The Amazing Flight of Little Ray
June 2018 by V. R. Duin


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”)

Unless enforcement of the Clean Water Act catches on throughout the world, there may be no fishing due to water pollution and plastic pollutants that do not dissolve in water.

Mama Ray and Little Ray are resting, but their minds are distracted by the water pollution that is threatening their lives and the waters around them. This pollution produces conditions that may result in no fishing. If you catch them on your hook, please release them. They are family members. Be sure to remove the fishing hook. Do not just cut the line and leave it hanging to get caught on debris. Fish and the animals that eat them are threatened by improper disposal of fishing tackle, overfishing and loss of habitat to human modifications in their environment. Rays are on many menus. Recipes around the world largely make use of the wings, the area around the eyes and the liver. If you eat any fish, the pollution within them may end up inside you. The United States has banned the use of plastic micro-beads in such cosmetic and personal care products as toothpaste and facial scrubs. Although this ban has not yet entered into effect, other countries are considering similar laws. Wastewater treatment plants cannot remove micro-plastic pollutants, contrary to the goals accompanying enforcement of the Clean Water Act. The water rushing back into the water from these plants may create damaging temperature changes and interfere with water currents guiding fish migrations.

Fish and other ocean life dine on plastics, then get served as dinner, seasoned with undigested plastic waste. Metals and petroleum products enter the marine environment through human activity. Much of the seafood consumed in the United States arrives untested for any type of pollution. Contaminated seafood can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, dizziness, fever, headache, nausea, numbness and vomiting. As toxins move up the food chain, they concentrate. The highest levels of contamination rise to the top. For this reason, there eventually may be no fishing. People are not immune from the side effects of contaminated food drawn from toxic water. Medical treatment may be required after ingesting these toxins. Enforcement of the Clean Water Act could improve water pollution levels and save lives. Ocean life harbors secrets, many of which could benefit humans, if they are not lost forever to water pollution.

As can be expected, water pollution can cause bacterial diseases from ingestion. At the Center for Disease Control, The Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases has a mission to protect against waterborne diseases. Cholera is among the most commonly known of these diseases by people throughout the world. Dirty water also is widely known to cause infections of open wounds in people and animals. NSU researchers found the sharks and rays they examined to have advanced wound-healing abilities. This is not the case for humans and other animals. However, eating rays and sharks is not the solution. Ray and shark meat will neither cure nor prevent cancer. It also is unlikely to fight infections. Unprocessed shark and stingray meat has a strong ammonia odor, due to concentrations of urea. Sharks and rays urinate through their skin. The high content of chemicals and heavy metals, such as mercury, in these animals is damaging to health. These harmful effects are giving further reason for no fishing prior to improvements made through enforcement of the Clean Water Act.

Scientists from NSU, from which university V. R. Duin is a law school graduate, have confirmed that sharks are highly efficient wound healers. As problems surface with the antibiotics used to create bacterial illnesses and infections, could sharks lead to alternative cures? Sharks show Novel Changes in Their Immune Cancer-Related Genes. Studies are under way to determine whether sharks' immune systems may provide resistance to cancers. Two of their genes have counterparts in humans that are associated with a wide range of cancers. Could sharks lead to the prevention or cure of this dreadful disease? This may avoid the side effects and allergic reactions associated with existing medications. These findings further support no fishing zones and limitations on shark fishing. Enforcement of the Clean Water Act also may preserve these potential lifesavers.

V. R. Duin aspires to link Little Ray and Shark to cancer intervention in children and adults over the coming years. Certainly, this merits mention to her alma mater and to celebrants of Shark Week programming on the Discovery Channel. We hope friends will help make this effort a reality. The ray and shark in “Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up” are team players. Mama Ray, Little Ray and Shark want everyone for generations to enjoy the beauty, the health, the diversity and the fun of ocean life. The die-off of large populations of fish, due to failures in enforcement of the Clean Water Act, could bring end to a popular form of recreation, sport and survival. Water pollution may break up animal pairs that mate for life, including some birds and some fishes. It may weaken or kill animals that depend upon fishing for survival. The process that leads to a world with no fishing has grave consequences for other life forms.

Every marine animal is affected by water pollution. Fish breathe oxygen, which is made less available to them when the water is filthy. They cannot thrive in water of this condition. The biggest place on earth is contaminated to such an extent that the entire ecosystem is threatened. Metals injected and constructed in the marine environment may interfere with fish migrations that are guided by magnetic fields. Hope for reversal of these threatening water pollution conditions resides in expansion and enforcement of the Clean Water Act. Otherwise, the earth may end up with no fish and no fishing. Loss of habitat from pollutants in the water is endangering many ocean animals. Grouper, swordfish, sawfish and tuna are among the most endangered ocean fish. Jellyfish, lobsters and turtles do not break down over time, so they may not die of old age. Instead, they may come to an earlier death from diseases carried in water pollution. If these animals are snuffed out by water pollution, humans may lose the potential to cheat their own immortality.

