Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Scientists Say Cod Off Nova Scotia Declining
Associated Press ^ | June 28, 2005 | Associated Press

Posted on 06/29/2005 2:58:30 AM PDT by Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit

PORTLAND, Maine — The collapse of cod stocks off Nova Scotia changed the marine ecosystem so dramatically that it may be impossible for cod to recover, according to a study by Canadian scientists that could have ramifications for cod stocks at Georges Bank.

Once the top predator, cod is now a bit player in waters off Nova Scotia. Its population on the Scotian Shelf has plunged 96 percent since the 1850s, according to archaeological evidence and old fishing records. In its absence, the entire marine ecosystem has been transformed, said Ken Frank, who co-authored the report published recently in Science magazine.

"It was always thought that the effects of overfishing were reversible," Frank said. "It's pretty shocking when you stop fishing, the fish don't return."

The research of Frank, Brian Petrie, Jae Choi and William Leggett could have ramifications for Georges Bank cod, which also has been decimated by overfishing.

Frank, who works for Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, says the virtual disappearance of cod and other large species such as haddock, flounder and hake led to what scientists call a "cascade effect."

As the population of large predators declined, the fish they prey on -- herring, shrimp, crab and lobster -- have undergone a population explosion. That means cod, which used to sit on the top of the food chain, has now been replaced by smaller fish, Frank says.

Cod's departure is felt at the bottom of the food chain, where zooplankton and algae are now being depleted at a faster rate because more and more fish are feeding on them, he says. Eventually, the lack of food could bring about a crash in the numbers of fish, he says.

Frank says it's unclear whether cod can make a recovery in this new environment.

A big obstacle, he says, is that cod spend the early parts of their lives at the bottom of the food chain. Cod eggs, larvae and juvenile cod are food for other fish. Because there are fewer adult cod, there are now a larger population of fish to eat the young cod.

"The king of the jungle are typically large as adults and are safe," said Robert Steneck, a University of Maine scientist who has studied the cascading effect in the Gulf of Maine. "With overfishing, we are left with babies, and they are not safe."

Because of cod's decline, lobster populations have exploded to record levels, despite increasing fishing pressure, Steneck says. And lobsters today account for more than 70 percent of the total value of Maine's marine resources.

While that may seem like great news, Steneck says, fishing communities have become dangerously dependent on lobsters. "If anything happens to this one species, we have a disaster on our coast," he said.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Canada; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: canada; ecosystems; environment; fish
Nature is a system and it is resilient. But resources are not infinite. If we mess to much we screw it up and sometimes permanently. Conservatives conserve.

As we change the percentage of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere we are messing with the whole system and don't know the consequences. Sounds like a big gamble.

Got my flame retardents on for the head-in-the-sand, man-is-too-puny-to-affect-nature crew.

1 posted on 06/29/2005 2:58:30 AM PDT by Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit

I guess all the fish are being cod.


2 posted on 06/29/2005 3:10:16 AM PDT by moog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit

Oh my cod....say it isn't so. I wonder if it will be so ten years hence.....


3 posted on 06/29/2005 3:10:43 AM PDT by anniegetyourgun
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit
Recently, a US Navy nuclear powered attack submarine, ran into a previously unknown mountain in 3,000 feet of water. The sub was at 500 foot depth. The area was charted.

So, if the US Navy, with doctoral degreed in science officers, two navigation crews, satellites, spy ships, pre programed and researched sea routes, can't find a mountain...you telling me some group of bearded, leftist, environmentalist vegan's in a outboard skiff, 10 feet off the beach...know how many fish there are in the water? I don't think so. They have no, none, zero, zip idea. And anything else is a lie.

Get this, FACT. less than 10% of the ocean is even charted. We know less about the ocean than outer space.

Counting fish my arse.
4 posted on 06/29/2005 3:27:19 AM PDT by Leisler
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Leisler
Now, that was a good post.


5 posted on 06/29/2005 3:43:58 AM PDT by nathanbedford
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit

Sperm Whales no longer play the area to eliminate the squid which has had a population explosion as they eat the cod unmolested by any predatation.


6 posted on 06/29/2005 3:47:07 AM PDT by Maelstrom (To prevent misinterpretation or abuse of the Constitution:The Bill of Rights limits government power)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit
Because of cod's decline, lobster populations have exploded to record levels,... fishing communities have become dangerously dependent on lobsters. "If anything happens to this one species, we have a disaster on our coast," .

Oh come on! Does the author really believe that fishermen are so stupid that they could not learn to fish for and profit from what ever species filled in the gap if Lobster numbers declined.

When cod declined fishermen learned to fish for lobster. Does the author really believe that Lobster fishing is the absolute limit of mans ability to adapt?

