas are salty. The Sea of Galilee is a freshwater lake. No fish, birds or plants can survive in the Dead Sea. Some microbial life tolerates its high-saline environment.

Sink or Swim? High salt content creates buoyancy. Flipping face-down forces ingestion of this deadly fluid, leading to drownings in the Dead Sea. Ironically, it contains asphalt used by ancient Egyptians in mummification.

Water Shoes? The salt lining of some extreme saline bottoms is sharp and abrasive. It is impossible to walk on top of this water. Walking into it without protective footwear can result in severe injury.

One & Only? Other well-known, high-saline water bodies include Lake Assal in Djibouti, Garabogazköl and some hyper saline lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica and the Great Salt Lake in the U.S.

Health Effects? The mineral content of saline water has health effects. Companies pump and evaporate salt and minerals from saline lakes throughout the world. Magnesium is one such mineral supplement extract.

Diversion? Water loss due to farming, industry and droughts adversely impacts both saline and freshwater environments. Human activity boosts salt concentrations in freshwaters around the world, with deadly effects.

Inner Circles? Few freshwater plants or animals can survive in high-saline waters. Availability of dissolved oxygen decreases as salinity increases, causing animals to suffocate. Saline waters also are problematic for plants.

Good Medicine?

Fresh Takes? Rays and sharks are on menus. Eating their meat is unlikely to fight infections. Fish or fish-based products and supplements contain plastic micro-beads as toxic spice. They leach carcinogens into blood and tissues.

Scenic Route? Fish and other ocean life dine on plastics. When they are served for dinner, they contain undigested plastic waste. Foreign seafood reaches the U.S. and elsewhere untested for any contaminating substances.

Regifting? Nobody is immune to harmful food effects produced by toxic reservoirs. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, dizziness, fever, headache, nausea, numbness or vomiting should give incentive to stop poisoning this world.

Squirming, Yet? Wild fish are infected with disease-causing worms. Eating raw, unprocessed local, wild fish also is ill advised. Freezing kills nematodes. These worms remain in the food. Farm-raised fish may be worm-free.

Free Range? Disease-causing pathogens infect animals. Pests and germs attach themselves to fish living within aquariums or in the wild. These water-borne bacteria, parasites and viruses can be hard to exterminate.

An Itch? Fish Flashing describes fish scratching themselves against aquarium or fish farm tank walls or objects. This relieves skin infection suffering. It is observed in the wild, the origin of many captive pet fish.

Blue Yonder? Oxygen concentrates at water surfaces. Fish coming up and gasping for air reflect distress. Their respiratory systems are more efficient than those of mammals, rendering them more susceptible to toxic intake.

All the Frills? Feather-like gills provide broad surface areas for oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange. Most fish have protective gill covers. These offer no barrier to harmful, dissolved toxins. Rays and sharks have none.

Bad Vibes? Sickened fish may make disoriented movement while floating, gasping for surface oxygen. With bulging eyes, bloated bodies, purple gills, clamped fins and hemorrhaging or skin lesions, they lose interest in food.

Folk Medicine? Shark liver oil to fight respiratory, skin, immune system disorders and cancer radiation sickness has gastrointestinal and circulatory system risks. The mercury neurotoxin levels may cause dementia.

Beauty Treatment? Lumps should serve as reminders. Shark oil in cosmetics, anti-aging products, skin cleansers and sunscreens can clog pores and cause acne. Allergic reactions are more common than bites.

No Fish?

Dynamite? Intense fishery operations make catches with long lines or nets. Makeshift FAD and illegal explosives also are used to simplify fishing. These contribute to destruction of the ecosystem and marine life.

On the Edge? Exposure to foul water and overfishing ranks grouper, swordfish, sawfish and tuna among the most endangered ocean fish. Grasses and coral providing plentiful meals and protective habitats also are dying.

