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February 22, 2019

World fish population on the decline - report

The population of fish in the world is declining, according to a new report.

The report, titled Living Blue Planet, released in Kwale last week notes that the population of marine mammals, birds, reptiles and fish in the world has reduced by half in the last four decades.

World Wide Fund country chief executive officer Mohamed Awer said some fish are declining by close to 75 per cent.

“Unregulated and unreported fishing continues to be a serious threat to our young fisheries and marine life. We need to take action to preserve important ocean ecosystem around the world,” he said.

The report indicates that species essential to commercial and subsistence fishing may be suffering the greatest, with a decline of 74 per cent of popular food fish that include Tuna, Mackerel and Bonitos.

The report shows there was a 49 per cent decline in marine population between 1970 and 2012.

It also raises a red flag over steep declines in coral reefs, mangroves and sea grasses that support fish species and provide valuable services to people.

“Over one third of fish tracked by the report rely on coral reefs and these species show a dangerous decline of 34 per cent between 1979 and 2010,” said Awer.

He noted that by 2050, coral reefs could be lost across the globe as a result of climate change.

“About 25 per cent of all marine species living in coral reefs and about 850 million people directly benefit from the economic, social and cultural services. The loss of coral reef could be disastrous destruction with dramatic consequences on communities,” he said.

Awer noted that climate change is causing the ocean to change rapidly although exploitation is identified as a major threat to the ocean biodiversity.

“Threat to the ocean risk annual economic output of at least US$2.5 trillion and overall asset of at least $24 trillion as found by previous WWF study,” Awer said.

World Wide Fund conservation director Jared Bosire said activities in the ocean have to be regulated because it has a lot of potential to support development and economy of states and livelihood of global community through fishing, tourism and shipping among others.

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