Today in my NewsBot terrible news was netted on the crisis of fish around the world.
Of recent the ongoing plight of the Sardines of Portugal, then followed the similar collapse of Sardines and related tiny fish in India, and the plight of the shrinking Atlantic Menhaden, the most vital of all fish on the east coast of the USA, made for a deadly triple crisis.
The common plight of these ocean fish is clearly that these small plankton pasture grazers are tragically starving to death as their once rich ocean pastures are turning into clear blue deserts.
Who will speak for the fish, will you?
Here’s why we must speak for the fish. Today in the scientific literature a report reveals that Atlantic Menhaden have shrunk in body size by about 15 percent over the past 65 years, according to a new study by LSU Boyd Professor R. Eugene Turner. See Journal GEO. The report uses just a small bit of data, a 65 year times series that measured 495,000 individual fish! The fish have been reduced in size by 15%. Given that the already small Menhaden are the vital first step up on the ocean food chain above the ocean plankton pastures this is a stunning decline.
In biology the food chain is made up of steps called ‘trophic levels’ each step represents a change of 10 fold the step on either side in either direction on the food chain. The 15% collapse of the Menhaden biomass portends alarming ripple effects to all other ocean life. Menhaden are eaten by all manner of larger fish, whales, seals, and seabirds. And it is not only the physical size of Menhaden that is in a downward vortex the populations of the vital fish are also in decline.
The observed parallel collapse of seabirds up and down the Atlantic coast of North America and the tremendous increase in finding of weakened starving whales adds to the proof of the collapse of vital ocean pastures.
In India fish and fishermen are starving
On the coast of India also in the news today is the report of fishermen who are experiencing a devastating collapse of catch. While the large industrial fleet continues fishing with the advantage of technology and energy to burn chasing what fish remain the smaller fishermen are left without fish to catch. The Mackeral catch overall is down from 70,000 tonnes to 47,000 tonnes and is an indicator of the ocean pasture collapse in the region. Already tuna catches have been reported to be in danger such that the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission had months ago called for sharp curtailment of the catch of the prized Indian Ocean Yellowfin Tuna.
Fishermen under the aegis of the Matsya Thozhilai Aikyavedi (fishermen association) have cited figures released by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) for 2016-17 to back their claim that a “fish drought” existed off the coast of Kerala.
Fishermen have also called upon the government to step in to address the challenge.
“The figures prove that a crisis exists,” said a statement issued by the Aikyavedi.
“The government must intervene to save the fish.’
Indian ocean fishing experts point to sharp declines in the tiny fish, the sardine family species, which like the Atlantic Menhaden and the Portuguese sardines are the fist step on the food chain above the ocean pasture plankton.
THE UNTHINKABLE in Europe
In Portugal the Minister of Fisheries recently voice his governments concern over the call to halt all sardine fishing in Portugal for 15 years which has been touted as the last hope for the European Sardines as “UNTHINKABLE”!
Today Portugal’s Most Iconic Fish Is Endangered
Of all of Portugal’s fish none is more iconic than the Sardine. Historically it appeared along the shore each spring as if by a miracle. Countless multitudes of Sardines have always been the fish of the poor people. An abundant nutritious and delicious small fish. Just now however the Sardines have been declared to be endangered. Headlines in every newspaper have declared the plight of the sardine which has been reduced to a tiny fragment of its former abundance.
Fisheries scientists have declared the danger to the Sardine is so great that a halt of all fishing for sardines, Portugal’s symbol and sustenance, must be halted for at least 15 years if there is to be any hope of saving them from extinction. Many of the most learned scientists in private say that they are not at all sure this will save the Sardines, it may already be too late for them.
Who Speaks For The Fish
Moratoriums on fishing have a terrible track record in saving the fish. Take for example the Atlantic Cod fishing moratorium introduced by Canada back in 1990. It was said at the time that ending commercial ‘over-fishing’ would allow the Atlantic Cod to recover. Today some 27 years later the Cod are still not recovered. It would seem that this is a perfect example of choosing to ‘blame the usual suspects’ while ignoring the true problem. The fact that Atlantic Cod and Atlantic Salmon have been simply starving to death at sea once utterly rejected by those who imposed the fishing moratorium is now becoming impossible to reject.
This is a lesson for Europe and Portugal, stopping the fishing for Sardines will only divert attention to the usual suspects and away from the real source and cure for the Sardine crisis. We can and we must restore the sardine ocean pastures if they are to be sustainably restored. The means to carry out this is immediately at hand, affordable, inexpensive, and will bring back the fish to historic levels of abundance in a few short years.
You can read everywhere on this blog about how I have proven we can bring back the fish. Join me to speak for the fish before it is too late for them.