Friday, November 03, 2006

World fish stocks trending sharply downward

A new study indicates that global stocks of fish and other edible marine life, with the ecosystems they support, are headed for a cliff by 2050. Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, said, "I was shocked and disturbed by how consistent these trends are - beyond anything we suspected." He and his colleagues, who spent four years collating results of experiments and other studies worldwide, report that 29% of commercially valuable marine species have already "crashed" - that is, the populations are down an estimated 90 % or more - and the rest are following quickly. Overfishing in the main culprit, but coastal development and other ecological degradation is blamed as well.

COMMENT: This is not like global warming, where the observed changes leave some doubt about the overall trend and the human role in it. This is a crisis that essentially is impossible to dispute. While some nations, notably the US, believe they are maintaining proper controls keeping harvesting by their own fishing fleets to sustainable levels, the global picture is a very bleak one. This situation requires coordinated global action NOW.

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