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 2019 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 discuss dirty water. Most water on earth is filthy. Little Ray joins other advocates in relaying concerns about the environmental threats faced by rays and sharks.

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.

Free Range? Disease-causing pathogens infect animals. Pests and germs attach themselves to fish from the water in their aquariums or in the wild. 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.

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 SARS, MERS and the Wuhan corona viruses.

Bad Vibes? Symptoms of sickened fish include disoriented movement or floating, gasping for surface oxygen, disinterest in food, bulging eyes, bloated bodies, purple gills, clamped fins and hemorrhaging or skin lesions.

Regifting? Nobody is immune to harmful food effects produced by toxic water. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, dizziness, fever, headache, nausea, numbness or vomiting should give incentive to stop tampering with fish.

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.

Folk Medicine? Shark liver oil is used to treat respiratory, skin, immune system disorders and relieve cancer radiation sickness. Mercury neurotoxin levels, including those contained in some supplements, may cause dementia.

Beauty Treatment? Shark oil used in cosmetics, anti-aging products, skin cleansers and sunscreens can clog pores and cause acne. Sharks hold inside dangers. Reactions to shark allergens or toxins are more common than bites.

Adam's Apple? This thyroid cartilage protrusion is considered unsightly by some. Lumps serve as reminders. Self-treating with shark cartilage, or collagen, carries ugly skin, gastrointestinal and circulatory system risks.

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 United States untested for any contaminating substances.

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.

No Fish Future

Dynamite? Intense fishery operations usually make catches with long lines or nets. Added illegal explosives kill entire fish schools for easy picking. This practice destroys the surrounding ecosystem and marine life.

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.

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 cold water, rendering these fish vulnerable to disease and harm.

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

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

Evolving? Sharks span across 400 million years. Warmer waters are forcing these survivors to migrate. Resettlement means new hunting approaches for new prey species in new regions. These changes may lead to mutations.

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.

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 ocean meals and protective habitats also are dying.

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.

Loss of Ocean Secrets

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.

Bathed in Beauty? Dirty water causes infections. Microorganism invasion and multiplication produce deadly, communicable reactions. NSU researchers found sharks and rays have advanced wound-healing abilities.

Close Look? Local health departments monitor bacteria levels in water. Alerts and bans are issued for high levels of these microorganisms. When water is ingested or enters via wounds, bacteria circulate throughout bodies.

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

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.

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.

Conclusion? 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.

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 bring end to drug side effects and allergic reactions.

No Universal Benefit

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.

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

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 ocean 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.

Fix the Clean Water Act

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.

Divine Intervention? The CWA passed in 1972 to prevent discharges of pollutants into interstate navigable water used for trade and travel. The law expanded 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.

Ditch It? The Trump Administration is reducing CWA boundaries. The protection, restoration and maintenance of expansive wetlands and streams that flow only after rainfall. These waters previously were protected.

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

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.

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.

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.