For those of you that would rather get a root canal the read “Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services,” consider this your Cliff’s Notes.
This new report in Science shows that marine biodiversity loss is increasingly impairing the ocean’s ability to provide food, maintain water quality, and recover from perturbations. If these trends continue, pretty much all the fish will be gone by 2048. In fact, according to the report, a whopping 30% of the world’s commercial fisheries are already collapsed.
I’m not the only one who thinks this is a big deal. So does the BBC, The New York Times, and the Washington Post.
But this story could still have a happy ending. The authors make it clear we have time (but not a lot!) to change course and avoid an irreversible collapse. Their prescription is straightforward — we need to fish less and more carefully. We need to protect the habitat species on the ocean floor from destructive fishing methods like bottom trawls. We also need to make sure that fishermen fish more cleanly, so they don’t kill and discard species they don’t want to catch. And we really need to stop paying fishermen to chase down the last fish.
Someone should really advocate for this stuff.