Navigation Links
Marine predators in trouble: UBC researchers

Iconic marine predators such as sharks, tunas, swordfish, and marlins are becoming increasingly rare under current fishing trends, say University of British Columbia researchers.

In half of the North Atlantic and North Pacific waters under national jurisdiction, fishing has led to a 90-per-cent decrease in top predators since the 1950s, and the impacts are now headed south of the Equator, according to a new study published online today in the journal Marine Ecological Progress Series. The study is available at

Funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the French Consulate-General in Vancouver, researchers from UBC's Fisheries Centre modeled the impact of fishing around the world using global databases of fisheries catches from 1950 to 2006 and satellite images of phytoplankton, which are used to map where predators should be, based on food availability.

The scientists found that the exploitation of marine predators first occurred in coastal areas of northern countries, then expanded to the high seas and to the southern hemisphere. The decline of top-of-the-food-chain predators also means widespread and fundamental changes to both the structure and function of marine systems.

"Species such as tuna have been seriously exploited because of high market demand," says Laura Tremblay-Boyer, a PhD student at UBC Fisheries Centre and lead author of the study.

"A constant theme throughout our study of global marine ecosystems is that these top predators are today prey for human beings, assisted by some serious technology," says Tremblay-Boyer. "Top marine predators are more intrinsically vulnerable to the effects of fishing due to their life histories. Bluefin tuna, for instance, cannot reproduce until age nine."

In addition to low numbers in the northern hemisphere, the study shows a dramatic decline in the south seas, where wild-caught fish are sent to northern markets.

"After running out of predator fish in the north Atlantic and Pacific, rather than implementing strict management and enforcement, the fishing industry pointed its bows south," says co-author Daniel Pauly, principal investigator of the Sea Around Us Project at UBC. "The southern hemisphere predators are now on the same trajectory as the ones in the northern hemisphere. What happens next when we have nowhere left to turn?"

Under current fishing practices, biomass loss of predatory species is expected to occur in the southern hemisphere, but humans living in the south will not be able to rely on the north for their fish, the research team adds.


Contact: Brian Lin
University of British Columbia

Related biology news :

1. Effects of anthropogenic sound on marine mammals -- a research strategy
2. The Marine Mammal Center begins new leptospirosis study in California
3. Scientists announce major progress towards historic Census of Marine Life in 2010
4. Marine invasive species advance 50km per decade, World Conference on Marine Biodiversity told
5. Marine invasive species advance 50 km per decade, World Conference on Marine Biodiversity told
6. Snowy owl -- a marine species?
7. Ocean acidification could have broad effects on marine ecosystems
8. Fish guts explain marine carbon cycle mystery
9. TXOTX, coordinated international project to contribute to sustainability of the marine resources
10. Census of Marine Life and ocean in Google Earth bring ocean information to life
11. New version of Google Earth features Californias marine protected areas
Post Your Comments:
(Date:12/1/2015)... JOSE, Calif. , Dec. 1, 2015 ... of human interface solutions, today announced a new agreement ... enable OEMs with real-world test and development environments that ... Labs solutions. The partnership reduces the complexity of FIDO ... and software permits Synaptics and OEMs to verify FIDO ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. , Nov. 30, 2015 ... selected as a finalist in this year,s Fierce Innovation ... publisher of FierceHealthIT , ... BIOCLAIM was recognized as a finalist in the ... --> ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 26, 2015 Research ... of the "Capacitive Fingerprint Sensors - Technology and ... --> --> ... market, especially in smartphones. The fingerprint sensor vendor Idex ... fingerprint sensor units in mobile devices and of the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... OXFORD, England , December 1, 2015 ... Touch is a touch activated lancet that features Owen ... Vancouver , booth 1403, Unistik® Touch is a ... Zone Technology®. --> Owen Mumford, a leading ... its range of medical devices, available initially in the ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... SEATTLE , Dec. 1, 2015 Today ... headquarters in Seattle,s South Lake ... northwest corner of Mercer Street and Westlake Avenue North, ... to the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the ... Allen , philanthropist and founder of the Allen Institute. ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... -- Researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and ... MIT have engineered changes to the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 genome ... errors. The refined technique addresses one of the major ... Science , Feng Zhang and his ... amino acids that make up the Cas9 enzyme from ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Dec. 1, 2015  Twist Bioscience, a company focused on ... , Ph.D., has been selected as one of Foreign ... fast-tracking the building blocks of life . Each year, ... whose contributions and work have changed lives and are shaping ... "It is an honor to be recognized among these incredible ...
Breaking Biology Technology: