Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tuna and others are on the way out

This BBC story on the commercial extinction of bluefin tuna tells us that:
It is difficult from the outside to comprehend the mentality that would exploit a fishery to collapse in the face of warning after warning. Even from a commercial point of view, it appears to make no sense.

Iccat (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna) scientists believe that if catches were halved now, the stock would rebound, allowing fleets to catch almost as much as they have ever done, and do so sustainably, ensuring an income for the foreseeable future.

According to Sebastian Losada, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace in Madrid, there is a simple problem; the industry needs profits today, not tomorrow.

"The root of the problem is that we have too much capacity in the region," he says.
It sounds all to familiar: an international fishery organization working hand-in-hand with governments and companies who just don't know when to say when.

Further down in the story is this nugget:
Total extinction for a fish species is relatively uncommon, given their mobility. But once numbers have fallen, ecological factors can take over that mean the stock is highly unlikely ever to rebuild.

It appears to have happened on the Grand Banks near Newfoundland, where cod fishing was banned in 1992.

There are still cod there; but their numbers do not appear to be increasing. Boris Worm from Dalhousie University in nearby Nova Scotia believes the ecosystem has moved into a new, probably stable, state.
And before we leave the topic, it's worthwhile checking out this story on a major scientific study which says there will be virtually nothing left to fish from the seas by the middle of the century if current trends continue.

As painful as it might be, I think it's time to start looking at the post-fish future of province.

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