Case Study:Algae, Fishing Impacts, and Food

Michael Williamson (
Mon, 18 Mar 1995 11:20:46

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From: Michael Williamson <WHE_WILLIAM@FLO.ORG>
Subject: Case Study:Algae, Fishing Impacts, and Food
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Fishing Impact
 AP Science Writer
   NEW YORK (AP) -- Commercial fishing takes up a larger share of
the ocean's algae than scientists had thought, at the expense of
whales, dolphins and other marine life, a new study says.
   The competition should be eased by setting up some no-fishing
zones along offshore areas called continental shelves, said
researcher Daniel Pauly of the University of British Columbia in
   He and Villy Christensen analyzed the issue at the International
Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management in Manila,
Philippines. They present results in Thursday's issue of the
journal Nature.
   Algae are the ocean's ultimate source of food energy, sustaining
animals through food chains. The researchers calculated that 8
percent of annual algae production sustains the food chains whose
fish are caught commercially. That is nearly four times the
previous estimate, they said.
   The percentage of algae consumption is much higher for the
continental shelves, where Pauly said about 90 percent of the
world's catch takes place.
   For shelves that are home to such popular species as cod,
haddock, herring and flounder, about one-third of the algae
essentially work "for us," Pauly said.
   The share of algae that sustains commercial fishing is therefore
not available to food chains that eventually feed seabirds and
large marine mammals like whales and dolphins, he said.
   Pauly advocated setting up no-fishing zones on continental
   Richard Gutting Jr., vice president for government relations of
the National Fisheries Institute, an industry group, said vast
ocean areas have already been set aside as no-fishing zones.
   "Here in the United States, the more urgent issue is whether we
can continue to feed exploding populations of marine mammals, such
as seals and sea lions, which are competing for seafood with human
beings," he said.