Planet Gore

Cancel the Alarm over Ocean Pollution

It seems there are a lot more fish in the ocean than previously estimated. Via the Daily Mail:

Scientists have vastly underestimated the number of fish in the sea –  and say the majority of them have never been fished.

Australian researchers found that mesopelagic fish, which live between 100 and 1000m below the surface, constitute 95 per cent of the world’s fish biomass and are untouched by fishing.

They say the secret to the animal’s success may be its ability to evade fishing nets.

’This very large stock of fish that we have just discovered, that holds 95 per cent of all the fish biomass in the world, is untouched by fishers,’ the researchers say.

The international team of marine biologists say mesopelagic fish in the earth’s oceans constitute 10 to 30 times more biomass than previously thought.

UWA Professor Carlos Duarte says mesopelagic fish – fish that live between 100 and 1000m below the surface – must therefore constitute 95 per cent of the world’s fish biomass.

They believe the finding could dramatically change our understanding of how the ocean’s operate.

’Because the stock is much larger it means this layer must play a more significant role in the functioning of the ocean and affecting the flow of carbon and oxygen in the ocean,’ he says.

Now here’s where it gets interested. Fish play a vital roll in regulating the acidity of the oceans. If the number of fish have been dramatically undercounted, this could explain why the ocean acidification models aren’t showing what the alarmists want them to show, foremost that the ocean is dying. Now, seeing that fish fight climate change and now we have ten times as many fish as previously estimated, shouldn’t the climate scientists start updating their models? Via the New Scientist from 2009:

An unlikely ally may have been found in the fight against the effects of climate change. Fish excretions seem to play a key role in maintaining the ocean’s delicate pH balance, says a study that also reveals that there are 2 billion tonnes of fish in the world’s oceans.

Bony fish excrete lumps of calcium carbonate, known as “gut rocks” which are thought to dissolve in the upper layers of the ocean. A team led by Rod Wilson of the University of Exeter in the UK has now shown that the sheer amount of gut rocks produced plays a key role in buffering the carbon dioxide that acidifies seawater.

“This study really is the first glimpse of the huge impact fish have on our carbon cycle – and why we need them in the ocean,” says Wilson’s colleague Villy Christensen of the University of British Columbia in Canada.

Professor Duarte’s research means the number is now around 10 billion tons of fish

Oh, and there’s this: these previously uncounted fish thriving in areas like the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” Via Phys.org:

Prof Duarte says research into the five ocean gyres, where vast amounts of flotsam collect, turned up surprising results.

“We actually called them oceanic deserts,” he says.

“They are not desert at all, they are very vibrant ecosystems that support a very high .

“The largest fish stock in the ocean is not in the coastal areas … but actually in the central gyres of the oceans.

“The food web … in the central gyres of the ocean … it’s a lot more efficient than we thought.”

He says the survey also showed the oceans were healthier than previously thought.

“This very large stock of fish that we have just discovered, that holds 95 per cent of all the  in the world, is untouched by fishers,” he says.

“They can’t harvest them with nets.

“In the 21st Century we have still a pristine stock of fish which happens to be 95 per cent of all the  in oceans.

“And that also changes our views on ocean health.”

So much for settled science on fish and ocean health. Which alarmist domino will be the next to fall?

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