Ironically, in the case of marine animals the larger the species, the more threatened they are. Man has played a sad role in the accelerated extinction of marine species. Intensive fishing is one of the main causes and its effect is much more important than you could think. Not only a large number of marine animals are killed, but the entire ecosystem is altered due to the overfishing of certain species.
The disappearance of Land and Marine Animals
This alarming reality is not only true for marine animals. The same happens on land: animals are disappearing much faster than their natural extinction rate.
The causes of each one are different. The biggest cause for the disappearance of animals on land is the destruction of their natural habitats, especially in forests. In the sea, the primary reason is intensive fishing.
Either on land or in the sea, it is appropriate to talk about mass extinction. We will witness a new phenomenon, a significant change in land and sea ecosystems which consequences are still hard to foresee. We must stop thinking of animals as organisms existing independently in natural environments where all beings are closely interrelated.
What Are the Most Endangered Marine Species?
Below is a non-comprehensive list of various marine species currently endangered. The objective of this categorization is to raise awareness on the most endangered marine animals in order to, hopefully, help develop the adequate protection programs.
Much appreciated for its meat, the bluefin tuna is now at risk. Essentially, intensive fishing has put this species in danger. Measures have been taken and quotas have been established, but sadly the regulations in this area are rarely fulfilled.
The Blue Whale
It is the largest animal on Earth (it can weigh up to 170 tones), and it is also endangered. Two problems have converged to threaten this species: blue whale hunting -intensive for a long time before its prohibition (although it still is conducted)- and the destruction of its marine environment.
Hawksbill Sea Turtle
Highly sought after because of its shell, used as decoration, the Hawksbill Sea Turtle is one of the world’s most endangered species. Its trade has been prohibited but it has not been eradicated. This turtle does not have many predators aside from man.
Leatherback Sea Turtle
The largest species of turtle is also endangered. The biggest specimen ever recorded weighed almost one ton! It is one of the oldest species of sea turtles. Poaching and unregulated fishing are the main causes for its extinction, aside from the destruction of their natural habitats: pollution of the seabed and constructions located on the shores.
Currently, there are only about 60 Burmeister’s Porpoises, an alarming warning of imminent extinction if we fail to take action. This is a collateral victim of intensive fishing, as it is often captured accidentally in fishing nets.