Demand for seafood is possibly the biggest threat to the industry Published: 16 September, 2008
A LEADING fishing scientist has warned that the biggest threat to industry is not global warning – but an insatiable human demand for seafood.
Professor Nicholas Polunin of Newcastle University says that overfishing remains the main problem, followed by soaring demand for water.
The professor and his team looked at a study by more than 100 top aquatic ecologists of the world’s water-based ecosystems, including lakes, rivers, tropical waters and, most importantly, Arctic seas.
He stressed that climate change was an important issue and needed to be monitored carefully, but added ‘Across the 21 different ecosystems we have looked at, direct human actions have long been exceeding – and will long continue to exceed – the effects of climate change in almost every case.’
Professor Polunin added: ‘Coral reefs are threatened by oceanic warming and the release of carbon frozen and buried in wetlands has major implications for the Earth. But the demise of fish stocks through fishing and decline of rivers through excessive off-take are just two dramatic examples of how people are directly changing aquatic ecosystems and threatening the natural services that they deliver.’
He said that the science community should not overplay the effect of global warming, in comparison to the direct effect mankind has had on the natural world.
‘Climate change has got people thinking about the future at all levels and the next step in our ecological planning of the planet’s water resources needs to be more comprehensive, encompassing growing human consumption, its causes and consequences.’
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