Life and Death Matter? Sponges and coral endure thousands of years. Greenland sharks survive 400 years. Turtles, mussels, mollusks, whales and some bony fish species live hundreds of years. Filth shortens their lifespans.

Ritualistic? Remoras, called “shark suckers” or “sucker fish”, vacuum food particles from the skin and teeth of contented shark hosts. Pilot fish get “license” to dine on falling scraps. Potential prey below often gets a “pass”.

Food Chain? Sharks do not merely feed underlings in the food chain. They use skill, strength and follow rules to remove weak and ailing animals. These competitive players are indicators of and contributors to aquatic health.

Still Life? Catch and release kills. Taking time to photograph a trophy fish prolongs its painful death. If hooks and lines aren't removed, dangling tackle may catch on objects, causing deadly entanglements and infections.

Cooling Down? Putting captured fish in cold water, even temporarily can be deadly. The protective mucous coating is weakened or removed by this abrupt change, rendering these fish vulnerable to disease and harm.

Heating Up? Climate cycles with natural variations in sun, wind and volcanic activity. Unnatural climate changes provoked by transportation, manufacturing and communications need immediate attention.

Loss of Ocean Secrets?

Bathed in Beauty? Cure of deadly, communicable reactions to microbial invasion and multiplication may reside within sea-dwellers. NSU researchers found sharks and rays have advanced wound-healing abilities.

New Look? Retired attorney Terry Verduin, pen name V. R. Duin, graduated from NSU College of Law. As complications surface with drugs used to treat bacterial infections, sharks could lead to pharmaceutical advances.

Future Proof? Further study is needed to understand for what illnesses and infirmities shark components may be effective. More time will be required to come up with manufactured equivalents. Sharks may be running out of time.

Ocean Life Holds Secrets. Management of water pollution and penalties to stop depletion of stock could bring medical benefit to humankind. Studies are under way to learn if sharks' immune systems offer resistance to cancers.

Tool Kit? NSU found Sharks Show Novel Changes in Their Immune Cancer-Related Genes. Two genes have counterparts lending powerful hope for prevention or cure of the deeply-rooted cancers plaguing humanity.

Net Results? Genes are made of DNA the necessary code to build and maintain all organisms. DNA repair processes identify and corrects damage to cells. DNA repair is under study for cancer cures.

Hide and Seek? Sharks develop cancer, but it is rare for them. Tumors secrete angiogenin. It feeds and facilitates tumor growth and cell invasion. Dr. Robert Langer of MIT found anti-tumor potential in shark cartilage.

Beneath the Surface? MIT studies reveal an angiogenin inhibitor in shark cartilage. This blocks the formation of new blood vessels, causing tumors to starve or suffocate in their own waste products.

Sweet Spot? Celebrants of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel should join Little Ray and his shark friend in the battle to preserve these fish for prosperity. They could aid understandings of DNA damage and repair.

No Universal Benefit?

Evolving? Sharks span across 400 million years. Warmer temperatures are forcing these survivors to migrate. Resettlement means new hunting approaches, new prey and new regions. These changes may cause mutations.

Close Look? Local health departments monitor bacteria levels in water. Alerts and bans are issued for high levels of these hazardous microorganisms. No rapid solution has yet been found for climate change problems.

Elite? Modern humans are relative newcomers, having appeared only about 500,000 years ago. Some animals may outlive people. Unfortunate economic systems and practices make the planet increasingly inhospitable to life.

Home Sweet Home? Water pollution transports and transmits diseases. The CDC Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases protects against these illnesses. Cholera is a widely-known example.

On the Loose? Zoonoses are diseases transfered to humans from animals. These illnesses may have no cure. Even without lacerations, dead, diseased or live fish can transmit detrimental infective agents during handling.

Wakeup Call? Wildlife species are blamed for causing such pandemics as HIV and Ebola. Live and dead wild animals sold for human consumption are suspected sources of the MERS, SARS and COVOID-19 corona viruses.

