The concept of rewilding has been practiced for years around the world to reintroduce extinct or swindling species in their natural habitat. But reintroducing species into their underwater habitat has been a rare occurrence until now. Rewilding seas is not limited to species of fish and amphibians. Even rare plants and weeds, oysters, and clams are being tried out to replenish them in areas where they have vanished.
The idea of rewilding seas by returning large species to their natural habitat is a rarer phenomenon. Ideas include bringing the grey whales back into the Atlantic Ocean. The main stumbling block is few marine animals have been bred in captivity and can be reintroduced into the wild.
Rewilding Seas Not Possible For Many Ocean Species
Julie Levans of Virginia Aquarium says that there aren’t many species that can be bred successfully or propagated before they are released into the wild. It is just not possible for some aquatic species to be put into the list for rewilding seas.
For instance, great white and hammer-headed sharks can never be bred in captivity and used for rewilding the seas. An experiment to transport the rare vaquita porpoise into captivity in 2017 from the Gulf of California was given up when they panicked and one of them died.
In many cases, rewilding seas is not needed as sea species have an amazing capacity to return to their natural habitat from other parts of the oceans. But the habitat has to be left alone to regenerate itself, which is asking for too much under present conditions. Keeping fishing vessels out of certain areas helps in the replenishment of indigenous species of fish and plant life. But help is needed in particular cases.
An initiative to release tiger sharks into the seas will soon be attempted at West Papua in Indonesia. The Raja Ampat Islands will be the setting for the first-ever instance of rewilding the captive-bred species into the seas. Zebra sharks, also known locally as leopard sharks, have been endangered on account of overfishing for their fins.
This species of sharks breed in captivity well and lay eggs instead of young ones and so can be transported well to other areas. Many species of sharks and ray fish have recovered once fishing was prohibited in their natural habitats. The attempt to save the zebra sharks will be a brave attempt at rewilding seas. The eggs will be sent to hatcheries at Misool and the Raja Ampat Research and Conservation Center.
The greatest challenge at rewilding seas remains in the large-scale hunting that still goes on in the oceans with many countries refusing to join conservation efforts.