7 posted on 06/29/2005 4:04:01 AM PDT by joshhiggins (The only good muslim is a bad muslim, and vice versa.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit
it may be impossible for cod to recover, according to a study by Canadian scientists that could have ramifications for cod stocks at Georges Bank. OK so if anybody went down to George's bank and bought cod stock now is the time to sell.

Seriously though, Why don't they do what they did with Atlantic Salmon on the Penobscot and raise cod in fisheries to be released when they are big enough to compete with the other species?

8 posted on 06/29/2005 4:12:58 AM PDT by Cowman (Just when you hit the bottom of the stupid hole you notice the guy next to you is digging)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: joshhiggins
fish for and profit from what ever species filled in the gap

According to your logic, I guess the people are going to eventually learn to love to eat algae and plankton stew.

9 posted on 06/29/2005 4:29:08 AM PDT by Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit (“There is a law – a law of nature. Man is not the ruler.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit
According to your logic, I guess the people are going to eventually learn to love to eat algae and plankton stew.

No according to my logic nature like man is adaptive, and if lobster declines, another species that eats algae will proliferate.

10 posted on 06/29/2005 4:37:43 AM PDT by joshhiggins (The only good muslim is a bad muslim, and vice versa.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Leisler

Empty nets just might be an indicator of fish numbers.

Do you think there are still wild Elk and Buffalo all over the Eastern United States? After all its a big place, you can't see everywhere at once. They might just be hiding, right?


11 posted on 06/29/2005 4:57:11 AM PDT by SampleMan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: joshhiggins
Does the author really believe that Lobster fishing is the absolute limit of mans ability to adapt?

Probably. Sad isn't it?

12 posted on 06/29/2005 5:00:42 AM PDT by Desdemona (Music Librarian and provider of cucumber sandwiches, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary. Hats required.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: SampleMan
Do you think there are still wild Elk and Buffalo all over the Eastern United States?

No, but there seems to be a lot more deer, cows, and people, than there once was.

13 posted on 06/29/2005 5:10:18 AM PDT by joshhiggins (The only good muslim is a bad muslim, and vice versa.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit
Because of cod's decline, lobster populations have exploded to record levels

Then why is lobster so damned expensive?
14 posted on 06/29/2005 5:14:44 AM PDT by HEY4QDEMS
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: joshhiggins

these are not men, they are Lobstermen!


15 posted on 06/29/2005 5:23:18 AM PDT by babble-on
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit

If you beleive in evolution, then some of those small, algae eating fish will turn carnivore because an ecologial niche is available.


16 posted on 06/29/2005 5:41:23 AM PDT by Casekirchen (If allah is just another name for the Judeo-Christian God, why do the islamics pray to a rock?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: HEY4QDEMS
I was told by a fisheries expert a few years ago that every species that was managed by fishery experts had crashed. It seems that we didn't have a handle on what was actually happening in the oceans. There also was controversy about how one actually sampled the number of fish (and the year classes) from a ship.

Another factor that is left of of just about every article on fisheries is that for most species the fishing boats set their nets on spawning stocks. It is easier to catch more fish that way. I told them that the Pennsylvania Game Commission had figured out that shooting gravid deer was bad for the deer population ( and for the hunters) about 100 years ago.

17 posted on 06/29/2005 5:44:05 AM PDT by Citizen Tom Paine (An old sailor sends.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit
Its population on the Scotian Shelf has plunged 96 percent since the 1850s, according to archaeological evidence and old fishing records.

Whenever you see a journalist use the word according, the alarms should sound! The quoted is the only "fact" and everything else is opinion. Yet this fact is probably opinion. The writer does nothing to support the "fact" or advance the knowledge of the reader.

Now, who expresses the opinions composing the remainer of the article?:

BIO is a modern oceanographic research facility, established in 1962 by the Federal Government of Canada and is located on the shores of the Bedford Basin in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

http://www.bio.gc.ca/info/about-e.html

" So why would a mouthpiece for the Canadian government be whipping up hysteria over cod? How about this:

In its 2003 summary on the provincial economy, the government notes fisheries incomes rose from $170 million in 1991 to $374 million in 1999, the last year tax data were available. The total value of fish landings hit $515 million last year, compared to an average of $260 million during most of the 1990s." http://www.creativeresistance.ca/canada/2003-the-codless-sea-cbc.htm

So do you think these fisheries contributed to the political campaigns of whoever is in government? Hmmm...

And how about this:

The tension has eased somewhat. Now the main complaint from both fisherman and scientists is Ottawa's lack of money for scientific research. Id.

