Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hungry Oceans: new report on critical prey fish populations

This past Monday, I ran a post about aquaculture and the efforts to find alternatives for fish meal; one of the concerns being that the demand for fish meal is a contributing factor to the reduced populations of feeder fish (also known as prey fish or bait fish).

The loss of these smaller fish has a negative impact on the health of many other ocean animals in the food chain. These little guys are a major building block that is being severely chipped away.

Oceana has just released a detailed report on the subject. Hungry Oceans: What Happens When the Prey is Gone? takes a comprehensive look at the issue; examining the scope of the problem, the impact and implications, and - just so it's not all gloom and doom - the solutions.

"We're constantly making life difficult for endangered species from seabirds to whales, and going hungry is not going to help. Valuable fish like bluefin tuna are struggling, and we can't expect the fishery to recover when we are stealing their food supply. By taking food from the tuna we could end up hungry ourselves" said Margot Stiles, Oceana marine scientist.

We often focus on the big things that catch our eye and our attention: big whales, big sharks, big polar bears. But it can be the little things that can be our undoing.

Click here for an Oceana press release. The report is available from their web site home page.

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