Endangered Oceanic Species 
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Photo by Keith Ellenbogan

Sharks are not the only species of fish that are under assault by man. It is becoming shockingly clear that many of the fish species that once were found in incredible numbers in the vast oceans are now at the point of extinction. Overfishing, unregulated, and the advent of extraordinarily efficient  technologically advanced  fishing equipment has spelled doom for a great number of oceanic fish species. In short, the fish just don't have a chance these days, and without intervention by governing authorities, the situation iMoray Eels -Photograph by Liza Schillos just going to get  worse as the demand for seafood grows in sync with  human population increase. The list of endangered fish grows daily, and includes some of the most famous and well known fish species on the planet: the atlantic cod, the swordfish and the magnificent oceanic giants of the marlin family. Even the tiny seahorses are under assault, primarily from the orient where they are used as ingredients in native medicines and their dried carcasses are sold as souvenirs.

 

Wasted Orange Roughy!!

One of the worse situations of all involves deep-sea trawlers that are destroying whole populations of fish and other creatures in the deep oceans at an alarming rate. Deep sea fish have much slower life cycles typically than surface fish, reproduce slower and are much less able to bounce back from the effects of modern fishing than those species that live in the fast lanes of the shallow seas. They also live to extraordinary ages -the orange Roughy for instance can reach 150 years old, and they don't reproduce until they are in their mid-20s to mid-30s. Deep-sea fishing is also inflicting terrible collateral damage on deep-sea habitats that have great biological significance; places like seamounts and canyon walls where food that is brought in on currents support rich communities of corals, sponges, seafans and hydroids. In the Southern Ocean, "lush forests" of invertebrates have literally been stripped from the top of seamounts by trawlers fishing for orange Roughy. And after the orange Roughy concentrations are wiped out (often in a few days of fishing)  they never recover. All that is left is a barren wasteland, a hidden testament to the stupidity and short-sightedness of man. The only phrase that makes sense here is Dylan's "desolation row", and its at the bottom of the deep ocean of all places.

Chilean Sea Bass on its way to die

Most scientists agree that licensing fishing or introducing quota schemes to preserve stocks are unlikely to be effective since most deep sea fisheries are in international waters and getting countries to agree on regulations would be extremely difficult. The answer seems to lie in creating marine reserves and protected zones where no fishing is allowed. Only this kind of drastic measure will help prevent the total collapse of stock after stock of deep-sea fishes.

One of the major dimensions to the problem of overfishing is the fact that fish swim where they want, and are no respecters of national boundaries. In that sense, they are one of the global commons, owned by no nation and with nobody accepting responsibility for them. Generally speaking, fishermen are not anti-conservation, but they often fear that what they conserve, somebody else will take. What seems to be needed is a common fisheries policy that is agreed upon by all fishing nations, a goal difficult to reach but not impossible and certainly necessary.

                                                     LINKS

The links below will take you to some great websites about endangered oceanic fish species.
The best sites to start for general information are marked with a star .
If you have a site that you think should be listed, please email me.

Official, Scientific & Governmental Sites
Endangered Species Organizations
Endangered Fish Species
Miscellaneous
Mass Extinction of Species


OFFICIAL, SCIENTIFIC & GOVERNMENTAL SITES

American Fisheries Society
The mission of the American Fisheries Society is to improve the conservation and sustainability of fishery resources and aquatic ecosystems by advancing fisheries and aquatic science and promoting the development of fisheries professionals.

FishBase: A Global Information System On Fishes

FishBase is a relational database with information to cater to different professionals such as research scientists, fisheries managers, zoologists and many more.  FishBase on the web contains practically all fish species known to science.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is the lead federal government department responsible for developing and implementing policies and programs in support of Canada's economic, ecological and scientific interests in oceans and inland waters.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Fisheries Department

The mission of the Fisheries Department of FAO is to facilitate and secure the long-term sustainable development and utilization of the world’s fisheries and aquaculture.

Florida Museum of Natural History: Ichthyology Department
General information about fish.

Marine Fish Conservation Network
The Marine Fish Conservation Network (Network) is a coalition of over 170 national and regional environmental organizations, commercial and recreational fishing groups, aquariums, and marine science groups dedicated to conserving marine fish and to promoting their long-term sustainability.

