Architects of the Sea Near Extinction

Today, I wanted to share the article below about Red Groupers and what amazing architects they are . But, as I was searching the net for pictures of this fish, the majority I found were of dead ones, caught, hanging next to their predators....humans. I looked into it a bit further and found another article that goes on to explain how 20 of the world's 162 grouper species are threatened by extinction.

Article from Peta's Animal Times, Spring 2010:

Red groupers excavate and maintain crevices by laboriously removing sand from the ocean floor to expose rock needed for the propagation of the coral and sponges that they use for shelter. The excavation sites, which can measure up to 16 feet long, attract prey species as well as species who are beneficial to the groupers in other ways, such as shrimp, who pick parasites off them. "So it is no surprise that (groupers) are remarkably sedentary," said Felicia Coleman, head of the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory. "Why move if you are clever enough to make everything you need come to you?"

Article from sciencedaily.com:

ScienceDaily (Mar. 22, 2007) — The first comprehensive assessment of the world’s 162 species of grouper, a culinary favorite and important commercial fish, found that 20 are threatened with extinction unless proper management or conservation measures are introduced. Eight species previously were listed by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as under extinction threat, and the new assessment proposes adding 12 more. A panel of 20 experts from 10 nations determined the extinction threat facing groupers, which are the basis of the multimillion-dollar live reef food fish trade based in Hong Kong and comprise one of the most valuable groups of commercial fishes in chilled fish markets of the tropics and sub-tropics. Around the world, consumers pay up to $50 per kilogram for grouper.

“This shows that over-fishing could decimate another major food and economic resource for humans, similar to the loss of the cod stocks off New England and Canada that has put thousands of people out of work,” said Roger McManus, a senior director of Conservation International’s Marine Program.

“The results are worrying and highlight the urgent need for fishery management, more effective marine protected areas (MPAs), and more sustainable eating habits for consumers of these fishes,” said Sadovy, who organized the workshop.

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