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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Say Goodbye to Penguins and Bigeye Tuna

The Emperor, Gentoo, Chinstrap and Adelie penguins are on the way out. As we heat up the atmosphere, we melt the ice (taking away their homes, if you will). We're also catching all their food. Say goodbye:

The Emperor penguin, the largest in the world, has seen some of its colonies halved in the past century as warmer temperatures and stronger winds force them to rear their young on increasingly thin ice, the report published at the UN conference on climate change in Bali said. WWF said in recent years sea ice had broken off early and many eggs and chicks had been blown away when they were too young to survive on their own.

The melting sea ice - which covers 40% less area than it did 26 years ago off the West Antarctic Peninsula - has also led to reduced numbers of krill, the main source of food for chinstrap penguins. Some colonies of chinstraps have seen reductions in numbers of up to two thirds because reduced food has made it more difficult for youngsters to survive, the Antarctic Penguins and Climate Change report said.

The gentoo penguin has also seen numbers shrinking because they are increasingly dependent on the krill as their usual food sources have been depleted by overfishing, the report said. And on the northwestern coast of the Antarctic peninsula, populations of Adelie penguins have dropped by 65% in the past quarter of a century.


The Bigeye tuna is also on the way out. They love Bigeye in Japan, makes for great sashimi. Interestingly enough, bigeye tuna are often bycatch (go here for some pictures of bycatch, do it, see what your fish fingers really cost) for fishing boats searching for Yellowfin and Skipjack tuna:

But bigeye tuna stocks in the Eastern Pacific, Indian, Atlantic and Western and Central Pacific Oceans are all suffering from excessive fishing and the Eastern Pacific stock is overfished. In the Eastern Pacific up to 60 per cent of the bigeye tuna catch are small, juvenile fish, meaning it has had insufficient time to breed and replenish stocks.

A new report from TRAFFIC, the wildlife monitoring network, and WWF warns that bodies set up to protect stocks are failing to meet legal obligations, are too slow to respond to scientific advice and have failed to halt overfishing.




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