Sea creatures are now underfed and algae growth slowed, showing declining ocean carbon uptake. This seems to be an unanticipated, indirect impact of fishing, which is an important new insight.
Fish lift nutrients to the surface water, fertilizing algae and powering a natural carbon sink. But our massive removal of fish, sea birds and marine mammals over centuries has sabotaged this carbon sink, like deforesting the land. If sea animals made a comeback, the fish-powered carbon sink would mitigate atmospheric carbon dioxide. But this idea - that fish boost ocean carbon uptake, and that science has overlooked it - challenges accepted ideas and threatens the fishing industry.
It’s hard to imagine that the dolphin doing flips at Sea World is in pain but in reality, these animals are suffering. The whales and dolphins you see at these water parks are often violently captured in the wild, separated from their families, and forced to perform for crowds thousands of miles away.
Every year tens of millions of sharks die a slow death because of finning. Finning is the inhumane practice of hacking off the shark’s fins and throwing its still living body back into the sea. The sharks either starve to death, are eaten alive by other fish, or drown (if they are not in constant movement their gills cannot extract oxygen from the water). Shark fins are being “harvested” in ever greater numbers to feed the growing demand for shark fin soup, an Asian “delicacy”.
Humans have gained unprecedented supremacy over the seas in a short space of time, thanks to potent technological advances such as satellite tracking devices and engines so formidable they can drag nets big enough to engulf a cathedral. Add in the impact of pollution, from the likes of fertiliser run-off or discarded plastic, and the oceans have changed more in the past 30 years than in all of human history.
In most places, the oceans have lost more than 75 per cent of their “megafauna” – large creatures such as whales, sharks, dolphins, rays and turtles. Numbers of some species – oceanic whitetip sharks; American sawfish – are down by as much as 99 per cent. For every 20 leatherback turtles in the Pacific 50 years ago, only one remains...http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/9601c144-9dcd-11e1-838c-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1vqzpHIBt
Resident killer whales come to British Columbia’s inside waters from late spring to fall primarily in pursuit of Chinook salmon. These fish comprise nearly 90% of their summer diet and are linked to their birth rates and survival. The presence of Chinook at locations and times where they can be accessed by killer whales defines habitat that is critical to their growth and survival.
Even salmon runs that spawn in protected watersheds and parks are subjected to exploitation by commercial fisheries at levels as high as 80 percent. Often, these parks were created to protect species such as grizzlies, black bears and wolves. As such, we suspect that grizzly bears in particular, receive a fraction of the salmon they are used to, which ultimately manifests in population declines. Not by ‘die-offs’, but through repeated years of low birth rates.
In some areas, we also believe it is time to establish truly protected salmon runs – runs that would be managed solely for their importance to wildlife and ecosystems. This would allow salmon to return to spawning grounds without encountering the nets of the Pacific salmon fleet. And those fish would then spawn in rivers that flow naturally without their watersheds logged, developed or otherwise impaired.
Of course, it is not just fishing nets that rob bears and other wildlife of their energy needs. Fish farms, climate change, degraded habitat, dams and diversions, and changing ocean conditions, all influence salmon abundance. All human generated impacts that reduce salmon abundance must be addressed, however reducing or eliminating exploitation – on at least some runs – would have the most immediate direct positive effect on coastal wildlife.
Excessive catches by Chinese vessels threaten livelihoods and ecosystems in West Africa.
Marian Locksley's insight:
China is under-reporting its overseas fishing catch by more than an order of magnitude, according to a study1 published on 23 March. The problem is particularly acute in the rich fisheries of West Africa, where a lack of transparency in reporting is threatening efforts to evaluate the ecological health of the waters.
Interesting Southern Right Whale Facts in & around Cape Town and Simon's Town during the June, July, August, September, October and November breeding season (28 Southern Right Whale Facts when watching Whales in Cape Town And Simons Town
Stuff.co.nz Cook Strait whale survey kicks off Stuff.co.nz A decade on and dedicated whale watchers are chasing a new record in spotting the migrating mammals in the 10th annual Cook Strait survey, which began yesterday.
Lest you ever underestimate the capacity of killer whales to kill, the heart-stopping trailer for "Blackfish" will scare you straight. Magnolia Pictures has just released the trailer for the upcoming documentary, directed by Gabriela ...
On May 31, Maine’s elver fishing season came to a close. For the small number of Maine fishermen who can make over $100,000 in two months capturing elvers, the end of the season may come as a bit of a letdown.
Make the ConnectionThe first step in making a difference is learning about the ocean and how your actions have an impact. Keep reading to learn everyday things you can do to help protect and restore the seas.
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