Globl extinctions in marine species – 08/22/2005

  • November 11, 2013 at 10:06 pm #932

    Hi Folks
    I’m not a big believer in coincident and I think it is very telling
    when one looks at the devastation of our natural world (oh, and our
    health)in context of the timeline of Aerosol Spraying aka Weather
    Modification:” documented that between 2000 and 2001″” Referring to
    the destruction of our oceans.

    Come on folks, I know we can not believe it is due to ‘run off’ from
    various unprecedented rain-falls.

    Data will not prove out global warming, the sharpest peak in the
    data regarding global warming occurred in the late 1920
    Point is, this is being done without our consent and with no
    apparent regard to the future of our health.
    Best to you all,
    Scientists Fear Oceans on the Cusp Of a Wave of Marine Extinctions
    By Juliet Eilperin
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Monday, August 22, 2005; Page A04

    BIMINI, The Bahamas — The bulldozers moved slowly at first. Picking
    up speed, they pressed forward into a patch of dense mangrove trees
    that buckled and splintered like twigs. As the machines moved on,
    the pieces drifted out to sea.

    Sitting in a small motorboat a few hundred yards offshore on a mid-
    July afternoon, Samuel H. Gruber — a University of Miami professor
    who has devoted more than two decades to studying the lemon sharks
    that breed here — plunged into despondency. The mangroves being
    ripped up to build a new resort provide food and protection that the
    sharks can’t get in the open ocean, and Gruber fears the worst.

    “At the end of my career I get to document the destruction of the
    species I’ve been documenting for 20 years,” he lamented as he
    watched the bulldozers do their work. “Wonderful.”
    Gruber’s sentiments have become increasingly common in recent years
    among a growing number of marine biologists, who find themselves
    studying species in danger of disappearing. For years, many
    scientists and regulators believed the oceans were so vast there was
    little risk of marine species dying out. Now, some suspect the world
    is on the cusp of what Ellen Pikitch, executive director of the Pew
    Institute for Ocean Science, calls “a gathering wave of ocean

    Dozens of biologists believe the seas have reached a tipping point,
    with scores of species of ocean-dwelling fish, birds and mammals
    edging towards extinction. In the past 300 years, researchers have
    documented the global extinction of just 21 marine species — and 16
    of those extinctions occurred since 1972. Since the 1700s, another
    112 species have died out in particular regions, and that trend,
    too, has accelerated since the mid-1960s: Nearly two dozen shark
    species are on the brink of disappearing, according to the World
    Conservation Union, an international coalition of government and
    advocacy groups.

    “It’s been a slow-motion disaster,” said Boris Worm, a professor at
    Canada’s Dalhousie University who wrote a 2003 study that found that
    90 percent of the top predator fish have vanished from the
    oceans. “It’s silent and invisible. People don’t imagine this. It
    hasn’t captured our imagination, like the rain forest.”

    Compared with the many activists who have focused on the plight of
    creatures such as the ivory-billed woodpecker and the grizzly bear,
    relatively few have taken up the cause of marine species. Ocean
    dwellers are harder to track, some produce so many offspring they
    can seem invulnerable, and, in the words of Ocean Conservancy shark
    fisheries expert Sonja Fordham, often “they’re not very fuzzy.”
    Although a number of previous extinctions involved birds and marine
    mammals, it is the fate of many fish that now worries experts. The
    large-scale industrialization of the fishing industry after World
    War II, coupled with a global boom in ocean-front development and a
    rise in global temperatures, is causing fish populations to plummet.
    “Extinctions happen in the ocean; the fossil record shows that
    marine species have disappeared since life began in the sea,” said
    Elliott Norse, who heads the Marine Conservation Biology Institute
    in Redmond, Wash. “The question is, are humans a major new force
    causing marine extinctions? The evidence, and projections scientists
    are making, suggest that the answer is yes.”

