Our friends in the European Union have made a conscious link between international trade and overexploitation by considering their support of a CITES listing for Bluefin Tuna– a move that would temporarily suspend international trade of the fish.
I arrived in Jamaica over a week ago with colleagues from Stony Brook University to continue our study investigating the effects of coastal development on adjacent coral reefs. The working hypothesis is that sediment and nutrient run-off from the land is higher around resorts and hotels than along coastlines that are covered by forest and scrub. High levels of sediment can smother corals and sponges, while increased nutrients promotes the growth of algae over coral. We are exploring if this actually happens by comparing the growth, distribution and recruitment of sponges, corals and other benthic organisms between an impacted location and two control, or non-impacted, locations.
I came across this great video of Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay area. The video has underwater shots of areas without and with oyster reefs. The coolest part is towards the end where an oyster blows a “smoke ring”.
Overfishing, or catching fish faster than they can grow and reproduce, is a significant problem in all oceans. If unchecked, overfishing leads to smaller populations and smaller sized fish. Reduced catches results in fisherman making less or no money, negatively impacting the fishing community or town. Overfishing also greatly impacts the marine ecosystem, leading to reduced biodiversity (=less species) and poor ecosystem functioning because the fished-species may play an important ecological role such as providing food for other animals.