This is the second in a series of ocean infographics by artist Don Foley. These infographics also appear in Oceana board member Ted Danson’s book, “Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them.”
With shark week fast approaching, how about a shark-related infographic to whet your appetite?
Today’s infographic illustrates how overfishing fundamentally alters ocean ecosystems, leading to fewer and smaller fish over time.
If overfishing isn’t stopped, the largest fish like sharks, tuna, cod, and salmon eventually run out and overfishing expands to previously untargeted, smaller species, some of which were considered undesirable. As a result, the world catch is now primarily made up of small fish like pollock rather than large predators like grouper, and this shift to smaller and smaller species over time is called “fishing down the food chain.”
Fig. A: Sharks and killer whales are apex predators that feed on large fish in the food chain.
Fig. B: Tuna and salmon are large fish that feed on schooling fish, squid and shellfish
Fig. C: Sardines, pollock and squid are small prey species that form large schools and feed on microscopic animals, plants and leftovers.
Fig. D: Zooplankton are microscopic animals that eat tiny plants.
Fig. E: Phytoplankton make sugar using solar energy, just like plants on land, and form the base of the food web.
- Creature Feature: Caribbean Spiny Lobster Posted Wed, July 30, 2014
- Massachusetts Takes a Step Forward For Sharks Posted Fri, July 25, 2014
- Ocean News: Brazil Bans Catfish Fishery to Protect Pink River Dolphins, Arctic Ice Melt Leading to Large Arctic Waves, and More Posted Thu, July 31, 2014
- Loggerhead Sea Turtles Gain Protection with Swordfish Drift Gillnet Fishery Restriction Posted Fri, July 25, 2014
- Video: Watch Dozens of Baby Loggerhead Sea Turtles Scurry to the Ocean Posted Thu, July 31, 2014