Thursday, June 25, 2009

'Sobering' Decline Of Caribbean's Big Fish, Fisheries: Overfishing .Caribbean Coral Reefs Flattened

Coral reefs in the Caribbean are slowly being degraded due to the simultaneous effect of coastal development, which increases fishing and pollution, and agricultural land use, which increases agrichemical discharges and sedimentation, and lastly ocean warming. Without immediate attention of countries in the region, coral reefs may be soon beyond repair. (Credit: Photos by Humberto Bahena and Henry Wolcott, Mark Defeo, Tyler Smith, Steve Spring, Stephen McGowan from Marine Photobank.)

1-ScienceDaily (May 6, 2009) — Sharks, barracuda and other large predatory fishes disappear on Caribbean coral reefs as human populations rise, endangering the region's marine food web and ultimately its reefs and fisheries, according to a sweeping study by researcher Chris Stallings of The Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory.

2.-A:ScienceDaily (Mar. 20, 2009) — By combining data from 48 studies of coral reefs from around the Caribbean, researchers have found that fish densities that have been stable for decades have given way to significant declines since 1995.

"We were most surprised to discover that this decrease is evident for both large-bodied species targeted by fisheries as well as small-bodied species that are not fished," said Michelle Paddack of Simon Fraser University in Canada. "This suggests that overfishing is probably not the only cause."
Rather, they suggest that the recent declines may be explained by drastic losses in coral cover and other changes in coral reef habitats that have occurred in the Caribbean over the past 30 years. Those changes are the result of many factors, including warming ocean temperatures, coral diseases, and a rise in sedimentation and pollution from coastal development.

2.-B:Research Shows Overfishing Of Sharks Key Factor In Coral Reef Decline.

3.-C:Caribbean Coral Reefs Flattened
ScienceDaily (June 19, 2009) — Coral reefs throughout the Caribbean have been comprehensively 'flattened' over the last 40 years, according to a disturbing new study by the University of East Anglia (UEA).

4.-D:Coral Reef Decline - Not Just Overfishing

Aronson's team found that coral populations were healthy and vibrant until the 1980s, when they were killed by disease and high sea temperatures. The research effort was supported by the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institution and the National Science Foundation.

5.-E:Humans Have Caused Profound Changes In Caribbean Coral Reefs

Camilo Mora at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada. "In the Caribbean alone, these losses are endangering a large number of species, from corals to sharks, and jeopardizing over 4 billion dollars in services worth from fisheries, tourism and coastal protection," he added.
"The continuing degradation of coral reefs may be soon beyond repair, if threats are not identified and rapidly controlled,"


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