Water pollution that degrades and dissolves does not totally disappear. The remnants of these contaminants are creating huge dead zones in our oceans and along our shorelines. The ocean life of both plants and animals is threatened by such a toxic environment. Enforcement of the Clean Water Act could reverse these conditions and restore water quality. Plastic pollutants, in particular, never go away. Not only do they get eaten to destroy life from the inside out, but they also amass to cause fatal entanglements, strangulations and choking of fish and other sea life. Where there are no fish, there can be no fishing by humans, bigger fish, birds, reptiles or other mammals. The natural food chain links the survival of larger organisms to the consumption of smaller ones, or to the consumption of plant life by animal life. When the food chain is destroyed, interdependent lives are threatened.

Man-made chemicals do not have to be ugly to be deadly. Radioactive waste may have a lovely glow, but it is not good for the ocean or for ocean life. Enforcement of the Clean Water Act would reduce exposure to high levels of radioactive waste. Radiation can lead to cancer, birth defects, cell and systemic damage of humans and animals. The hardy water bear is one of the few creatures that is able to withstand radiation. These water-dwelling micro-animals with eight legs may outlive us all. They can survive extreme conditions. However, intentional exposure to contaminants is not healthy for them. Like any other water pollutant, radioactive waste travels along water currents, gets deposited on the ocean floor and climbs up the food chain. Fish that are rendered toxic by water pollution may lead to the issuance by environmental regulators of no fishing orders for the areas affected.

Toxic waste and sewage are dumped into the ocean from vessels, oil rigs and offshore construction sites. These discharges affect water aeration, flow, turbulence and quality. Enforcement of the Clean Water Act would prevent this harmful pollution. Allowing construction along the seashore has created another source of contaminants and obstructions for migrating fish. Unfortunately, this is a worldwide problem that may result in no fishing. Companies and individuals located near the shoreline are a major source of water pollution. Simply washing the laundry can leach hazardous micro-plastic fibers into the environment. These sources of water pollution combine with chemical runoff from agriculture, industry, home septic tanks, lawns and storm drains. Together, they destroy the biochemistry, growth, behavior and survival of marine life throughout the world. Scummy water is toxic to humans, aquatic life and pets. It is bad for the world economy. Cleanup is costly.

Dredging to open navigation passages, to extract minerals, to prepare construction sites and to restore environmentally damaged areas lifts contaminants from the sea bed and causes water pollution. Much of this dredging is done to protect properties located on eroding beaches. Dredging gives greater cause for enforcement of the Clean Water Act. Strengthening of no fishing orders is not a reasonable alternative. Suspended dredging material can poison plants and animals. Sand dredged from rivers and oceans to re-nourish beaches may be killing the tiny animals upon which it is dumped. Damming rivers and providing beaches for tourists are costly financial undertakings. These activities are altering the aquatic life cycle. It is increasingly difficult to find local undersea sand to pump onto eroding beaches. Sand has become so valuable, it is being stolen from public beaches for use on construction sites around the world. Trucking sand from interior quarries or importing it from distant islands add costs to beach restoration.

The future of the ocean remains endangered, due to water pollution and disruption from many causes. Without expansion and enforcement of the Clean Water Act throughout the world, all fish may die. This would result in no fishing. Universal efforts, like those of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, are needed. Water pollution is washed into the streams, ponds, rivers, lakes and oceans of the world. It travels throughout these bodies of water and returns to land. Deposits of contaminated dredged materials on land is controversial. The health risks that travel with these materials must be weighed against the huge costs of testing, cleaning and preparing alternative storage locations. This controversy is unlikely to be quickly or easily resolved. Food supplies, survival rates, spawning grounds and migrations are threatened by water pollution and obstruction. Efforts to save the waters of the world must consider the health of all living organisms.

Water Pollution

  • Water Polution Little Ray says:

    Water pollution has many forms, including liquid, solid, gas, noise and radiation, but plastic pollutants are the worst.

  • Enforcement of the Clean Water Act Little Ray says:

    Expansion and enforcement of the Clean Water Act of the the United States must be championed throughout the world for global effectiveness.

    • No FishingLittle Ray says:

      No fishing due to pollution will put a whole industry out of work, resulting in more jobs lost.