Habitat loss killing fish
Michelle Paddack, 1.831.427.2198, email@example.com
Isabelle Côté, 778.782.3705, firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol Thorbes, PAMR, 778.782.3505
Four Simon Fraser University researchers say the findings of an international marine study they co-authored with more than 30 other scientists sounds an alarm bell for marine life globally.
SFU tropical marine ecologist Isabelle Côté, fish conservation ecologist John Reynolds and marine biology postdoctoral fellows Michelle Paddack and Phil Molloy are co-authors of Region-wide declines in Caribbean reef fish abundance.
The study, appearing in the April 14, 2009 issue of Current Biology, found that coral reef degradation in the Caribbean is as much to blame for declining fish populations as overfishing.
Scientists have known for decades that overfishing is driving down large Caribbean reef fish populations. But this is the first study to estimate a rate of loss (2.7- to 6-per-cent per year since 1995) in the density of all Caribbean reef fish.
This is also the first study to show that both non-fished and fished species are disappearing and link their decline to coral loss. Rising sedimentation, diseases, climate change and pollution from coast development are precipitating the loss.
Paddack, the study’s lead author, says it’s very likely that the same factors are indirectly killing key coastal organisms globally by destroying their homes.
“For example ocean acidification, which can cause coral skeletons to dissolve, may be impacting sea urchins that play important roles in kelp forest ecosystems along the west coast of North America,” explains Paddack. “We know little about how climate change, coastal development and shipping are affecting habitats in ecosystems such as the western Atlantic’s oyster beds or B.C.’s newly discovered deep-sea coral beds.”
This study’s authors analyzed statistically 48 studies conducted during the last 50 years to reach their conclusions about Caribbean marine ecosystems. Given the lack of historical information on other marine ecosystems, Paddack predicts it’ll likely take even longer to understand how habitat degradation is affecting them.
Has Sfu ever taken any action re the salt that contaminates the tributary 3A on stoney creek. A recent study shows how this is detrimental to salmon stocks.
If the university wants to champion the cause of fish stocks lets see some action on the home front.