‘Landmark New Research’ Links Neonics With Collapse of Fisheries

Posted by on November 3, 2019 in Environment, Environmental Hazards with 0 Comments

By Andrea Germanos | Common Dreams

A new study out this week provides more evidence of harm caused by a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, with researchers linking the use of the chemicals on a Japanese lake with impacts to an entire food web that resulted in the collapse of two fisheries.

“No surprise,” tweeted former UK Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, “soaking our planet in pesticides has broad systemic effects on biodiversity and abundance.”

For the study, published in the November 1 issue of the journal Science, the researchers looked at Lake Shinji and analyzed over two decades of data. They found cascading impacts that appeared to stem from the first use of neonicotinoids on nearby rice paddies.

“Since the application of neonicotinoids to agricultural fields began in the 1990s, zooplankton biomass has plummeted in a Japanese lake surrounded by these fields,” the researchers wrote. “This decline has led to shifts in food web structure and collapse of two commercially harvested freshwater fish species.”

“Using data on zooplankton, water quality, and annual fishery yields of eel and smelt,” the paper says, “we show that neonicotinoid application to watersheds since 1993 coincided with an 83% decrease in average zooplankton biomass in spring, causing the smelt harvest to collapse from 240 to 22 tons in Lake Shinji, Shimane Prefecture, Japan.”

As for the strength of the link between the pesticides and the collapse, Phys.org added:

The researchers note that they also studied other factors that might have led to fishery collapse, such as nutrient depletion or changes in oxygen or salt concentrations. They report that they were not able to find any evidence showing that there might have been something other than pesticides killing the food fish ate leaving them to starve. They conclude that the evidence strongly suggests it was the introduction of neonicotinoid pesticides into the lake environment that led to the die-offs.

The Guardian, in its reporting on the study, noted that the researchers pointed to the haunting warning from Rachelel Carson’s seminal work, Silent Spring:

In their report, the Japanese researchers said: “She wrote: ‘These sprays, dusts and aerosols are now applied almost universally to farms, gardens, forests and homes—nonselective chemicals that have the power to kill every insect, the ‘good’ and the ‘bad,’ to still the song of birds and the leaping of fish in the streams.’ The ecological and economic impact of neonicotinoids on the inland waters of Japan confirms Carson’s prophecy.”

Similar impacts, the researchers added, are likely felt in other locations.

“Just awful, what gruesome harm we are inflicting on the environment,”  Matt Shardlow, CEO of the invertebrate conservation group Buglife, wrote on Twitter in response to the new study.

According to Nathan Donley, senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity and who was not involved in the study, the findings should spur action by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“This study highlights cascading harms to aquatic life from neonicotinoids that our EPA has known about but shrugged off,” said Donley. “The evidence is now overwhelming that these pesticides are turning our rivers, lakes, and streams into inhospitable environments for fish, frogs, and other aquatic life.”

“This landmark new research should make it impossible for even the Trump administration to ignore the immense damage caused by these dangerous chemicals,” Donley added.

Neonicotinoids, or neonics as they’re often called, have also been linked to harm to bees, other insectsbirds, and other animals.

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share it widely.

Read more great articles at Common Dreams.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

New Title

NOTE: Email is optional. Do NOT enter it if you do NOT want it displayed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the articles on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use'...you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.
Top

Send this to a friend