Overfishing of Sea Cucumbers Hurts the Great Barrier Reef

Written by on October 16, 2013 in Invertebrates, Marine Life, Seals, Sea Lions & Sea Otters

Daily Summary

2013 Ocean Health Index Shows Food Provision Remains an Area of Great Concern
The Ocean Health Index (OHI) is an annual assessment of overall ocean health based on 10 diverse categories. It defines a healthy ocean as one that “sustainably delivers a range of benefits to people now and in the future.” In this year’s assessment, the oceans received a score of 65 out of 100, demonstrating the need for more effective resource management. The areas with the lowest scores included natural products (31 out of 100) and food provision (33). Food is one of the ocean’s most important resources — seafood is the major source of protein for at least one-third of the world’s population. To learn more, check out the comparison of the 2012 and 2013 OHI scores.

Sea cucumber, Stichopus chloronotus.

Sea cucumber, Stichopus chloronotus. Photo credit: Dr. Dwayne Meadows, NOAA/NMFS/OPR.

Evidence of unsustainable fishing in the Great Barrier Reef
A new study reveals that sea cucumber fishing in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is unsustainable. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), many targeted species are endangered and vulnerable to extinction. Much of the decline of the Great Barrier Reef is blamed on crown-of-thorns starfish, but this research suggests that overfishing of key species is also responsible. Sea cucumbers play an important role in the GBR ecosystem. Previous research indicates that they may help reduce the harmful impact of ocean acidification on coral growth so healthy sea cucumber populations may be crucial in the near future. Over 70 percent of tropical sea cucumber fisheries are now considered depleted, fully exploited or over-exploited and in recent years, more than 24 of those fisheries have been closed.

Rescued Sea Lions Go Home
And now for a success story: watch the happy moment when rehabilitated sea lions go home! When a group of injured and abandoned sea lions washed ashore on a beach in Peru, the ORCA conservation group rescued and rehabilitated them. The sea lions suffered injuries from humans including bumps, bruises, broken ribs and even poisoning. Now, several months later, they are being released back to the wild to rejoin their colony. Check it out:

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Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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