well-publicized (in public media and scientific literature) loss of
commercial fish stocks, a more disturbing trend is evident which has not been
made a focus of attention. This is the loss of multiple small marine animal
forms. This is evident to coastal residents who miss seeing what was once
common: small fish, eels, snails, clams, mussels, anemones, urchins and
starfish have shown a substantial decline on the shorelines. Scientific
literature records a corresponding decline in zooplankton abundance in the
coastal ocean. These downward trends have unexpectedly accompanied the
disappearance of the major fish stocks. When considered together, this
changing picture is strongly suggestive of a declining trend in marine
primary production or overall ocean fertility…yet in this relatively
well-studied part of the world (Atlantic Canada) the assumed driver of
falling marine fertility, climate change (or altered patterns of physical
forcing), is not evident. What is wrong?
|Many things “do
not add up” today in fishery science: e.g.
|-projections of fish stock rebuilding potential
when the small life forms that they feed on are unaccounted for
|-Starving fish in a supposedly “nutrient
enriched” coastal sea
|-Scientists still blaming seals for the failed
rebuilding of cod stocks (when cod are starving, plus this food-shortage
syndrome is seen across all groundfish stocks, including species such as cusk
that have never been found in the stomach of a seal…).
“crashing” fish stocks, the truth is that we have also recently seen
“crashing” models in fishery science. Relationships that were thought to be
strong have lately fallen apart. Although it is very “late in the day,” it
seems clear now that fishery science needs to reassess the reliability of the
very foundation on which it was built. This is the paradigm of “physical
forcing” as the major factor controlling the fertility of the sea.