    Large-scale fishing accounts for more than half of the documented
    fish extinctions in recent years, Nicholas K. Dulvy, a scientist
    while at the University of Newcastle’s School of Marine Science and
    Technology in England, wrote in 2003. Destruction of habitats where
    fish spawn or feed is responsible for another third. Warmer ocean
    temperatures are another threat, as some fish struggle to adapt to
    hotter and saltier water that can attract new competitors.
    But nothing has pushed marine life closer to the edge of extinction
    more than aggressive fishing. Aided by technology — industrial
    trawlers and factory ships deploy radar and sonar to scour the seas
    with precision and drag nets the size of jumbo jets along the sea
    floor — ocean fish catches tripled between 1950 and 1992.
    In some cases fishermen have intentionally exploited species until
    they died out, such as the New Zealand grayling fish and the
    Caribbean monk seal; other species have been accidental victims of
    long lines or nets intended for other catches. Over the past two
    decades, accidental bycatch alone accounted for an 89 percent
    decline in hammerhead sharks in the Northeast Atlantic.

    Scientists Fear Oceans on the Cusp Of a Wave of Marine Extinctions
    Today, sharks, along with sturgeon and sciaenids (known as croakers
    or drums for the sounds they make undersea), are among the most
    imperiled of the species that spend most of their lives in the
    ocean. Populations of sharks, skates and rays — creatures known as
    elasmobranchs that evolved 400 million years ago and have skeletons
    of cartilage, not bone — have difficulty rebounding because they
    mature slowly and produce few offspring. Shark-fin soup, an Asian
    delicacy that sells for more than $100 a bowl, has spurred
    intensified shark hunting in recent years.

    Despite the sturgeon’s fecundity, a combination of overfishing and
    habitat destruction have caused that population to dive as well.
    Beluga sturgeon, the source of black caviar, release between 360,000
    and 7 million eggs in a single year, Pikitch noted, but they have
    declined 90 percent in the past 20 years. Just this month,
    scientists in Kazakhstan reported that they failed to find a single
    wild, reproducing beluga female, leaving them with no eggs for

    Croakers’ large swim bladders, air-holding sacs that help them
    maintain buoyancy, account for their imminent demise. Traditional
    Chinese medicine prizes the bladders, and the sound they make when
    pressed against vibrating muscles can reveal croakers’ location to
    fishermen through sonar.

    “They’ve been survivors on an evolutionary scale, but they’ve met
    their match, and it is us,” said Pikitch, who writes about sharks
    and sturgeon in an upcoming book, “State of the Wild 2006.”
    Despite scientists’ warnings, American and international authorities
    have been slow to protect marine species. The first and only U.S.
    saltwater fish to make the protected list is a ray, the smalltooth
    sawfish, which was added in 2003.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries
    Service is charged with protecting 61 threatened or endangered
    marine species. Director Bill Hogarth said his agency focuses on
    protecting vulnerable populations so they won’t have to be listed.
    “That’s our job, to make sure species don’t wind up on the
    endangered species list,” he said.

    But conservationists said NOAA officials are reluctant to classify
    fish as endangered because it conflicts with their agency’s mission
    of promoting commercial fishing.

    Michael Hirshfield, chief scientist at the advocacy group Oceana,
    said he has repeatedly seen government officials provide shifting
    estimates of how many threatened or endangered sea turtles can
    acceptably die each year in eastern scallop fisheries.
    “You never get an answer to the question how many turtles would have
    to be killed before you would say, ‘That’s not okay,’ ” he said.
    On Bimini, just 50 miles from the Florida coast, Gruber is trying
    unsuccessfully to stave off the golf resort that could bring 5,000
    tourists a day to an island that boasts just 1,600 residents but
    supports more than a dozen shark species.

    Based on an 11-year survey starting in the mid-90s, Gruber
    documented that between 2000 and 2001, during the heaviest dredging
    of the ocean floor for the resort’s construction, the survival rate
    for lemon sharks fell 30 percent, and sharks in the dredging area
    had higher toxin levels. He has yet to assess the impact of the
    mangrove destruction, which began on a large scale this year.
    The president of the Bimini Bay Resort and Casino, Rafael Reyes,
    said he understands the concern but questions Gruber’s statistics
    and the idea that “sharks and development don’t mix.”
    “We have a vested interest in making sure things remain as they
    are,” Reyes said, adding that he is demolishing mangroves in a place
    that is “basically not a sensitive area. . . . I have to make sure
    the environment’s pristine because my clients are fishermen.”
    But Gruber remains unconvinced.

    “I believe when I started the ocean was so vast there was no way you
    could ever kill off the sharks or anything,” he said. When it comes
    to being a fish, he said, “Now you can run, but you can’t hide.”‘)

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