Industrial fisheries are starving seabirds like penguins and terns by competing for the same prey sources, new research from the French National Center for Scientific Research in Montpellier and the Sea Around Us initiative at the University of British Columbia has found.
In a study published today in Current Biology, researchers found that annual seabird food consumption decreased from 70 to 57 million tonnes between 1970 and 2010. Meanwhile, fisheries increased their catches of potential seabird prey from an average of 59 million tonnes in the 1970s and 80s to 65 million tonnes per year in recent years.
“Fisheries persist in starving a vanishing seabird community, like a boa tightening its grip on prey,” said David Grémillet, lead author of the study and a researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research. “Despite the fact that the world’s seabird community is shrinking, the level of competition between seabirds and fisheries remained the same between the 1970-1980s and 1990-2000s.” MORE
Header image: African penguins are facing extinction. Credit: David Grémillet.