Jack Mackerel’s are the fish food for our fish food. The well-being of their species is not something most of us are often inclined to think about. After all, they are just fishes are they not? Compared to climate change which has already presented itself time and time again as a serious issue – the problem of overfishing seems to be a wholly different subject, right?
No, not even close. Like dominos, the fall of one would lead to a chain reaction that would ultimately affect everything. As we all know, the food chain is a set system, the absence of even one species could theoretically cause immense damage to the species in the upper echelons. Earth has warmed up to about 2° C which means that water temperature has also risen causing different species of fish to migrate to new waters. However there are also schools of fish that are living in closed waters and unfortunately they will eventually die off from their inability to adapt to the change in temperature.
Although every animal in the world is capable of adaptation, constant stress to any species will mean a need for greater changes in order to survive. The figure below (taken from a marine-ecological case study done by UBC) effectively shows what needs to be changed relative to the duration of stress.
This figure shows that when there’s only a short duration of stress, fishes are able to adapt either through physical canges or migration patterns. However when there is long term stress, drastic changes will need to occur for the species to survive. Interestingly enough, it also shows what steps humans can take depending on the duration of stress. The short term responses include, intensification, diversification and “riding out the storm”(A very typical human response, in my opinion). While long term responses include political reform and restructuring.
The Jack Mackerels have been subjected to constant stress ever since the early 90s and they are only the first of many. Climate change is already a serious threat to their existence and overfishing of the Jack Mackerel will only propel the species faster towards extinction. If that ever happens, others will surely follow. As I mentioned before, the domino effect takes hold in the world of predator and prey. However, when there is no prey left for predator to hunt, then surely that species would slowly begin to die out as well. This vicious cycle could cause immense damage to environment and bring devastation to humanity, especially when we often considers ourselves to be at the top of the food chain.
With global warming looming over our shoulders and news of environmental changes happening all over the world, perhaps it is time to choose options from the long term solutions rather than short term. “Riding out the storm” is generally synonymous with “I’ll just wait and see” and personally, I think that attitude has long been outdated. However, should we continue down that lazy and ignorant path of environmental destruction than one day we may not have a home to return to, nor food to eat. Humanity’s survival depends solely on the health of this planet and only true dedication can bring about positive change to environmental degradation. Simply put – the right attitude is all you really need.