Hot Property? Radioactive waste has a lovely, but unhealthy glow. Hardy water bears withstand radiation. These micro-animals can undergo cryptobiosis, or suspended animation, in response to extreme conditions.

Blown Away? When faced with adverse conditions, like dessication and freezing, some invertebrates and plants achieve this physiological state. Metabolic activities shut down. Reproduction, development and repair cease.

Cut Corners?

Spotlight? Radioactive effluent travels water currents. High-level radiation energy in transit can lead to cancer, birth defects and cellular damage. Clashes of state and federal laws add further protection uncertainty.

Wait and Sea? Plastic pollutants never disappear. They combine into strangulating snares. Consumed toxins within them destroy life from the inside. Dissolved water pollution is injurious. It breaks up animal pairs.

About Face? The CWA needs proper interpretation, expansion and enforcement. It could bring an end to dirty water. Jellyfish, lobsters and turtles defy the aging process. Filth may annihilate marine longevity keys.

Ditch It? The Trump Administration is reducing CWA boundaries. The protection, restoration and maintenance of expansive wetlands and streams that flow only after rainfall are losing prior environmental protections.

Tide Effects? Enforcement of the CWA is intended to limit systemic damage caused by developers and industries. Litigation over present administrative change puts the onus on business to weigh the risks of potential penalties.

Cleaning Up? Wastewater treatment plants cannot remove micro-plastic pollutants. Hazardous rushes of water discharge from these plants also go against CWA environmental goals. Some countries are considering bans.

Soapbox? Costs come with testing, cleaning and finding alternatives. Efforts to save world waters include restoration of damaged areas. The goal is to reverse problematic conditions and restore aquatic life quality.

License Help? Folks, who refuse to put away their rods, should learn the fishing license requirements in their location. Different sovereign organizations set their own fees, expiration dates, rules and regulations.

Save the Planet? License fees help fund conservation efforts, fish restoration programs, habitat protections and fishing education initiatives. Anglers fishing in private ponds need no license, but they can make donations.

Wide Angle? Plant and animal populations are endangered. Losses caused by pollution, climate change or overfishing affect commercial and economic activity, resulting in lost jobs and damage to the food chain.

Fix the Clean Water Act?

Luminaries? Mama Ray and her young son are restless. Their minds are distracted by the presence of life-threatening liquid, solid, gas, plasma and radiation hazards. Plastic pollutants rank among the worst of problems.

Triple Threat? Toxic liquid, grease and sewage effluent, or discharges, from vessels, oil rigs and offshore construction sites into ocean habitats reduce oxygen and water quality. Accompanying waves and jets disrupt water flow.

City Slickers? Doing laundry carries noxious fibers outdoors. These additives combine with chemical runoff from agriculture, industry, home septic tanks, lawns and storm drains. Water becomes toxic to living beings.

Bucket List? Dredging stirs up contaminants. This digging opens navigation passages, extracts minerals and prepares construction sites. Sand scooped from rivers and oceans to dump on beaches kills tiny animals in and under it.

Divine Intervention? The CWA passed in 1972 to prevent discharges of pollutants into interstate navigable water used for trade and travel. Conflict arose with its expansion to isolated ponds, wetlands and dry desert ditches.

Curves Ahead? Navigable water is vague. Abusive enforcement of zealous interpretations means prosecution, prison time and bankrupting fines for remote, unpermitted discharges. Permitting takes about 2 years and $250,000.

Weaves of Green? Health risks traveling with polluting discharges spread harm. Terms of the CWA must be defined to incorporate fairness, due process and justice into expansion and enforcement in the United States.

Crush the Climb! Without governance and punishment for law breakers, universal efforts against overfishing and loss of habitat will fail. Companies and individuals should be able to trust Clean Water Act interpretations.

Proven Results? During COVID-19 lock-downs, water-based recreation slowed. Waters of the world showed signs of pollution reduction. How improvements can be sustained without harming economic activity is unclear.