Fish & Wildlife | Ecotrope

"Peak fish" and the oceans without predators

Ecotrope | Feb. 22, 2011 12:46 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:40 p.m.

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The Washington Post also reports on new research showing the decline of large fish in the world’s oceans by 2050. Even as fishing fleets have gotten bigger and more efficient, more energy and effort are being expended to catch the same amount of fish, the Post reports, and China’s appetite for fish is still growing. By 2050, researchers say, most of the predators will be fished out and smaller fish will dominate the oceans if trends from the past 100 years continue. Two quotes worth reading:

  • Villy Christensen of the University of British Columbia’s Fisheries Centre: “Think of it like the Serengeti, with lions and the antelopes they feed on. When all the lions are gone, there will be antelopes everywhere. Our oceans are losing their lions and pretty soon will have nothing but antelopes.”

  • University of Tasmania scientist Reg Watson: “Humans have always fished. We are just much much better at it now. … It looks like we are fishing harder for the same or less result, and this has to tell us something about the oceans’ health,” he said. “We may, in fact, have hit peak fish at the same time we are hitting peak oil.”

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