Fishing impacts on the Great Barrier Reef
Summary: Research has shown that an increase of fishing has had a detrimental impact on the make up of fish populations in the Great Barrier Reef. People have been aware for some time that the Great Barrier Reef has been affected by the climate change and pollution issues first and foremost. More recently, researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for coral reef studies at James cook university have found that removing predatory fish has caused significant changes to the make up of the Great Barrier Reef's fish populations. April Boaden, a PhD student at the university says that, "A stable and healthy reef includes a high abundance and diversity of predatory fish and a relatively low number of herbivorous and small prey fish" (ARC). This is certainly not the case as of late as more and more recreational and commercial fishers continue to target these predators such as the coral trout and snapper. As a result of the fishing, the prey of these predators such as the damselfish and parrotfish continue to grow in numbers due to depleting number of predatory fish. Overall, the reduction of predatory fish has altered the balance and structure of the coral reef ecosystem and it is us humans that are at fault.
Ethical viewpoint: The injustice that is being committed is the overfishing in the coral reef. With more and more predatory fish being depleted the more significant the ecosystem is impacted. It is truly unjust that these fish are suffering due to the careless actions of humans. In order for the ecosystem to thrive there needs to be a high abundance and diversity of the predatory fish and low number of prey. Due to the overfishing, the number of predatory fish has lessened while the number of prey has increased which has disrupted the balance of the reef's ecosystem. In order to combat this issue there needs to be some sort of quota for how much recreational and commercials fishers can fish. Also, there should be a time of no fishing so that the population of the predatory fish can be replenished which will ultimately allow the ecosystem to function at a healthy level.
Question: What do you think should be done to combat the increase of fishing in the Great Barrier Reef?
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies. "Fishing impacts on the Great Barrier Reef." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 April 2015