Monday, October 06, 2014

Imagine then, an Ocean without its Monsters; loveless and boring.

 And I cite.
After fishing out the big sharks from the east coast waters, either through fishing methods that involve a lot of bycatch like long lines and gillnets, or through targeted shark fisheries, the ecosystem changed.
In the absence of large predators, a sizeable population (for which we had no fishery) of adorable cow-nosed rays began foraging in the eelgrass for their preferred shellfish food. I don’t blame them. It would take very little to convince me to rummage face-first in the mud for fresh scallops. The mechanical disturbance of foraging rays to the eelgrass, uprooted those plants. The habitat for all of the invertebrates and fish that need it for shelter was lost. By that same token, the rookery habitat for the juvenile fish for which we had our own fisheries was lost; damaging the fisheries and our economy. Our fishery economy was further damaged by the loss of shellfish to ray predation. Without shellfish to filter the water, pollutants were retained and plankton bloomed, causing a depletion of oxygen and creating dead-zones and poor water quality.
Plankton bloomed?
I like this guy - for obvious reasons!
I've found his long 5-part treatise about Sharks, from trophic cascades to Shark strikes, by pure serendipity when searching for a picture of a PSAT tag. Please do take the time to read it in its entirety, from first to fifth post as it is really as good as it gets - highly entertaining, intriguing, exhaustive and remarkably erudite.

Fifth post here, with links to the preceding ones.
From what I understand, the author is likely Chris Reeves - this guy.

In any case - kudos, well done!

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