Unsustainable practices are destroying whole ecosystems – finfish species disappearing

Mangrove red snapperDaniela Dirscher/WaterFrame

Fifty-nine finfish species have ‘disappeared’ from fishermen’s catches in the world’s most species rich and vulnerable marine region…

In the largest study of its kind, experts from Newcastle University, UK, have highlighted the impact that uncontrolled fishing in particular is having on coral reefs.

Drawing on the knowledge of local fishermen in the Philippines, the team were able to build a picture of how finfish populations have declined over the last 65 years.

Recording 59 species that were once common and have now disappeared from catches, the team highlighted five finfish that are now fighting for survival — the green bumphead parrotfish, the humphead wrasse, the African pompano, the giant grouper and the mangrove red snapper. Publishing their findings this week in the science journal PLOS ONE, the report coincides with Endangered Species Day and highlights the “urgent need for action”.

Lead scientist Nick Polunin, Professor or Environmental Science at Newcastle University, explains: “Most of us still think that nature is unlimited in the oceans.”…”But our coral reefs are good sentinels of global ocean change, and like the canary in the coal mine, they’re telling us there’s not much time left for action.

“These losses we’ve recorded in the Philippines are reflective of unsustainable exploitation affecting this exceptionally species rich ecosystem and region but they mirror what is happening in ecosystems around the globe.

The researchers hope this evidence will provoke action by politicians in charge of legislatures around the world. Regulation and management practices need to be instituted to protect a global food sources from death by overuse and abuse.

More than evidence is needed to move most elected officials.

2 thoughts on “Unsustainable practices are destroying whole ecosystems – finfish species disappearing

  1. Puzzling Evidence™ says:

    “The squids are all right — as are their cephalopod cousins the cuttlefish and octopus.
    In the same waters where fish have faced serious declines, the tentacled trio is thriving, according to a study published Monday.
    “Cephalopods have increased in the world’s oceans over the last six decades,” Zoë Doubleday, a marine ecologist from the University of Adelaide in Australia, and lead author of the study, said in an email. “Our results suggest that something is going on in the marine environment on a large scale, which is advantageous to cephalopods.”
    Dr. Doubleday and her team compiled the first global-scale database of cephalopod population numbers, spanning from 1953 to 2013. It included historical catch rates for 35 cephalopod species, including the Japanese flying squid, the giant Pacific octopus and the common cuttlefish. The species inhabit marine ecosystems all over the world, from Australia and the United States to Morocco and Madagascar, among other countries.
    “When we looked at the data by cephalopod group we were like ‘Oh my God — they’re all going up,’ ” she said.” http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/25/science/squid-are-thriving-while-fish-decline.html

  2. Pescadero says:

    EU Council agreement on 2018 fishing quotas in the Atlantic and North Sea http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/12/13/council-agreement-on-2018-fishing-quotas-in-the-atlantic-and-north-sea/#
    Fishery Managers Seek to Gut Pacific Marine Monuments : A Hawaii-based fishing council has lobbied for years to block or scale back marine monuments. It may soon get its wish. https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/12/Pacific-marine-monuments-fishing-Trump-environment/
    Billions of Coral Sperm Banked in a Race to Save Reefs : In the wake of mass bleaching events, scientists are building a huge repository of frozen sperm to ensure the future of these key ocean species. https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/12/largest-coral-sperm-bank-australia-reefs-environment-science/

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