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Independent: Small ocean fish are thriving while humans eat up all their predators


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Small ocean fish are thriving while humans eat up all their predators


Little fish have never had it so good, according to research showing how mankind’s taste for big fish such as tuna and shark is allowing the anchovy and sardine to flourish.


Industrialised fishing practices are causing a revolution in the world’s oceans, with numbers of predator fish - which also include swordfish, grouper, North Atlantic cod and salmon - tumbling by 54 per cent in the past four decades. These fish sit at the top of the food chain and are more popular with humans than the smaller species because people find them tastier. Their volume – by weight - has fallen by 67 per cent in the past century, a University of British Columbia study has found.


But the drastic reduction in big fish in recent decades is great news for the smaller prey fish such as pilchards, herrings, sprats and caplin because it has significantly increased their chances of survival. The decline in predators has shored up supplies of once dwindling small fish - including anchovies and sardines - for decades to come.




Changes in the ocean’s fish population are not only having an impact on individual species but is upsetting the balance of nature by disrupting the entire functioning of its ecosystem, he said.


The meteoric rise of herbivorous sea urchins as their predators such as sea otters have declined is one example of how the changes are undermining ecosystems. The sea urchins destroy the forests of kelp seaweed that host numerous species such as crabs and jellyfish.


The change also raises the risk of algae blooms, which can choke the oceans. This is because the species such as sardines and herring feed on the animal plankton that normally eats the plant plankton, which then grows so much it gets out of control. Examples of the “green soup” which these vast blooms of algae create can be found around the world, for example in the Black Sea, Professor Christensen said.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Sushi eaters pushing Pacific bluefin tuna to brink of extinction


The never-ending demand for Pacific bluefin tuna among sushi lovers is driving the iconic fish towards extinction, a conservation group said.


The Swiss-based International Union for Conservation of Nature upgraded the status of the tuna from "least concern" to "vulnerable," which means it is now threatened with extinction. Target by the fishing industry for the sushi and sashimi markets in Japan and other parts of Asia, an increasing number of the fish are caught as juveniles which has caused its population to drop as much as 33 percent in the past two decades.


"The Pacific Bluefin Tuna market value continues to rise," said Bruce Collette, Chair, IUCN Species Survival Commission Tuna and Billfish Specialist Group. "Unless fisheries implement the conservation and management measures developed for the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, including a reduction in the catches of juvenile fish, we cannot expect its status to improve in the short term."

The dire assessment for the Pacific bluefin comes as environmentalists warned that increased quotas approved Monday for another bluefin species, the Atlantic bluefin, could cause that population to crash.


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The big predator fish have much higher mercury content, especially shark and tuna, which I avoid completely.

I just caant do it cap'n

We go out for mercury and rice every other week.

Seems like the entire world should cease commercial fishing for 1 year

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