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Sturgeon Fishing Ban in the Works; Tuna Catch Restrictions Under Consideration
Terra Daily ^ | 03/28/2008 | Staff Writers

Posted on 03/28/2008 12:34:40 PM PDT by cogitator

Russia calls for sturgeon fishing ban in Caspian

Russia on Thursday proposed that Caspian Sea states impose a five-year ban on fishing for sturgeon, prized for its caviar eggs, to save stocks from collapse, a spokesman for the fisheries agency said.

"We are ready to announce a moratorium," said spokesman Alexander Savelyev, adding that Russia would formally propose the ban to the other four Caspian Sea states of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan soon.

"This is because the sturgeon is about to disappear," said Savelyev, adding that Russia was not able to fish its annual quota of 50 tonnes of sturgeon last year because overfishing and poaching had depleted stocks.

The fisheries agency also put forward a draft law on Thursday for the creation of a state monopoly on sturgeon fishing and caviar sales in an effort to stop poaching -- a business worth one billion dollars (634 million euros) a year, Savelyev said.

Poaching is "a ruthless, pitiless business motivated only by profit," he continued. The draft law, which also proposes tax breaks for private sturgeon farms, is set to be examined by parliament in the next few days.

Almost all the world's sturgeon, one of the oldest species of fish, live in the Caspian Sea. Their eggs have been prized as a delicacy for centuries and environmentalists say the fish are heading for extinction.

The international environmental watchdog WWF warned earlier this year that the population of Caspian Sea sturgeon, including the osetra, servruga and beluga species, had fallen by as much as 70 percent in the past few decades.

Almost 12 tonnes of illegal caviar were sold in Europe between 2000 and 2005, according to official data from the European Union. Experts believe that is only a fraction of the caviar poached from the Caspian.

Russian police have stepped up raids on illegal caviar in recent years. In one of the latest incidents, nearly two tonnes of black caviar were confiscated from stores in the Moscow region in August last year.

Russia has also launched a sturgeon breeding programme but says its efforts are being undermined by fishing in other parts of the Caspian Sea and has therefore said any action needs to be taken jointly by Caspian Sea states.

Local scientists at the one of the sturgeon breeding centres in the region of Astrakhan in southern Russia also blame the boom in offshore oil and gas development in the Caspian Sea for depletion of stocks.

"We can keep the population at the same low level but we cannot revive the glory of the Caspian since human activity has a very large impact," Alexander Kitanov, a local scientist, said.

"The sturgeon could disappear from the Caspian Sea just like it has disappeared everywhere else. If it falls out of the food chain, its place will be taken up by other species and it will never be able to return."

[What makes me chuckle is if you go to the article on Terra Daily, they have a topically linked Google Search for advertisements. All of the ads are for caviar on this article.]


Consensus reached to fight tuna overfishing: Japan

Tuna eating and catching nations agreed Thursday to review rules to fight chronic overfishing, paving the way for stricter catch quotas later this year, Japanese officials said.

Officials, scientists and fisheries industry people from 13 nations held two days of talks in Tokyo amid concern that the growing popularity for Japanese food around the world is endangering tuna populations.

"There was opposition to the idea that the rules might be tightened, particularly from fisheries operators in the Mediterranean, who said the regulations are pretty tight as they are," said a Japanese official who attended the closed-door talks.

"But in the end, everyone knew that to conserve the fish we can't continue fishing like we're doing now," he said.

A 2006 deal agreed to cut the annual catch of bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic Ocean by one-fifth to 25,500 tonnes by 2010.

A report issued in France last year said that France, Italy, Japan and Spain were the biggest violators of international quotas for bluefin tuna.

Fishing operators also have violated rules not to go tuna fishing during the breeding season and to avoid catching small fish.

Experts have repeatedly warned that that tuna will eventually become extinct at current fishing rates. The United States has in the past suggested a complete temporary ban on tuna fishing to ensure the fish survives.

"Japan's position is that we do not want to encourage overfishing and we would accept stricter fishing quotas based on scientific evidence," the official said.

The Tokyo meeting informally brought together members of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.

The commission is preparing to issue the latest data on tuna population and catch in June, in a report that is likely to suggest urgent need for controlling tuna fishing, the Japanese official said.

Some participants at the meeting warned that the commission's authority to control tuna fishing might be taken away by other conservation bodies if the quotas go ignored and tuna populations continue to shrink.

"It is difficult to speculate how strict the reviewed quota will be. But it is hard to imagine the new data indicating optimistic prospects for the tuna population," the official said.

The commission will hold a meeting in the latter half of the year based on the report to be issued in June, aiming to put forward a plan to increase tuna populations, the official said.

Japan is by far the biggest consumer of tuna, served raw in sashimi slices or with rice in sushi rolls.

But demand has been rising around the world as a growing number of people eat Japanese food, which is perceived as healthy. [despite the mercury]

Foreign fisheries operators say Japanese and other buyers are asking for a growing amount of tuna. Japanese businesses maintain they only buy fish that are legally caught.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: consumption; overfishing; sturgeon; tuna
OK, before I hear it from someone else, "Tragedy of the Commons". And if you ask about tuna farms, they may be part of the problem, because the boats are catching fish and taking them to fattening pens, limiting their ability to spawn in the wild.

Caviar is so lucrative that sturgeon farms may be the way to go here, while letting the wild stocks recover. There's a Florida company with sturgeon, and the Russians are actively hatching and releasing fingerlings. But the poaching pressure is intense -- imagine why.

1 posted on 03/28/2008 12:34:41 PM PDT by cogitator
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To: cogitator

Things must be getting pretty bad for Russia to consider bans.

