Recent studies, reported in The Conversation, recorded increases in some whale species, including blue and humpback in Antarctic waters and the western Arctic bowhead, fin and minke in the Arctic.
One study indicats that a new generation of blue whales, decimated by large-scale slaughter in the early 20th century, have ‘rediscovered’ the rich supplies of krill around South Georgia.
This is indeed good new.
However (there is always a ‘however’ these days….),
pressure on the populations of the whale’s most important food supplies, Antarctic krill in the South and copepods in the North, is mounting:
- climate change is reducing sea ice volume and duration of coverage, changing the ecosystem of polar oceans
- increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are partially absorbed by the oceans and are reducing the pH of the water, making it less alkaline, a serious challenge for many organisms at the base (or near the base) of the food chain, including krill
- climate-change related temperature fluctuations appear to adversely affect the abundance, recruitment success and population structure of Antarctic krill
- Antarctik krill is subjected to heavy ‘harvesting’ by various nations since the 1970s and with the recent trend in advertising Antarctik krill as a superior source of essential nutrients by the health-food movement, the krill industry has improved fishing and processing methods and is increaseing throughput.
I blogged about this before – nearly a year ago…LINK
Everything we do has consequences. They may be big or small, near and visible or remote and out of sight.
Before we do something, we can consider its consequences for nature and ecosystems near or far, for people near of far, for generations to come – in short its sustainability. If we start making a habit of that, we can, collectively, get somewhere with a more sustainable way of living…
Featured Image: “Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus)” by Gregory ‘Slobirdr’ Smith is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0