Friday, June 20, 2008

Overfishing Has Put Marine Life on 'Junk Food' Diet

Pound360 wonders if our grandchildren will ask, "Where did the saying 'plenty of fish in the sea' come from?" They'll ask since fish in the ocean are destined to be as rare as Big Foot in a forest (or will those be around in a few decades?).

Studying the impact of overfishing and climate change on fish populations, researchers are finding that, as fish stocks are depleted, the surviving species must subsist on a "junk food" diet
reports New Scientist. What this means is that, as humans pull out the good stuff, carnivorous fish (like tuna) and birds must find lunch further down the food chain where the menu is more bite-size and lean. While a diet like that might be good for people, it's not for fish.

At the moment, there's plenty of small, low-fat fish like sprat for big fish and birds to feast on. But still, "marine animals eating [this] junk food diet are losing weight." And that's because, "quality of prey is just as important as quantity of prey," one expert told New Scientist.

(Photo courtesy NOAA)

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.