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Subject: Re: The Ocean is Starving!
From: Andrew Remsen <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 8 Mar 2000 12:01:47 -0500

text/plain (74 lines) , aremsen.vcf (14 lines)

The company in question is Ocean Farming Inc., which has gotten permission from
the government  of the Marshall Islands to attempt to increase fishery
production through phosphate and iron addition in the surrounding waters. There
was another talk at Ocean Sciences 2000 by John Cullen, "Commercial ocean
fertilization: We know enough to know better" that discussed this and other
commercial ventures that are proposing to use nutrient loading of oceanic waters
for commercial purposes.

"Mowitt, Bill" wrote:

> Greetings fellow fishheads (and Lisa),
> In reponse to:
> > FURTHERMORE...since fishing has been dragging down the whole system for
> > centuries, plankton levels have also been in decline for that length of
> > time. This includes phytoplankton...and the result of the gradual drop
> John Gibey wrote:
>  I still do not
> understand why phytoplankton numbers should fall if you remove the fish,
> surely the opposite would be the case?
> Playing devil's advocate for a moment--this can easily be explained by a
> trophic cascade argument--i.e. fewer fish allow zooplankton to flourish, and
> the newly abundant zooplankton will draw down phytoplankton stocks (see
> Carpenter et al. 1985).
> Does this actually happen?  Most of the examinations of the existence of
> trophic cascades have been in limnetic systems, so its tough to say for
> marine systems.  The evidence from lake and mesocosm experiments seems to
> indicate an 'uncoupling' at the zooplankton-phytoplankton link--i.e. changes
> in zooplankton population size don't seem to effect phytoplankton
> populations (see McQueen et al. 1988).  This may be due to the very
> different temporal (and spatial?) scales of fish, zooplankton, and
> phytoplankton population control...
> Debbie's ideas are not completely new, of course.  Talk of 'fertilizing' the
> ocean to increase fishery productivity has been going on for years.  I
> recall one of the plenary speakers at the 1999 ASLO convention discussing
> how a certain company (sorry can't recall the name..) has bought up the
> rights to all fishing in the EEZ around Fiji, and plans to dump nitrogen in
> the water on a massive scale and then sit back and reap the increased
> harvest (theoretically).  They even patented the idea! (actually, I guess
> that's a good thing--will keep other crackpots from doing it...).   I
> shudder to think what would actually happen to marine ecosystems if this
> were actually allowed to happen.
> Suffice it to say we aren't planning on stopping our nutrient reduction
> efforts here in the Chesapeake Bay.
> Cheers,
> Bill
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>                   ><>
>                      ><>
>                                   <><
> Bill Mowitt
> MD Dept. of Nat. Res. Fisheries Division
> Tawes State Office Bldg. C-2
> Annapolis, MD 21401
> 410-260-8263
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