Tag: fish

Functional extinction 101

A recent report suggested that sharks – hunted in such vast numbers that more than 50 percent of shark and ray species that have been fully assessed by the IUCN are Threatened or Near Threatened with extinction – are now ‘functionally extinct’ at 20% of the world’s coral reefs. But what does that mean? Are there now no sharks at one-fifth of the world’s coral reefs? And why might that matter anyway? ‘Functional extinction’ may be a term that is not – at the moment anyway – widely-known, but with a sixth mass extinction (humanity’s ‘war on wildlife’) seemingly imminent, it’s likely we’ll be hearing more and more about species that are considered to be ‘functionally extinct’.

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93% collapse of Europe’s migratory fish populations

Populations of migratory freshwater fish species have plummeted globally by 76% on average since 1970, including a 93% collapse in Europe. The collapse in migratory freshwater fish populations is worse in Europe than any other continents. This data is part of an alarming regional trend. In the EU, 60% of rivers, lakes, wetlands and streams are currently not healthy, impacting on the quality and availability of water and the species populations they house, including freshwater fish species, birds, mammals and amphibians

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Greenpeace | Supertrawlers exposed

A recent Guardian article quoted campaigners saying that so-called supertrawlers spent almost 3,000 hours fishing in UK Marine Protected Areas in 2019, making “a mockery of the word ‘protected’.” The article was based on data from Greenpeace to show that trawlers over 100 metres spent 2,963 hours – the equivalent of more than 123 days – fishing in UK MPAs in 2019. While banning all supertrawlers full stop would be preferable, Greenpeace have launched a petition calling on the government to ban supertrawlers in UK Marine Protected Areas.

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Fish: stocks? resources? no, wildlife…

According to a 2018 Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) Report, “world total marine catch was 79.3 million tonnes in 2016”. Figures on how many actual wild animals that represents are difficult to obtain, writes Charlie Moores, because no-one bothers to count them, no-one knows how many are caught illegally, no-one knows how many die from wounds after escaping nets, and no-one has a clue how many fish are caught and thrown away dead as ‘bycatch’.

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European Eels – slipping towards extinction?

How did a fish that was once so abundant and so familiar become listed in 2008 by the IUCN as Critically Endangered (the highest threat level), leading to headlines in the media this week which included “Man found guilty of smuggling £50m worth of live eels out of UK”? Unfortunately, writes Charlie Moores, it’s down to a combination of human-related causes that have impacted so much of the world’s wildlife: widespread habitat change, agricultural and industrial pollution, and exploitation and wildlife crime.

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