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Subject: Re: death by fishing
From: Paul Hoetjes <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Academic forum on fisheries ecology and related topics <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 7 Apr 1997 12:44:22 -0700

text/plain (81 lines)

Dear Dave, John, Tim,

I guess we are sort of getting away from fish to marine mammals, but I would like to
add the Caribbean Monk Seal, which, as far as I know was last seen somewhere in the
first half of this century. I don't know whether this was caused by overfishing, but I
don't think that at that time habitat loss or alteration due to human impact was
really an important factor.

Paul Hoetjes
Foundation Reef Care Curacao
Curacao Seaquarium              Phone: +599-9-616666/368120
P.O.Box 3102                    Fax: +599-9-613671/368120
Curacao, Netherlands Antilles   e-mail: Paul Hoetjes <[log in to unmask]>

John Kirkwood wrote:
> > Dave Robichaud wrote:
> > ---------------
> > I keep hearing pro-fishing lobbyists saying "sure we fish 'em down
> > pretty hard, but there's never actually been a species that was fished
> > to extinction."
> >
> > >Does anyone know if this is true?  Have there been any species which
> > were actually fished to death?
> No, it's not true. The Stellar's sea cow (Hydrodamalus gigas) was fished to
> extinction within a few years of its first discovery by Europeans.
>  Dr John Kirkwood
>  Southern Fisheries Centre
>  PO Box 76, Deception Bay 4508, Queensland, Australia
>  Ph: 61 - 7 - 3817 9587  Fax: 61 - 7 - 3817 9555
>  E-mail: [log in to unmask]

Tim Adams wrote:

> I suspect that nobody really knows the answer to this question since
> nobody has a real good handle on the abundance of each species that
> lives under the sea. And it would probably be difficult to separate
> the effects of fishing out from other factors. But we can look at the
> probabilities...
> For example, marine mammals have probably been amongst the most
> heavily fished species in the sea, in relation to their
> life-histories, and are probably amongst the best known marine species
> in terms of abundance estimation, so you should be able to get some
> idea about the likelihood of fishing-induced marine extinction from
> this "most vulnerable" end of the marine spectrum..
> In general, it seems to be habitat encroachment and alteration that
> administer the real killer blows to wild populations. Look at the
> history of recent species extinctions on land:- what proportion can be
> fully laid at the door of hunting, and how many due to loss of
> habitat? Thankfully mankind appears to have had much less of an impact
> on marine than on the terrestrial habitats so far.
> Things are changing, and predation by an increasingly hungry mankind
> certainly doesn't improve the resilience of marine biota in coping
> with these changes, particularly when some of the fishing methods in
> use may change habitats themselves. But we would be wise to pay
> considerably more attention to terrestrially-originating marine
> habitat changes than we do at present, if we REALLY want to try and
> prevent future marine extinctions. Fishing communities have become a
> convenient scapegoat for a problem that is much broader in scope.
> By the way, I am not a "pro-fishing lobbyist" (at least not many
> fishermen I know would call me that), any more than Dave Robichaud's
> choice of people-descriptors puts him into the "anti-fishing" lobby.
> If this discussion develops further, I hope that we will all remember
> that we are subscribing to this list because we are "fish-ecologists".
> ----------
> Tim Adams - Integrated Coastal Fisheries Management Project
> South Pacific Commission
> BP D5 - 98848 Noumea Cedex - New Caledonia
> [log in to unmask]

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