So notwithstanding the lack of funding and study, these three "experts" have it all figured out. Ooookay. This study seems to be, at least in part, a scientists play for funding. Yet the writer does nothing to identify the source of any potential bias for the opinions of the "experts."

I am not denying there has been a change is the population of the waters resulting in frictional unemployment on the land. I just doubt that a government funded study has the answers.

18 posted on 06/29/2005 5:46:37 AM PDT by frithguild (If I made one mistake, it was that I was too cooperative and waited too long to go on the offensive.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SampleMan
Let's see. You give a example of a place that is one dimension, mapped, charted, known, explored about a animal that is slow, large and can easily be seen.

I point out the fact that of the 7/8ths of the world of which only 10% is charted, many dating back into the mid 1800's, about a small, moving in three dimensions through mostly unseen and unexplored world.

Good. Sharp. Proof that it is what one thinks one knows that is the problem in the world.
19 posted on 06/29/2005 5:51:19 AM PDT by Leisler
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: frithguild
"I just doubt that a government funded study has the answers."

Government funded studies are the answers to those who's rice bowl are government funded studies.

20 posted on 06/29/2005 5:56:29 AM PDT by Leisler
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Leisler

First, its a misnomer to say that only 10% of the worlds are charted. What you intend to say is that the exact topography of the oceans floor is not charted. This has zip to do with cod.

Are you saying that there are vast unknown fishing grounds in the world's oceans?

Are you saying that the cod are still out there in the ocean, but living at the bottom of some trench?

The article points out that the North Atlantic has been depleted of cod. I'll stand by analogy as quite appropriate. If the cod were out there, they'd be finding them in their nets.


21 posted on 06/29/2005 4:38:29 PM PDT by SampleMan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: joshhiggins
No, but there seems to be a lot more deer, cows, and people, than there once was.

Yep, lots more rats and paper wasps too. What's your point?

22 posted on 06/29/2005 5:13:58 PM PDT by SampleMan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit

This story comes out in re-written form every year.


23 posted on 06/29/2005 5:16:27 PM PDT by Doohickey (The more cynical you become / the better off you'll be)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SampleMan
What's your point?

Quite simple. Nature abhors a vacumn, and a decline in one species will generally be offset by proliferation of another.

According to the article the usual large predators such as cod have been reduced in numbers, meaning that now man can directly consume the now abundant herring, shrimp, crab and lobster that would have been eaten by the cod. How is this bad? How many pounds of lobster does it take to grow a pound of cod? Personally I enjoy lobster more than cod, and it is more efficient for me to eat the lobster than to let cod feed on it, and then eat the cod.

Likewise with your analogy with elk and buffalo, the ecological niche once dominated by them has now been filled with deer, cows, and people. Personally I enjoy eating venison and beef more than elk and buffalo. I also enjoy the company of my friends more than that of elk and buffalo. Is this bad?

No one is claiming that elk, buffalo, or cod are in danger of extinction. There has just been a shift in the proportional space these species occupy in the environment. I know of no "Divine Law" that holds that the numbers of these species must be maintained at the level they were in 1890AD, 1490AD, or 15,000 BC for that matter.

I see nothing inherently bad in a changing enviroment. Environmental change has been occurring since life began. I also believe that most humans are able to adapt to change, and can learn to get by on shrimp and lobster, or venison and steak when cod and buffalo are not plentiful.

24 posted on 06/29/2005 6:12:55 PM PDT by joshhiggins (The only good muslim is a bad muslim, and vice versa.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: joshhiggins
Well then, you're contesting a point that no one else (especially me) has made. Your point that it might be beneficial to people that cod have declined crossed my mine too, as an interesting possibility.

My post to which you originally replied, however, was in answer to what I thought was an illogical assessment that the oceans are so vast, that it can't be proven that the cod have actually declined in numbers, as they could just be hiding.

It is my point that no cod in the nets can be taken as a factual indicator that the number of cod has declined.

Having said that, I prefer cod to lobster. Sure lobster tastes better, but cod doesn't give my an allergic reaction.
25 posted on 06/29/2005 7:13:07 PM PDT by SampleMan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: SampleMan
you're contesting a point that no one else (especially me) has made.

You are correct that I was contesting a point you were not trying to make. The author had intimated that cod have declined and this is bad, and that if for some unknown reason lobster declined, fishermen would be doomed. I was contesting that argument.

In my haste this morning I had misinterpreted your comment as being similar to the authors, it was not. I apologize. Josh

26 posted on 06/29/2005 8:21:00 PM PDT by joshhiggins (The only good muslim is a bad muslim, and vice versa.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit

"Cod is dead," Neitze?


27 posted on 06/29/2005 8:28:31 PM PDT by AD from SpringBay (We have the government we allow and deserve.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson