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Lay of the Land

Oil Trumps Art | Hummer and Hummerer| Phony Fire Protection | Small Fry | A Fish With Friends | Bold Strokes | Ecoterrorist Legislation | WWatch | On Wal-Mart Pond | Updates

Small Fry

In a single lifetime we have nearly exhausted the ocean’s bounty. Industrial fishing has eliminated 90 percent of large predatory fish. Gone, too, are the biggest examples of those species; the fish that remain are far smaller than they were only 50 years ago. With today’s sonar-equipped fleets, "we are really too good at killing," says biologist Ransom Myers of Nova Scotia’s Dalhousie University. The outlines below, based on data from the central Pacific, indicate the heavier mean weight of fish in the 1950s.

  • Bigeye Tuna were about 2 times as heavy
    (and 8 times more abundant) in the 1950s.

  • Silky Shark were about 3 times as heavy
    (and 10 times more abundant) in the 1950s.

  • Striped Marlin were about 5 times as heavy
    (and 2 times more abundant) in the 1950s.

Source: Ransom Myers and Peter Ward, Dalhouse University, Nova Scotia.

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