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Overfishing's wiping out critical BC marine predators

Tuna, shark numbers down 90 per cent from 1950s -- and that's bad news for marine ecosystem.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Grim news for the West Coast's marine eco-systems today: a new study out of UBC says overfishing of predators like sharks, tuna and swordfish has taken its toll.

Predator species in the northern Pacific are down more than 90 per cent over the 1950s, the study says -- reflecting a similar drop in southern waters.

The Canadian Press has the story:

VANCOUVER -- A new study published by University of British Columbia scientists says overfishing is taking a heavy toll on marine predators such sharks, tuna and swordfish.

The study, published online today in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series, says predator species in north Pacific waters have dropped by more than 90 per cent since the 1950s.

Lead author Laura Tremblay-Boyer says predator species are also experiencing a dramatic decline in the south seas as those species are caught and sent to northern markets for consumption.

Tremblay-Boyer says the declines could create some fundamental changes for the marine ecosystem, noting that species such as tuna have been exploited because of high demand.

Co-author Daniel Pauly says that once the predator fish are gone from the southern hemisphere people living there will not be able to look north to satisfy their own fish needs.

He says the study leads to an important question: What happens when people have nowhere left to turn for fish?

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