The dangers of manipulating ecosystems are well known.
The Earth Science department at Universities in Britain has compiled an extensive list detailing the ways in which human beings have destroyed the natural order of the planet. Global warming, acid rain, and depletion of the ozone layer are only some of the examples. It goes without saying that if we continue down this path, there will be no land left for wildlife. The list is long, but it has to be kept in mind that there are so many more pollutants in the environment.
The latest danger of manipulation of ecosystems is found in fisheries. The main reason why so many people have stopped fishing is that fish farming is at risk of becoming obsolete. It is true that fishing did help reduce the pressure on fish stocks, but a return to fishing alone would not help the fish populations. The number of individual fish and their respective breeding numbers have crashed due to over fishing. So what does this mean?
The fact is that while human intervention to manipulate the natural balance between fisheries and nature has reduced fish numbers, the problem still persists. What happens is that fish are still being fished out to the extent that they are in danger of becoming too rare. The same problem is faced by wild coastal marine animals as well.
One of the ‘Dangers of Manipulating Ecosystems’ listed at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) website is ‘extinction of marine life’. This means literally that if we do not stop taking such creatures away, they will not survive. EDF lists several such examples such as ‘mass harvesting of sea animals for meat, fish, and oil’. They also list the phenomenon of over fishing, which is destroying the ocean’s food chain. In the case of endangered species, such as the Orca, this could spell disaster.
Another ‘Danger of Manipulating Ecosystems’ listed at EDF is the impact of human fishing on ecosystems. It points out that the ill advised fishing of wild seafood has caused devastation to oceans around the world. The report points out that such practices have led to the depletion of millions of sea animals including schools of fish, turtles, cormorants, and other marine creatures. This is also affecting oxygen levels in the oceans, and thus ecosystems will suffer from increased pressure and temperatures.
Meanwhile, human interference has caused indirect effects as well. Studies have shown that fish farming can have a knock-on effect on natural prey in certain situations. This is because fish farming may encourage over fishing in natural habitat. Additionally, they could be used to control overpopulation of certain species. Such overpopulation may disrupt natural food chains and cause prices to rise, affecting natural prey.
Environmental issues face a difficult situation when humans try to exploit natural resources without considering the consequences. The pressures from the tourism industry and agricultural sector in developing countries often conflict with efforts to preserve biodiversity. In many cases, fishery reforms and other changes have been forced on fishery owners as a way to improve food supply and open up markets. The result has been that over-exploitation of natural resources has occurred, leading to the degradation of fisheries and ecosystems overall. Some of this has been assisted by upper tier action, but in some regions this has not been enough.
In short, the abundance of certain activities are likely to have significant impacts on the environment. However, it is not just fishing fleets which need to be addressed as unsustainable practices have also caused major problems for marine life. The best solutions for the sustainable use of natural resources are often going to be those that reduce commercial fishing pressure, preserve biodiversity, provide for healthy ecosystems, and increase sustainability.
These solutions will also protect wild habitat and strengthen national and international fisheries.
Provided by Antonio Westley
Disclaimer: This article is meant to be seen as an overview of this subject and not a reflection of viewpoints or opinions as nothing is definitive. So, make sure to do your research and feel free to use this information at your own discretion.