- The World is entering a 6th stage of extinction
- Worst rate of species die-offs since the Dinosaurs
- 21 per cent of fish species under threat
- 1/3 of shark and ray species at risk
According to a a report by the center for biological diversity, the world is currently in the midst of a mass extinction of plants and animals. It’s the 6th of its kind in the last half a billion years and scientists fear that it will bring about the worst spate of die-offs since the dinosaurs.
They report that unlike past mass extinctions, caused by events like asteroid strikes, volcanic eruptions, and natural climate shifts, the current crisis is almost entirely caused by us — humans. In fact, 99 percent of currently threatened species are at risk from human activities, primarily those driving habitat loss, introduction of exotic species, and global warming
Fish are among the high risk group:
Increasing demand for water, the damming of rivers throughout the world pollutants and invasive species have all contributed to the problem. Australia has a problem with European Carp, America with the Asian Carp and there are many other similar cases, making aquatic ecosystems some of the most vulnerable on the planet.
Over fishing and certain fishing methods have also had their criticism and when coupled with the issues above it’s not surprising that there are many fish species that are endangered in both freshwater and marine habitats.
Across the globe over 21% of all fish species and a third of Shark and Ray species were deemed to be at risk.
Here in the UK, the risk is minimal. Our climate is quite mild, we get plenty of rainfall and of course we breed fish for recreational purposes, so our lakes are regularly stocked. We also have a publicly funded environment agency and groups such as the Angling Trust to take polluters to task. However, we have ourselves seen problems in our rivers, especially with the ill-thought re-introduction of otters in some river systems and cormorants now feeding inland, because of the lack of small fish on our coastal waters.
But risks elsewhere are much higher. And what is worse, is that it seems governments in other parts of the world are trying to fight “fire with fire”. They are introducing one species to try to control the numbers and in some cases are even introducing disease to try to cull the numbers. There are reports in America that they are trying to use the Alligator Gar to control numbers of Asian Carp and as we reported a little while back, Australia are introducing the deadly KHV Carp disease to try to control numbers of the European Common Carp.
These are indeed worrying times. species of insect, mammals, birds and reptiles are also disappearing at alarming rates and to have over 30% of the shark and ray species under threat is a real worry.