What A Mess!

When we talk about conserving fish stocks what do we mean? I see conservation as allowing fish to maintain healthy viable populatoons so we can maintain long-term sustainable harvest. Overfishing is the enemy not fishing.  Often someone tries to convince the public that you have fisherman on one side and environmentalist on the other.  Thanks media! But in reality the priorities are not so different, or should not be.  Successful management of a fishery means jobs in the long run.

The days of mom and pop fisherman are long over and replaced by international conglomerates with business models for short term profits. Just like small farmers and small business owners. But then there is the media, bringing out Joe Shmo fisherman. He’s salty and a skipper and has 12 children to feed.

But skipper Mariano Lopez, gazing at this mound of exuberance on his trawler’s deck, is disappointed. Like many patches of the Mediterranean, this overworked fishing ground is not yielding the bounty it once did. “There should be twice as much,” Lopez says, shaking his head…

Everytime someone steps in to prevent overfishing , this time it’s the EU, somebody complains about destroying ‘tradition’ and ‘livelihood’. What part of no more fish equals no more jobs is difficult to grasp?

The money quote from the article is this…

In the 1980s, Canadian fishermen scoffed at scientific warnings that stocks were diminishing even though they could see for themselves that the fish were getting smaller–a key indicator of overfishing. “All of a sudden they had to say: ‘Oh no, there are none left,'” said Vallette.

Dr. M (1729 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, a National Science Foundation supported initiative. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web. His forthcoming book, Science of the South (http://www.scienceofthesouth.com/), connects cultural icons of South such as pecan pie with the science behind them.

5 comments on “What A Mess!
  1. Perhaps they should be sent a copy of The Lorax?

    I think the key is to include the fishermen in the process. Ask them if they have noticed changes in the fish at certain locations. Include there knowledge and make them feel part of the solution rather than just forcing some answer on them. Most people, if put in such a position will be pissed.

  2. I’ve read a little about fisheries management here in New England, and it’s the same story. The fishermen claim that scientists don’t know what they’re talking about, there’s plenty of fish out there, etc. At the same time, they notice decreased catches and smaller fish. Somehow this is the government’s fault, rather than a result of overfishing.

  3. Isn’t the overfishing supposed to be taken care of by fishing laws-like size, weight, number, and even when certain species can be caught? It is probably another one of those laws that is on the books, but not enforced! If a certain area is overfished by mom/pop, or a business, shouldn’t someone close the area, post no fishing? Oh, then that would mean it would have to be monitored or enforced! What am I thinking? By the way, Happy Valentine’s Day

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