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Monday, December 5, 2011

Marine predators in global free fall: UBC fisheries study




To read an article entitled, "Marine predators in global free fall: UBC fisheries study

please click on the highlighted words in the sentence above this one.

What I find appalling about this article is the following:

"In areas of the North Atlantic and North Pacific, fishing has led to a 90-per-cent decrease in top predators since the 1950s, and the impacts are now headed south of the Equator."


This statistic is both appalling and disgusting! Human ignorance is reaching new heights on a daily basis. Sure people will say, well back then we did not have the scientific knowledge we have now...etc...etc, but still, surely
someone must have seen these predators disappearing before now, why has it taken so long to discern this fact from the available data. Who is to blame? Well surely people in the fishing industry are, and scientists must also be held accountable for their lack of  apparent scientific data on ocean predators in this part of  the World. The question is what are we humans going to do about our awful behavior in the present and future?

I know for a fact that many of these ocean predators were caught in the nets of fisherman, and their carcasses were simply discarded as by-catch by these fisherman! Fisherman and Fishing industries have been selfishly catching anything and everything that moves using  bottom trawling (see:http://www.grida.no/publications/rr/in-dead-water/page/1251.aspx ) and other methods."Traps set for marine organisms can cause damage to hard corals, soft corals, and sponges. They may also result in bycatch and "ghost fishing" (fishing gear that continues to catch fish even though it has been lost or discarded). Both commercial and recreational fishing contributes to anchor damage on coral reefs. Furthermore, groundings of fishing vessels have significantly damaged certain reefs." (source: http://celebrating200years.noaa.gov/visions/coral/side3.html ).

One other type of fishing which  has been extremely destructive to fish and other marine life is known as, "Factory Fishing". This refers to "Fishing ships "(which) "use state-of-the-art technology to target one species of fish at a time, until that population collapses, and then they turn to another species for profit."
(source:http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/campaigns/oceans/threats/factory-fishing/ ).

Clearly if there has been a 90 percent decrease in the top -predators in the sea since the 1950's this is a very dangerous condition  for another reason, that being the fact that the fish and animals known as "producers" must have had their populations increase in numbers in great quantities due to lack of predators of these animals. As stated in a previous blog post of mine, if these producers overpopulate the oceans, all the life on the planet may be in jeopardy because these producers will consume all the phytoplankton and other microscopic life in the oceans. This will be a serious problem because these phytoplankton are responsible for creating much of the  the oxygen for life on the planet to breathe!!  To explain this further I found the following information regarding the Marine food chain.



The marine food chain
"Phytoplankton are at the base of the food chain, they are very simple forms of life stimulated by light and nutrients in the water to grow and multiply.

The second level of the food chain is Zooplankton such as the tiny shrimp-like krill, which abound in Antarctic waters. Animal plankton "graze" on the phytoplankton.
The Zooplankton is in turn are eaten by invertebrates, such as squid, and small fish like pilchards and sprats. At the fourth level are the most spectacular hunters, the pelagic fish like tuna, kahawai and kingfish. Streamlined for speed, these fish move in large schools, some migrating many thousands of kilometres each year.
photograph of mako shark
This "mako shark" is among the predators at the top of the marine food chain
At the very top of this branch of the food chain are marine mammals such as dolphins and seals, sharks and humans.
Also connected to the food chain are the bottom dwellers. Life on the sea bed in the continental shelf regions is fed a constant drizzle of dead and decaying matter from the upper levels. This supports a complex community of plant and animal life and bacteria, which is fed upon by bottom feeding, or demersal fish, and species such as rock lobster.
The bacteria on the sea bed perform an essential role by breaking down organic matter and unlocking nutrients which can then be released into the water for re-use by a new generation of plankton. "





Source:http://www.tbc.school.nz/elearning/localsites/starfish/shared-graphics-for-download/ocean-foodchain.gif

Clearly the Oceans of this Planet are in trouble, and because of this fact, all life in the Oceans and all life on the land and in the air on our planet is also threatened! Five  threats (all of which can be at least partially if not  totally blamed on Humans and our behavior)   which are responsible for our oceans being in trouble are outlined and  discussed at the following website:

http://saveourseas.com/threats

Please take the time to visit this website and learn what you can do as an individual and as a member of a group, to stop these five threats from becoming too severe in nature!! Thank you!

To learn more about the implications concerning the loss of predators in the Marine food chains of this Planet please visit these websites by clicking on their addresses: (note at least  two require you have a program that can read PDF files on your computer before you can access them):

1. "Effects of Losing Top Predators": .http://www.pewtrusts.org/uploadedFiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/Reports/Protecting_ocean_life/Top_predator_loss_RSR_FINAL.pdf

2."Predators as Prey: Why Healthy Oceans need sharks":  http://na.oceana.org/sites/default/files/o/fileadmin/oceana/uploads/Sharks/Predators_as_Prey_FINAL_FINAL.pdf

3."Sea Creatures make a healthy ocean planet, air included 
– another “inconvenient truth?”:  http://www.fisherycrisis.com/CO2/predators.htm

4.Loss of Top Animal Predators has Massive Ecological Effects:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110714142133.htm

5.The Grazers and Predators: http://marinebio.org/oceans/grazers-predators.asp

6.Loss of Large Predators Has Caused Widespread Disruption of Ecosystems : http://scrippsnews.ucsd.edu/Releases/?releaseID=1179

7."Scientists Decry Loss Of Big Ocean Predators": http://www.rense.com/general67/decry.htm

8. Loss of World's Top Predators Is Pervasively Changing Ecosystems: http://www.livescience.com/15051-apex-top-predators-loss-food-chain-ecosystem.html

9. Sharks' role in the oceans:
http://www.sharksavers.org/en/education/why-sharks-are-important/710-sharks-role-in-the-oceans.html

10. Habitat Loss: http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/campaigns/climate-and-energy/archive/background/threats/global-melting/sea-level-rise/habitat-loss/

11. Overfishing threatening Ocean predators: http://www.globalanimal.org/2011/02/28/overfishing-threatening-oceans-predators/31375/


3 comments:

ropcorn said...

A very interesting post Wayne. And I love that first photo! Such a great capture. Thank you for sharing!

shawn said...

This is a wonderful blog hat I have never found before.. It is interesting & valuable, that's great.. The blog seems to be interesting..
Ged Online

Wayne said...

Alexandra thank you for your kind words. I am glad you found it interesting! Your welcome and Happy New Year to you Alexandra in this "International Year of the Bat". Shawn thank you for your kind words about my blog. Happy New Year to you and thanks for visiting and leaving your kind comment!

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