Wildlife & Biodiversity

Fish stocks in Asia-Pacific to be over by 2048

Economic growth is leading to the decline of biodiversity, says a report released in Colombia

By Meenakshi Sushma
Published: Monday 26 March 2018

By 2050, the Asia-Pacific region may not have any fishes left. Credit: Bernard Spragg. NZ/FlickrBy 2048, the Asia-Pacific region may not have any fish stocks left. The region risks losing 45 per cent of its biodiversity and 90 per cent of coral reef, says a report released at the sixth plenary session of Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in Medellin, Colombia.

This is the situation when biodiversity and ecosystem services contributed 7.6 per cent to average annual economic growth between 1990 and 2010. “Enormous economic growth has taken place over the years and this has led to a decline in biodiversity,” says Sonali Senartana Sellamattu, co-chair for Asia-Pacific at the event.

This growth is a threat to all major ecosystems, particularly forest, alpine, wetlands and coral reefs. Also, the number of wild animals and mammals has registered a steep dip.

There has also been a reduction in crop genetic resources as a result of dwindling cultivation of native crops. “Another reason for habitat degradation is abundant growth of alien species,” says Sellamattu.

There’s a flip side to this: forest cover has increased in certain sub-regions; marine protected areas in the region increased by almost 14 per cent over the past 25 years and terrestrial protected areas increased by 0.3 per cent. Forest cover increased by 2.5 per cent, with the highest increase in North-East Asia (22.9 per cent), and protected areas increased by 5.8 per cent in South Asia, which is in line with the Aichi targets on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “But this is not enough to conserve biodiversity,” says Sellamattu.

Suggested solutions

Around 750 world experts and policy makers attended this event to discuss and analyse the situation. These are few of the solutions they came up with:

  • Involve local communities in biodiversity conservation
  • Integrate biodiversity conservation into key development sectors
  • Enhance private sector partnership to leverage finance on biodiversity conservation

·         Promote regional collaboration on both sea and land between borders to meet the needs

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