Wednesday, August 10, 2016

10/08/2016: Fish levels in Africa’s Lake Tanganyika are reducing, is global warming to blame?

Lake Tanganyika is one of the world’s largest and deepest lakes, a new study has found that global warming has reduced fish numbers it contains. A troublesome occurrence as the lake is critical in supplying sustenance to the people living in the surrounding region.  
Image: Dave Proffer
Published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a recent study has found that the lake began warming in the 1800s, it was around this time that the lake’s fish numbers began to decrease. Then in the 1950s large scale commercial fishing on the lake began.

In a news release, Andrew S. Cohen, a distinguished professor of geosciences at the University of Arizona (UA) had the following to say “Some people say the problem for the Lake Tanganyika fishery is 'too many fishing boats,' but our work shows the decline in fish has been going on since the 19th century”.

According to the Lake Tanganyika Authority (LTA) around 1,500 species live in the lake, which holds nearly 17 percent of the planet's available surface freshwater supply. The lake is crucial in terms of supplying sustenance to people living in the region.

Overfishing was also acknowledged as being a factor in less fish being caught, UA said, but this needed to be considered alongside the issue of algae – which is a food source for fish in the lake – reducing as temperatures warm.

"We're showing the rising temperatures and declines in fish food are resulting in a decrease in fish production–less fish for someone to eat. It's a food security finding," Professor Cohen said.

"We know this warming is going on in other lakes," he said. "It has important implications for food and for ecosystems changing rapidly. We think that Lake Tanganyika is a bellwether for this process."

Read more HERE.

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