Over the last decade, overfishing has become a major threat, not only to the economy but for the environment as well. On top of it all, a recently published study reveals that over 90 percent of all predatory fish have been wiped out from the Caribbean coral reef as a result of excessive fishing. Still, there is home to reestablish the balance, by taking advantage of the so-called supersites, vast undersea formations which fish can use in order to mask their presence.
In a study published on the 1st of March, a team of marine biologists from the University of North Carolina proved that vast oceanic areas had been severely damaged by overfishing. The study, which now features in the Science Advances journal, shows that over 90 percent of all predatory biomass has disappeared from the Caribbean coral reef due to overfishing.
Moreover, the scientists said that this phenomenon could inadvertently affect the oceanic ecosystem, as well as the coastal economy which depends on it. However, the study also reveals that the situation is not entirely desperate and that it can be corrected.
More specifically, Abel Valdivia and John Bruno, the study’s authors, propose that we can advantage of the so-called supersites in order to rejuvenate the predatory biomass. So, what are supersites and why have they become so important in the attempt to stem the effects of overfishing?
According to Valdivia and Bruno, supersites are large underwater formations which fish can use in order to hide, very similar to a gigantic labyrinth. The researchers believe that these supersites might be the answer to countering the effects of overfishing.
Their plan is to reintroduce several species of fish in protected supersites, in an attempt to attract predators. Although this experiment requires us to rethink how to prioritize resources, the scientists declared that the effects of this change would definitely outweigh its costs.
Bruno and Valdivia noted in their study that if this method is successful in rejuvenation the predatorial biomass, the shore economy will certainly begin to thrive again. Furthermore, it’s very probably that the region might derive millions in revenue from tourists coming to seen sharks and other underwater predators.
However, at the moment, it’s still too early to tell if this approach will be enough to replenish the predatorial biomass or if more restrictive measures should be taken.
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