2 posted on 03/28/2008 12:53:08 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Voting CONSERVATIVE in memory of 5 children killed by illegals 2/17/08 and 2/19/ 08)
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To: cripplecreek

California has banned ALL salmon fishing this year. Things seem to be bad with fish everywhere. In CA, they think it’s because water is being sucked out of the Delta to be sent to SoCal.

3 posted on 03/28/2008 12:57:59 PM PDT by livius
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To: cogitator

The commercial fishing industry doesn’t really fish. They heard and net.

They should call it “netting.”

I don’t support them because the governments of the world, especially the U.S, will enact very restrictive laws against actual offshore fisherman due to overfishing by netters, who usually make their catches indiscriminately.

4 posted on 03/28/2008 1:11:21 PM PDT by subterfuge (Obama will NOT get the nomination.)
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To: subterfuge

Make that, they “herd” and net.

5 posted on 03/28/2008 1:11:50 PM PDT by subterfuge (Obama will NOT get the nomination.)
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To: subterfuge

Please educate yourself on the subject before spreading misinformation.

Tuna are commercially caught in a number of ways, including the old fashioned hook and line method. In fact the most valuable (per pound) tuna are all caught by hook.

I have been “an actual offshore fisherman” as you termed SPORTSFISHERMEN, and I’ve been a commercial fisherman. I noticed a difference in the ethics of the two groups, and that difference was that the men who did it for a living (including charter boat sportfisherman) tended to have a longer term/bigger picture view due to the fact that their livelihood depended on healthy fish stocks.

The sportsfisherman who did not fish for a living seemed to do as they pleased and blamed overfishing on the evil commercial guys.

Just my observations.

P.S. I went a lot further “offshore” commercial fishing that I did as an “actual offshore fisherman”

6 posted on 03/28/2008 1:34:20 PM PDT by ExpatGator (Extending logic since 1961.)
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To: ExpatGator

Gee, I remember seeing some films of commercial tuna fisherman what they called fishing the racks, these were catwalks on either side of the outside of the stearn , they had two or three men to each line which was attached to the end of their two or three poles, with only a short section of heavy leader and a barbless feather jig. they would flip it out into a school and the two or three of them would haul in unison and jerk the tuna overhead right into the hold where it would fall off and then they’d flip the jig back out, this would go on as fast as they could while the school was up. Some times the rack was waist deep in the seas.

Will see if I can find a video.

7 posted on 03/28/2008 1:48:14 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: ExpatGator

I’m out off of Port Canaveral pretty much every weekend and there are very few “actual fisherman” breaking the rules. I know this because I’m at the dock, watching the Florida Game and wildlife commission officers go through our boats. Those guys leave no stone unturned, and if you’ve got any undersized, illegal species or too many, they’ll take your boat, your truck and you go to jail. You just don’t mess with those guys and there are very few places to go to hide from them

There are fewer and fewer boat ramps to access the ocean every year and that is by design too. The thing is, commercial fishing is a huge business that has lots of lobbbyists out there protecting the commercial guys. Me, I’m regulated to death.

Right now, all the structure offshore in FL is being picked clean. By whom? Goliath Groupers, that’s who. The government put extremely tough restrictions on them and you can’t even pick them up out of the water for a photo, legally. The restrictions have worked so well, the Goliaths, which were called jewfish before the PC world took hold as you probably know, are so big and so plentiful they decimate the wrecks, reefs and hard bottom of gamefish. To them eating a 30 pound amberjack is a snack.

But they’ll never relax the restrictions on the jewfish.

So what can I do? I don’t order the Grouper sandwich.

8 posted on 03/28/2008 1:53:41 PM PDT by subterfuge (Obama will NOT get the nomination.)
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To: ExpatGator

Will see if I can find a video.

Here we go! Enjoy!

9 posted on 03/28/2008 1:59:57 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: subterfuge

I’ve caught quite a few jewfish, all on Penn high-speed 4/0’s and 8’ grouper rods, except for one that was on a Penn Long Beach 67 while trying to catch redeyes for bait. That was at the Sinkhole back in ‘79 while fishing for “Mangos” during the full moon. I do not doubt that the now numerous jewfish are making a dent in the population, however I think that the GPS and affordability of small ocean going fishing boats is making a bigger dent. Anyway, I remember when there were jewfish in decent numbers on every piece of decent structure and there were lots of other fish as well at those spots. I started fishing when the A-Loran system was still transmitting. The fishing pressure was a LOT lighter, but those days are gone. Probably the biggest dent in the fish population is made by sewage release and grassbed destruction, because almost all of those offshore reef dwelling fish spend their juvenile lives in the estuaries. Their nurseries have been destroyed to a large degree.

If you think that commercial fishing is less regulated than sportfishing then you are blissfully uninformed. I quit the industry due to the INCREDIBLE amount of regulation and paperwork required to participate in the fisheries. Write the NMFS for their handbook on Atlantic reef fisheries and compare it to the little pamphlet on the bait shop counter. No comparison.

10 posted on 03/28/2008 5:55:13 PM PDT by ExpatGator (Extending logic since 1961.)
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To: tet68

Awesome!!! Thanks for digging that up.

I remember seeing that as a kid. It stuck in my mind and probably had a lot to do with me jumping at the chance to work on commercial boats, although we mainly fished grouper and snapper.

11 posted on 03/28/2008 6:10:35 PM PDT by ExpatGator (Extending logic since 1961.)
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To: ExpatGator

Got it.


12 posted on 03/31/2008 7:47:39 AM PDT by subterfuge (Obama will NOT get the nomination.)
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