WWF Warns All Fish May Go Extinct Within Next 30 Years

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WWF Warns All Fish May Go Extinct Within Next 30 YearsPhoto – PD

In a world where the global population is close to 7.5 billion people, you can expect that the demand for food is similarly climbing at an exponential rate. The more people there, the more mouths there are to feed. One of the industries that is suffering from this increase in demand for food is the fishing industry – and in return, people are turning towards unsustainable fishing methods. The WWF warns us of a looming collapse of the ocean’s various ecosystems in the next thirty years if this kind of dangerous fishing practices continue. [1]

What Science Says

In a 2006 study published by Worm, et. al., focus was placed on the effects of biodiversity loss on the ocean’s ecosystem. The researchers found that fishing only specific kinds of fish greatly affects how the ocean’s ecosystem works as a whole – and how this loss of fish diversity can cause the entire ecosystem to collapse. The most terrifying result is that this ecosystem collapse is expect to reach 100 percent in 2048 – that’s a measly 30 years away. People in their mid-fifties today could still live to see the day when humans can no longer take food from the sea. [2]

Worm, et. al. states that their study “projects the global collapse of all taxa currently fished by the mid-21st century”. This is because farming certain kinds of fish affects the stability of the marine ecosystem, causing changes in population in other kinds of animals found in the sea. The study warns the inevitability of a global collapse in the marine ecosystem if humans continue to practice unsustainable fishing. [2]

Unsustainable Fishing

In order to meet the growing demand for fish, fishermen are turning towards dangerous practices like cyanide fishing and dynamite fishing. These methods not only kill the fish that they are trying to catch but all other marine animals and plants that other fish depend on to survive. Coral reefs, where fish live and take 10,000 years to form are very difficult to impossible to replace. Without food and a home, fishes are left to move to other places to thrive or simply die out. Worm, et. al. concludes that the latter is the more likely outcome. [2][3]

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However, we also have to take note that this collapse was published ten years ago – and many events that have damaged our oceans have happened in the years that followed. There were disastrous spills like the BP Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010 and radiation poisoning from Fukushima, discovered in 2011. These factors could cause the extinction of fish and the marine ecosystem collapse to happen sooner than we think.

Despite the dangers the study warns us of, they also conclude that effectively changing all unsustainable fishing practices could help ward off the collapse of the marine ecosystem. Through sustainable fisheries management, pollution control, maintenance of sea habitats, and the propagation of marine reserves, we could prevent the extinction of fish and help revive our dying oceans.

References:

[1] World Wildlife Fund. Unsustainable fishing. http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/blue_planet/problems/problems_fishing/

[2] Worm, B., et. al. (2006). Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services. https://www3.epa.gov/region1/npdes/schillerstation/pdfs/AR-024.pdf

[3] National Oceaning and Atmospheric Administration. Corals. http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/kits/corals/coral04_reefs.html


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