Posted by: Dan | June 1, 2009

Lack of Emphasis on Species Overexploitation

Millenium Ecosystem Assessment synthesis:

The most important direct drivers of biodiversity loss and ecosystem service changes are habitat change (such as land use changes, physical modification of rivers or water withdrawal from rivers, loss of coral reefs, and damage to sea floors due to trawling), climate change, invasive alien species, overexploitation, and pollution.

Blackcaps on a limestick. Photo copyright RSPB

Blackcaps on a limestick. Photo copyright RSPB

Of those factors causing loss of biodiversity in regions across the globe, habitat loss, climate change, and invasive species are all getting a lot of attention from governmental and non-governmental conservation organizations. The impacts of pollution have also been addressed in campaigns dating back to the 1960s and 1970s.

Overexploitation of species, especially by non-selective means that result in large by-catch of a wide range of species, are a very direct means of human degradation of biodiversity that gets little attention from even conservation organizations (the exception is for marine overfishing). It’s very difficult to find information resources with good data on the biodiversity impacts of, say, bird trapping along migratory routes in the Mediterranean basin.

We do know though that some 100 migrant passerine bird species are caught on limesticks and in mist nets and killed each year, including 58 priority species for Europe such as owls, masked shrikes and birds of prey caught in nets and limesticks. But still it feels as though there is little attention being given by the major conservation organizations, and little study of its impacts by conservation biologists.



  1. It’s a pity to loose our biodiversity and the richness of the Planet. People forget the problem too often!
    I have also read the article and seen the picture with the dish served in Cyprus(don’t remember the name…)! The pic is awful!!

    Hope the people’s awarness will grow a little!


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