Large fish have disappeared from vast tracts of Australian coast

From The Guardian 21st February 2014: Vast tracts of Australia’s coastline have been denuded of large fish, with marine life under pressure from climate change, over-fishing, pollution and invasive species, a year-long study has found.

Reef life survey Photograph: Jemima Stuart-Smith

Reef life survey Photograph: Jemima Stuart-Smith

The reef life survey, undertaken by volunteer divers along the entire Australian coastline, took in reefs up to 400 nautical miles out to sea, including remote areas not previously studied in detail. Starting and ending in Tasmania, researchers circumnavigated Australia, including a trip to areas of the Coral sea which have been set aside for a huge marine park.

Project co-founder Graham Edgar, of the University of Tasmania, told Guardian Australia the health of Australia’s marine areas is decidedly mixed.

“Over the next 50 to 100 years, climate change is the grand-daddy threat, no doubt,” Edgar said. “The east and west coasts of Australia have both seen an increase of water temperature, of around 1.5C in the last 50 years.

“What’s happening in the sea is out of sight but there are massive changes happening under the surface. There isn’t much information on the biology down there, which is why it’s invaluable to have this baseline data to measure against. There are massive changes taking place to the biology of the inshore system but no-one notices.”

Source: Guardian Friday 21st February 2014. For the full text see http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/21/large-fish-disappeared-from-australia-coast

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