Ten years ago, Australian sailor Ivan Macfadyen sailed a course from Melbourne to Osaka, Japan. At the time, he recalls, all he had to do to catch a fish from the ocean between Australia and Japan was throw out a baited line.
“There was not one of the 28 days on that portion of the trip when we didn’t catch a good-sized fish to cook up and eat with some rice,” Macfadyen recalls in a report by the Newcastle Herald.
The sailor recently made the same voyage and noticed a striking difference: silence. Not the absence of sound, exactly.
The wind still whipped the sails and whistled in the rigging. The waves still sloshed against the fiberglass hull.
What was missing was the cries of the seabirds which, on all previous similar voyages, had surrounded the boat.
The birds were missing because the fish were missing.
“After we left Japan, it felt as if the ocean itself was dead,” Macfadyen said.