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Historical photographs expose decline in Florida's reef fish, new Scripps study finds

te what we lost before modern scientific surveys began."

"I think the photos in this very original paper will make lots of people change their mind," said Daniel Pauly, a professor at the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre and Zoology Department.

In separate studies, Scripps researchers recently uncovered fishing damages to coral reefs in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Scientists studying at the Central Pacific Ocean's Line Islands archipelago have shown that coral reef ecosystems experience drastic changes, including evidence of bacteria-infested corals, when large fish are extracted from an island reef through overfishing, as compared with healthy coral ecosystems off islands that are not fished.

As an interesting side note, McClenachan mentions in her paper that the price of sport fishing trips has not declined in conjunction with the size and weight of the caught fish. Although trophy fish dropped more than 88 percent in average fish weight, the trip costs remained steady, ranging from $40 to $48 per person (adjusted for inflation), per day between 1956 and 2007.

" The continued viability of sport fishing based on increasingly small individuals in a degraded reef environment indicates a decoupling of the health of the marine environment from the value of the marine-based tourism industry," McClenachan noted in the paper.


Contact: Mario Aguilera or Annie Reisewitz
University of California - San Diego

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