Depletion of Marine Megafauna

In the Pacific, there used to be hundreds of thousands in whale population. There were once nearly 100,000 grey whales. The numbers have terribly dwindled today. Sustained fishery of whales from the bays and inlets of the English Channel, as early as the onset of the Middle Ages, is a practice that began in the 9th century.

The decimation of whales started as early as the 12th and 14th centuries. By the late 16th and early 17th centuries, vigorous whaling by Europeans stretched to new hunting grounds in the waters of the Arctic and Canada.

Overfishing of whales led to the Atlantic grey whale going into extinction by the 18th century. The last few hundred northern right whales presently encounter the same fate, in spite of protection.

Overfishing of marine megafauna disturbs the ecological equilibrium of marine environments.

Recently uncovered in the United States is the dire effect resulting from the depletion of large sharks such as tigers and hammerheads. The shark’s prey population of cownose rays burgeoned and, in turn, decimated the bay scallops which are their own prey. The overfishing of sharks in the area, thus, led to the collapse of the once flourishing scallop fishery in the region.

Today, overfishing of marine megafauna has extended to porpoises, dolphins, basking sharks, angel sharks, tunny, skate, halibut, among others. Fishery groups are emptying the seas of marine life. By doing so, they have managed to throw marine equilibrium off balance as depleting the seas of certain species alters the food web, as well as the entire marine ecosystem.


Via Times Online

tuna stock close to exhaustion