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Coexisting with Nature
 
“I know that the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.” 


This major environmental statement was made by George W. Bush in Michigan on September the 29th 2000, a bit before the presidential election.  I do not know what effect this declaration had on the outcome of the following very close election, but I totally agree with the soon to be president’s sentiments. 

Humans have treated fish abominably, just as we have treated the rest of nature in a totally unconscionable way.  We should seriously look at our past mistakes with a view to avoiding them in the future.

Stupidity

We have polluted our rivers and lakes. 

For example, in Taiwan the native populations of Paradise Fish have been reduced to low levels by pollution in the rivers, and now it is listed in Taiwan as a threatened species.  The Aedes Mosquito (Aedes aegypti) is breeding in the absence of one of its main predators, and Dengue Fever is threatening the Human population.

In Venezuela, the Endlers Livebearer is either extinct in the wild or is very close to it because of a rubbish dump close to its habitat.  No doubt the mosquitoes are increasing in that area as well.

In Australia, the lake Eacham Rainbow Fish was totally wiped out in Lake Eacham and declared extinct by the introduction of predatory fish done with the approval of the local government of the area.

Mosquito Fish have been introduced to some areas of every continent except Antarctica in the mistaken belief that they are a good fish for eating mosquito larvae.  In many cases they displaced native fish that were better at controlling mosquitoes.

There have been many other fish made extinct or seriously threatened by human activities and our rapidly expanding population.

Many of the worst introductions were done by, or with the approval of government. Ecosystems all round the world have been disrupted by humans to the detriment of the native animals, including the fish.

It is time we learned to coexist with fish as the president suggested.
 
Walking the Walk
 
Politicians make promises in elections.  I regard it as important for them to keep these promises after being elected.  So, did President Bush do anything to improve the co-existence between Human Beings and Fish?  Yes he certainly did:
 
President  Bush signs a proclamation to create the
 
 
This monument was renamed the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. It was later extended by President Obama.
 
 
 
 
 








 

 
  

 

 
 
 
Above is a map showing Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, and below is a beautiful picture by James Watt of Hawaiian Squirrelfish at French Frigate Shoals, in this monument.
By U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - Pacific Region's [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons