Thursday, 06 November 2008 08:00pm
A natural history special: The rapid decline of reef fish stocks in Asia; the secret life of Australia’s ladybeetles; and some surprising facts about seahorses.
From Bait to Plate
Fisheries scientists warn that if fishing around the world continues at its current pace, more and more species will vanish. Only two years ago, a paper published in the journal Science predicted we are heading towards global collapse, with the world’s fisheries empty by 2048. But the world’s epicentre of reef diversity is already at risk. The area, known as the Coral Triangle, encompasses East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and the Solomon Islands, and harbours over 3,000 species of reef fish. In just the last twenty years, the voracious demand for live reef fish in Hong Kong and southern China has decimated these reef ecosystems. In Malaysian Borneo, abundance of the large iconic Humphead Wrasse has declined by 98% in just eight years. Mark Horstman travels to this incredible part of the world to investigate the live fish trade, from bait to plate, and looks at an emerging solution – rearing reef fish in farms from eggs to adults.
Ladybeetles, also known as ladybirds or ladybugs, have always been surrounded by folklore and myth. But what do we really know about them? A stunning new website and book, put together by artists and scientists at the Australian National Insect Collection, shows us there’s more to ladybeetles than nursery rhymes and spots. We delve into the secret life of the ladybeetle and find out what is happening in your backyard.
One of the most beautiful and bizarre creatures under the sea must surely be the seahorse. They have long fascinated humans – which has done them no favours. More than 25 million dead and live seahorses are traded annually and seahorse habitats are the most threatened in the world. Here in Australia we just don’t have enough data to know what kind of state our seahorse populations are in, or how to protect them. Our surfing scientist meets marine biologist Dave Harasti who fills in the gaps – and we make some surprising discoveries on the way.
Catalyst will be repeated on ABC2 – Friday, November 07 at 5:35pm