Climate Change is already visible in the Alboran Sea.
The Alboran Sea forms part of the Mediterranean sea and is situated in front of the coast of the south of Spain. Some years ago there was a small earthquake with noticeable effects inland where I live. One afternoon I was watching Spanish news at 15.00 and just when the presenter was talking about the earthquake my chair started shaking. Not much and there was no damage but still, it was a bit frightening. There is an unusual interacting of sea waters. The surface currents influenced by the winds will bring Atlantic water into the Mediterranean through the Gibraltar Straits. Then there exists a deep surface current which moves westward bringing saltier water to the Atlantic. This is called a gyre, a vertical rotary circulation in the Alboran Sea.
The change in Seasons
I have been living on my farm in the south of Spain since 1981 and over the years I have observed that seasons have gone missing. Summers can be quite warm and then follows a mild winter. Springtime is rather short and autumn hardly exists, where have the seasons gone? One really notices this as certain clothes remain hanging in your wardrobe as there is never this in-between weather where one needs to put it on.
Data on Climate Change
Recently there was the 24th edition of the Week of the Sea in Malaga. Scientists from different entities like the UICN, the Oceanography Centre, Malaga City Hall, Aula del Mar, Maritime Cluster and also the Junta de Andalucia got together. During this meeting, one compared the effects which were found in fauna and flora in this part of the Mediterranean. To say the least, scientists are worried by the presented data as over the years many changes can be observed.
There is evidence that Climate Change is not something of the future, it is already visible on the Bay of Malaga. The rise of the water temperature might be thought nice for tourists but actually, it entails long-term problems which outweigh the possible positive. There will be a reduction of fish stocks and the invasion of not seen before species like jelly-fish which can pose a health risk. Cetaceans might strand on the beach, besides that being sad can also cause a health risk and unfavorable news for holiday regions. Jorge Baro, the director of the Oceanography Centre, pointed out that temperature changes have been detected in deep levels of the Mediterranean. For some species, it might be nice to have it a little warmer but not all species like it. The species who do like it a bit warmer are literally emigrating to these waters. They travel from India through the Suez Canal and take up residence here.
Not all these species are welcome here as is the case of the pufferfish, dangerous as it is poisonous. This fish is nothing to joke about even if it has many funny names like balloonfish, bubblefish, toadfish, globefish, sea squab and a lot more. They have four large teeth and they use these for crushing mollusks and crustaceans. Most of the pufferfish species are toxic and belong to the most poisonous vertebrates in the world. In Japan and China, these fish are considered a delicacy and especially trained chefs who know which parts are safe to eat will prepare it for their clients. When in danger this fish will fill itself with water and bloat like a balloon. Their enemies have difficulty getting a hold of them which is nicely illustrated in the following video. Still, it is understandable that this visitor caused by climate change is not a welcome inhabitant of the Mediterranean Sea.
The decline of the Red Mullet and the Hake
Even if the Malaga fishing grounds have been stable these past 10 years there is a visible decline when compared to 30 or 40 years ago. The other factor which has to be taken into account is the human overpopulation on the coast. This causes a lot of other problems like plastic waste and the lack of sewage treatment, difficult to keep up with this explosive growth. Certain species like the red mullet and hake have suffered over fishing by trawling and it has been observed that the reproduction cycles of the sardines and anchovies are longer now.
Eating fish on the beach
I do not know if you have ever been to the Malaga coast, a meal of freshly caught sardines, salted and roasted over an open fire on the beach is a must. I used to work as a tourist guide on the Costa del Sol. Our office was in Torremolinos and once a week we had a meeting talking and organizing the transfers of the clients to Malaga airport. We often had lunch in a small family restaurant on the beach. Maria, the wife would be working in the kitchen and her husband Pedro would come walking in with the freshly caught fish. On passing our table he would show us what to expect on the daily menu. Normally the fish would be prepared or fried in a light batter or on the grill with garlic and a slice of lemon. I arrived on the Costa del Sol in November 1976 and have these details in fond memory.
The rise of water temperature
When the temperature of the water rises there are more contaminants. This again causes the reduction of CO2 and marine plants are suffering and there is a considerable reduction of marine plants. They are the food source of many species and it has been observed that more dolphins and other cetaceans have stranded on shore as they come closer looking for food.
Recently a big family of pilot whales was seen off the coast of Marbella. Morocco has also carried out studies to be informed of the consequences of Climate Change. They have observed a decline in the thickness of the shells of mussels, and clams. They have become weaker and this has reduced production.
Everything is changing and not always for the best. We should wake up to this fact and try even if only on a personal level to do things which if done by many can decrease the rise in temperature, the so-called Climate Change.
Source: Wikipedia, Ignacio Lillo for the Sur Newspaper
Photo Source: Pixabay
Perhaps you like to read my other post on Climate Change