Northern Snake-head Fish Destroy Exports and Ecosystems
Friday March 10 2011
“Within the Underwater Ecosystem of Fish and Fisheries of the GLB the commercial and sport fishery on the Great Lakes is collectively valued at more than $4 billion annually. Translating that, means Canada is the 6th largest Exporter of fish and seafood products worldwide.”
“Current concerns include the Fisheries and Oceans Canada warn the Northern Snakehead, native to Eastern Asia, cannot be allowed in Canadian Waters or it will destroy ecosystems and the fish that call it home.”
The Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem (GLBE) is unique and fragile ! In the gravel-filled bed an Ancient River System that used to flow south to Waterloo, southeast to Hamilton and southwest to what we now call Lake Ontario. Lake Ontario is the 14th largest lake in the world ! And, the (GLB) is the largest Freshwater Ecosystem in the world ! Yet, being a downstream Great Lake, Lake Ontario is impacted by human activities occurring throughout Lake Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie basin. Within this freshwater system, the five Great Lakes contain enough liquid to cover the entire U.S. with 7 feet (2 meters ) of water. And, 40 million humans live within the GLB, with 8.5 million Canadians and half of Canada’s industries depending on freshwater. Lake Ontario has the highest ratio of watershed area to surface area. What is the outflow of Lake Ontario ? The outflow to the St. Lawrence River is 93% of Lake Ontario. Inflow comes from a popular fishing ground, the Credit River Watershed, as part of the 14% of inflow from tributaries to Lake Ontario. The Credit River and Lake Ontario are both part of the Great Lakes Basin that connect to the St. Lawrence River and the Atlantic Ocean. The mix of fish species in the Great Lakes -St. Lawrence River came from Mississippi and the Atlantic drainage’s. The GLB and St. Lawrence Region are one of six Arctic-Atlantic sub-zones. Fish from the Wisconsinan Glacier formed the nucleus of present-day assemblage of fish in the Great Lakes basin, says Underhill. The Aquatic Ecosystem Classification for the GLB Wartershed in Ontario that was published by Ministry of Natural Resources in Peterborough, Ontario. In this report, they stated: ” Fish community patterns are the key to biological criteria.” Their methodology included examining distribution patterns of fish families, communities and the observance of some endemic species demonstrates the relationship among the upper level hierarchical organ of ecological units associated with biological processes.
Within the Underwater Ecosystem of Fish and Fisheries of the GLB the commercial and sport fishery on the Great Lakes is collectively valued at more than $4 billion annually. Translating that, means Canada is the 6th largest Exporter of fish and seafood products worldwide. For example, in 2,008 Canada exported move than 600,000 tonnes of fish and seafood = $4 billion. And the Ontario freshwater catch is 12,000 to 20,000 tonnes a year valued at $ 20 million to $ 40 million and employing 1,400 in the fishery industry. The main fish in the Ontario Fishery include: Pickerel (walleye), yellow perch, whitefish, white bass, white perch, lake trout, rainbow smelt and lake herring. The fishery consists of a blend of native and introduced species, some of which are regularly re-stocked. common catches include Lake Trout, Salmon, Pickerel (Walleye) , and Whitefish. The greater commercial fishing harvest were recorded in 1888 and 1889 at about 147 million pounds. Since then, the fishery has been threatened on three fronts: (1) overfishing, (2) pollution, and (3) invasive species. Recent years have seen a major resurgence as Pickerel (walleye) and yellow perch fisheries re-cover in Lake Erie and new Salmon fisheries develop in Lake Ontario. The region’s inland waters offer many fishing opportunities as well. Trout streams attract fly fishermen and the lakes and streams offer a variety of fish including: crappie, bluegills, perch, pike, small and large mouth bass. According to Cudmore and Crossman in 2,000, the Great Lakes was home to 142 established forms of fish, native and introduced. They calculated 26 species considered “threatened” or “endangered” or “special concern”. They say of the 55 species over the years introduced in one or more Great Lakes 25 species became established; and 26 species expired from the Lakes ( 4 of which are globally extinct and 3 were endemic to the Great Lakes). Conversely Hubbs and Lagler in 1981 stated: “234 species live or have lived within the drainage system of the GLB.” In Effects of Socio-Ecological Complexity in Dynamic of Harvested Fish Stocks by Integrative Biology Professor Tom Nudds, University of Guelph said” “there may be fewer fish in the world’s seas today, but Ontario’s Great Lakes fishery remains comparatively healthy/” Helping to conserve fish stocks and sustain commercial freshwater fisheries in Ontario is the purpose of the project at the University of Guelph funded a five year project at $250,000.00 by a national research group – Canadian Capture Fisheries Research Network The Guelph University team of researchers goals include: (1) to apply research strengths in the fish population dynamics, (2) research food web ecology, (c) and, to learn how government agencies and commercial fisheries might better manage fisheries in Canada. Tom Nudds emphasizes that “inland fisheries have largely avoided problems that have led to declining fish stocks, including the collapse of the Atlantic Cod Fishery. As more desirable larger ocean fish are exhausted, fisheries are seeking a smaller less valuable species, a phenomenon called “fishing down the food chain.” Within the concern of fisheries is the fact in Feb. 2,009 U.S.A. President Barack Obama earmarked $475 million for the Great Lake Restoration Initiative. This task force was to work closely with Canada to protect and restore the lakes.
Current concerns include the Fisheries and Oceans Canada warn the Northern Snakehead, native to Eastern Asia, cannot be allowed in Canadian Waters or it will destroy ecosystems and the fish that call it home. Of the 36 species, the Northern Snakehead are of a particular concern to Canada because it occurs naturally in colder water with its razor sharp teeth and how it bites its prey in half. As a woman found out while fishing in Welland Cannel in Lake Ontario in 2,010 it can live out of water for a few days, as it peruses prey (walks on land). there is evidence it has lived being frozen making it well-suited to Canadian waters. The Boston Globe highlighted overfishing of Bluefin tuna of the Atlantic by the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea threatening a complete collapse of the stock. Why ? Basically 80% of the catch of Atlantic Bluefin tuna goes to Japan for Sushi ! At a Japanese auction one Bluefish sold for #177.000 U.S.. Brain J. Rothschild, University of Idaho sated in How Bountiful Are Ocean Fisheries : “The world’s farmed fish industry no longer relies on salmon or trout – big reason 2X price for fish meal as of 2,006, and the result of lower catches in Peru associated with El Nino event. China’s growing economy allowed China to buy up one-sixth of the 6 plus million metric tons of fish meat available on the world market each year.” That fact changed everything said Ronald Hardy ,who directs the University of Idaho’s Acquaculture Research Institute, the spice/centre of U.S,. farmed rainbow trout production. The Underwater Ecosystems have been unbalanced by 54% decline of the big predators – tuna, cod, swordfish. But, small prey have doubled. In the American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science in Washington D.C. Christenson, an Ecosystem Modeller say “try more economical fish – sablefish, mackerel, sardines or albacore tuna. The problem with albacore tuna is the concern of high mercury content, and it is also high in selenium ! Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential to good health but required only in small amounts. Selenium is incorporated into proteins to make selenoproteins, which are important antioxidant enzymes. The antioxidant properties of selenoproteins help prevent cellular damage from free radicals. Free radicals are natural by-products of oxygen metabolism that may contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease . Other selenoproteins help regulate thyroid function and play a role in the immune system.
Source , University of Guelph, Univeristy of Idaho, Fisheries and Oceans Canada,
Doug Worrall Photography