Ocean fish population decline

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"The impact we have had on ocean ecosystems has been vastly underestimated, " said co-author Boris Worm of Dalhousie University and the University of Kiel in Germany. "These are the megafauna, the big predators of the sea, and the species we most value. Their depletion not only threatens the future of these fish and the fishers that depend on them, it could also bring about a complete re-organization of ocean ecosystems, with unknown global consequences."

The researchers collected data representing all major fisheries in the world, calculating population size and composition of large predatory fish communities from four continental shelves and nine oceanic systems, from the beginning of exploitation to the present. For shelf ecosystems they used data from standardized research trawl surveys to track the decline in the populations of large fishes.

To measure the decline in open ocean ecosystems, the researchers gained access to Japanese longlining data. Pelagic longlines are the most widespread fishing gear, and the Japanese fleet the most widespread longline operation, covering all oceans except the circumpolar seas. Longlines catch a wide range of species in a consistent way over vast areas. "Whereas longlines used to catch ten fish per a hundred hooks, now they are lucky to catch one, " said Myers.

"The longlining data tell a story we have not heard before. It is coherent and consistent throughout, and it comes from a single source, " said Daniel Pauly, a fisheries scientist from the University of British Columbia. It shows how Japanese longlining has expanded globally. It is like a hole burning through paper. As the hole expands, the edge is where the fisheries concentrate until there is nowhere left to go. Because longlining technology has improved, the authors estimates are conservative. If the catch rate has dropped by a factor of ten and the technology has improved, the declines are even greater than they are saying."

Marine biologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle said the latest research proved what she had known and been warning about for many years. "I don't blame the fishermen for this, " she said. "We, the consumers, have done this because we have a taste for fish and 'delicacies' such as shark-fin soup. Our demand for seafood appears to be insatiable."

Even as fish stocks dwindled, Earle said, it remained commercially viable for fishermen to go after what was left because certain markets were willing to pay enormous prices for some kinds of fish. "I have heard that the record for a bluefin tuna, a 440-pound (200-kilogram) specimen, sold for $180, 000. So this kind of exploitation is not for the starving millions, but driven by high-end appetites. I've always believed that even when there is only one bluefin tuna left in the sea someone will pay a million dollars to be able to eat it."


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Then stay at Ocean Beach, San Diego

2010-06-26 00:08:54 by clambaketoI

It's just 10 miles south of La Jolla and much cheaper. I had some really good giant fish bowl dinners there like for less than $10. I don't remember exactly but it was very reasonable and good so I ate there almost every night. I never saw such a fish bowl dinner down here on any menu.
Thing about the beach down there. It's like downtown SF. Seems like everybody in the world hangs on the beach even at night. Not used to that.


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