...until we come along and start catching them.
New insights from an uninhabited and pristine island in the Pacific Ocean show predatory fish are the mega-capitalists of the oceanic economy. Around Kingman Reef, the top predators like sharks manage to consume almost everything else. Around nearby islands, fishing has removed the big predatory fish and the ocean is dominated by small plankton-eating fish.
Predatory fish are not a nuisance in the ocean, they're necessary. Without predatory fish, our oceanic economy breaks down in surprising ways. Corals become more vulnerable to death by rising temperatures and previous studies have shown that overfishing that removes large predatory fish and can lead to nutrient accumulation and the resulting low oxygen dead zones, and related water quality problems.
This new insight may increase political support for protecting large predatory fish, or at least earn some new tax breaks for sharks.