One of the biggest changes to our coastal landscape has been the significant loss of marine habitat to shoreline alteration. Historic maps of the region clearly show that thousands of acres of marshes and submerged lands have been lost (Health of the Harbor, pg 10). The end result, as reported in a recent issue of Science Magazine, is greatly reduced fisheries abundance and species diversity. In order to allow these species to recover, we must begin the costly process of restoring the miles of bulkheaded, filled and hardened shorelines to their natural state...JB
By Jennifer Smith
November 2, 2006
From the crash of the Great South Bay's once-abundant hard clam population to the near disappearance of eelgrass from the bottom of Long Island Sound, Long Island's coastal waters are no strangers to species loss.
This week a study in the journal Science took a larger look at how the loss of aquatic biodiversity -- the total number of fish and plant species in a habitat -- affects the ecosystems that nourish marine species.
In coastal areas, the study linked the regional loss of biodiversity with a decline of viable fisheries and impaired "nursery" habitats such as wetlands and seagrass beds, which shelter young fish.
Additional Coverage in Newsday - "Stability of marine life in severe danger"
Op-Ed in NY Times - "The fishing industry lobbies Congress for the right to overfish. "
Image A - Crab Meadow, LI
Image B - RPA Map of Wetland Losses