Marine Stewardship Council
The MSC is an independent, global, non-profit organization whose role is to recognize, via a certification program, well-managed fisheries and to harness consumer preference for seafood products bearing the MSC label of approval.

National Resources Defense Council: Fish
The NRDC is one of the nation's most effective environmental action organizations. They use law, science and the support of 1.2 million members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all living things.

NOAA Marine Fisheries Service
NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service is the federal agency, a division of the Department of Commerce, responsible for the stewardship of the nation's living marine resources and their habitat. NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service is responsible for the management, conservation and protection of living marine resources within the United States' Exclusive Economic Zone (water three to 200 mile offshore).

Seamounts Online
Seamounts Online is a NSF-funded project designed to gather information on species found in seamount habitats, and to provide a freely-available online resource for accessing and downloading these data. It is designed to facilitate research into seamount ecology, and to act as a resource for managers.


ENDANGERED SPECIES ORGANZATIONS

ICUN World Conservation Union
The World Conservation Union is the world’s largest and most important conservation network. The Union brings together 82 States, 111 government agencies, more than 800 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and some 10,000 scientists and experts from 181 countries in a unique worldwide partnership. The Union’s mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.

United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre
The United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is the biodiversity assessment and policy implementation arm of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the world's foremost intergovernmental environmental organization.

US Fish & Wildlife Webpages on Endangered Species
The American endangered species list maintained by the US Fish & Wildlife Service

Word Conservation Union ICUN Red List of Endangered Species

IUCN - The World Conservation Union, through its Species Survival Commission (SSC) has for four decades been assessing the conservation status of species, subspecies, varieties and even selected subpopulations on a global scale in order to highlight species threatened with extinction, and therefore promote their conservation.


ENDANGERED FISH SPECIES

A
TLANTIC COD
The Starving Ocean: Downturn of the Atlantic Cod
Excellent web article discussing dynamics of cod decline.

BLUEFIN TUNA
Giant Bluefin Tuna: Severity of Decline and its causes
Website of professional  "sport" fisherman. Informative but from commercial standpoint.

Monterey Bay Aquarium: Bluefin Tuna
Online field guide to the Bluefin Tuna

CHILEAN SEA BASS
Endangered Fish Alliance: Chilean Sea Bass
The Endangered Fish Alliance encourages members in Canada to make environmentally-wise choices by not serving four endangered fish.

National Environmental Trust: Chilean Sea Bass
The National Environmental Trust is a non-profit, non-partisan organization established in 1994 to inform citizens about environmental problems and how they affect our health and quality of life.

National Geographic: US Chefs Join Campaign to Save Chilean Sea Bass
May 2002 online news article

MARLIN
Blue Marlin & White Marlin: Severity of Decline and its causes
Website of professional  "sport" fisherman. Informative but from commercial standpoint.

ORANGE ROUGHY
Endangered Fish Alliance: Orange Roughy
The Endangered Fish Alliance encourages members in Canada to make environmentally-wise choices by not serving four endangered fish.

Mar Eco: Should We Eat The Orange Roughy
MAR-ECO is an international research project in which scientists from 16 nations take part. Norway, represented by the Institute of Marine Research and the University of Bergen, co-ordinates the project which will enhance our understanding of occurrence, distribution and ecology of animals and animal communities along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between Iceland and the Azores.

SAILFISH
Atlantic Sailfish: Severity of Decline and its causes
Website of professional "sport" fisherman. Informative but from commercial standpoint.

SWORDFISH
Atlantic Swordfish: Severity of Decline and its causes
Website of professional "sport" fisherman. Informative but from commercial standpoint.

Endangered Fish Alliance: Swordfish
The Endangered Fish Alliance encourages members in Canada to make environmentally-wise choices by not serving four endangered fish.

National Resources Defense Council: Atlantic Swordfish
Webpage focusing on Atlantic Swordfish and successes from recovery efforts.

Wikipedia: Swordfish
General information


MISCELLANEOUS

Fish Posters of the World

A collector's site showing over 500 posters of fishes with information where to obtain them.

Fishing Hurts
Vegen based website with focus on preventing cruelty to fish.

MASS EXTINCTION OF SPECIES

 

American Museum of Natural History Statement  

The IUCN Red List of Endangered Species

Professor David  Ulansey's Website -Mass Extinction Underway