REVIEW: ARE WE PUTTING OUR FISH IN HOT WATER? WWF-REPORT
Fishes are more sensitive to temperature than any other animal on this planet. The reason why is because they can’t keep their body temperature constant and readily adopt that of the environment. Planet Earth has over 27 000 known fish species and it forms an integral part of the global biodiversity. Primarily from a human perspective, fishes are the staple food for billions with approximately 132 millions metric tons of fish that are capture and raised each year. From this millions, 75 % are directly consumed by humans.
Fishes occupies different and sometimes narrow niches, which are sometimes and most often characterize by temperature. As human has increased their usage and burning of fossil fuel (Coal, Oil and Gas) over the past 100 years, a rapid rise in global temperature is already happening. Warmer water, changes in climate, rainfall, currents and sea level are a result of global warming which are already influencing fisheries and fish biology around the world. Warmer water might be fatal, for several Artic species which depend on the cold, nutrient rich oxygenated water. Temperate fishes will now tend to move polewards, while tropical fish will enter new ecosystems due to the increase in temperature. Fishes at or near the poles has no other way to go deeper into the ocean, threatening their existance and competition will automatically increase in this system.
A study has shown that 120 000 birds died recently because these polar fishes went a bit deeper, resulting that these birds were unable to feed on them. The South Eastern Province of India, heavily rely on False Trevally where it is economically and culturally important. Due to the climatic changes, this part of India has received much less rain which meant less water running from the rivers into the sea. This caused a reduction in both nutrients and the fish population. In the poorer parts of the World, especially in Africa, fishing forms an important part in human’s purse and stomach. A study in Ghana revealed that when fish supply was low, bush meat (variety of wild animals) soared plus the poaching inclined. The indigenous people of the Artic have first hand experience of the shift and fluctuation of fish population as the global warming – effect have change the distribution and numbers of the former common fishes.
In order to conserve the global biodiversity, all of us have to take responsibility and lower our greenhouse gas emissions. It is not just the climate that will be affected but every other organism’s distribution and numbers. We as humans have to realize that we are part of web that are regulated by a sensitive climate, and already some part of the web are beginning to disappear.
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