An 18-year study of coral reefs off the coast of Kenya conducted jointly by scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society and University of California in the USA found a significant connection between fishing and declining health of coral reefs.
In particular, the researchers found that the removal of especially certain species of fish upset the balance of the reef ecosystems and resulted in an overgrowth of sea urchins. The urchins then were found to consume a type of algae that normally assists in rebuilding the coral reef systems. In the study, regions where fishing was banned were noted to have fewer sea urchins and correspondingly more healthy reefs.
Besides their remarkable beauty, coral reefs are vital to ocean ecosystems, providing homes to over a million fish species and 25% of all marine life, while also offering natural protection from the damaging effect of storms.
Lead researcher Dr. Tim McClanahan of the University of California at Santa Cruz stated, “This study illustrates the cascading effects of [fish] loss on a reef system and the importance of maintaining fish populations for coral health.”
Many thanks, Dr. McClanahan and associates at both the University of California and Wildlife Conservation Society, for your insightful research on coral reef ecosystems. Let us swiftly step to ensure the protection of all life for the survival of marine and other natural habitats that are so vital to our planetary balance.
During an October 2009 videoconference in Indonesia, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke as on many previous occasions of the problems caused by killing practices such as fishing as she urged the foregoing of all animal products to save the environment and ultimately ourselves.