Oysters on the Brink of Extinction
Extinction is in the future for oysters from around the world. Once an industry to rely on economically, 85% of oyster reefs are now in trouble. Scientists found two reasons for this decline. One is the fact that the oyster population is being diminished by diseases. Introducing non-native species into areas have caused these diseases and their eventual demise. The other factor is the over harvesting of the product. Oysters have always been a gourmet food, bringing in high wages for the fishermen.
Researchers have studied oyster reefs in 144 bays and 44 eco-regions to determine this information. Dr. Michael W. Beck and a team from the University of California at Santa Cruz shared their findings after they looked at and compared the current population of these oyster reefs with records and documents of oyster catches. These researchers suggested that 75% or more of the enduring oysters live in five regions of North America, although these populations, too, are so low that it is very difficult for them to reproduce. It won’t be too long before these oysters will become lost, as well. The oyster population in the Gulf of Mexico seems to hold a little more promise.
Dr. Beck and his team have suggested conservation ideas in their report to slow down and hopefully stop this extinction process. One idea is to make it illegal to harvest oysters if the population is less than 10% of its earlier estimates. All fisheries would have to abide by this law unless they could prove that they fish for oysters in a sustainable way.
Besides being a popular food in households across the world, oysters have a very important job of filtering the water around them, keeping the area free of pollution. We can hardly afford to let these delicacies and natural environmentalists become extinct.