Skip to comments.Complete collapse of North Atlantic fishing predicted
Posted on 02/18/2002 2:59:11 AM PST by semper_libertas
Complete collapse of North Atlantic fishing predicted
The entire North Atlantic is being so severely overfished that it may completely collapse by 2010, reveals the first comprehensive survey of the entire ocean's fishery.
"We'll all be eating jellyfish sandwiches," says Reg Watson, a fisheries scientist at the University of British Columbia. Putting new ocean-wide management plans into place is the only way to reverse the trend, Watson and his colleagues say.
North Atlantic catches have fallen by half since 1950, despite a tripling of the effort put into catching them. The total number of fish in the ocean has fallen even further, they say, with just one sixth as many high-quality "table fish" like cod and tuna as there were in 1900. Fish prices have risen six fold in real terms in 50 years.
The shortage of table fish has forced a switch to other species. "The jellyfish sandwich is not a metaphor - jellyfish is being exported from the US," says Daniel Pauly, also at the University of British Columbia. "In the Gulf of Maine people were catching cod a few decades ago. Now they're catching sea cucumber. By earlier standards, these things are repulsive," he says.
The only hope for the fishery is to drastically limit fishing, for instance by declaring large portions of the ocean off-limits and at the same time reducing the number of fishing ships. Piecemeal efforts to protect certain fisheries have only caused the fishing fleet to overfish somewhere else, such as west Africa.
"It's like shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic," says Andrew Rosenberg, at the University of New Hampshire. He says the number of boats must be reduced: "Less is actually more with fisheries. If you fish less you get more fish."
Normally, falling catches would drive some fishers out of business. But government subsidies actually encourage overfishing, Watson says, with subsidies totalling about $2.5 billion a year in the North Atlantic.
However, Rosenberg was sceptical that any international fishing agreements currently on the table will turn the tide in a short enough timescale. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization and the OECD have initiatives but these are voluntary, he says. A UN-backed monitoring and enforcement plan of action is being discussed but could take 10 years to come into force.
Pauly says only a public reaction like that against whaling in the 1970s would be enough to bring about sufficient change in the way the fish stocks are managed.
The new survey was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science's 2002 annual meeting in Boston.
|10:30 18 February 02|
I see no debate here, merely assertions and demands for policy.
"Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges."
The more corrupt the state is, the more numerous are the laws.
-- Tacitus , Annales
Story Filed: Tuesday, February 05, 2002 10:06 AM EST
OTTAWA, ONTARIO, FEBRUARY 5, 2002 (CCN Newswire via COMTEX) -- The Honourable Robert G. Thibault, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today indicated that he was pleased with the efforts of the Canadian delegation, but deeply disappointed with the outcome of the special meeting of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) last week. The meeting was held in Helsingor, Denmark, from January 29 to February 1, 2002.
"Canada's objective at these meetings has been to ensure that conservation measures are in place to protect and rebuild fish stocks in the NAFO Regulatory Area, and to ensure that there is compliance with these measures by the vessels of NAFO member countries," said Minister Thibault. "It is very disappointing that, even when presented with strong evidence, NAFO would reject some of our proposals, particularly those which would have helped address the increasing trend towards non-compliance by some foreign fishing vessels."
"However, as a result of the Canadian disclosure of non-compliance, NAFO did agree to establish a process to review and assess compliance performance on an annual basis. This is a serious issue for us and, over the next year, we will increase our monitoring of foreign activity to assess compliance and to provide input into that process. We will continue to press member countries, both bilaterally and in multilateral forums such as NAFO, to take action in response to evidence of violations by their fleets."
Canada's aim at the NAFO meeting in Denmark was to introduce new conservation measures to protect and rebuild stocks, particularly those subject to moratoria. To support the need for these new measures, Canada presented information showing an increasing trend in non-compliance by vessels of some foreign countries party to NAFO. This information is the result of Canada's continuous monitoring of the activity of foreign vessels in the NAFO Regulatory Area.
The specific proposals advanced by Canada were aimed at addressing excessive by-catch of moratoria species, mis-reporting and exceeding quotas. While NAFO accepted some of Canada's proposals, including significantly increasing mesh size in the directed skate fishery and implementing daily reporting of catches in the 3L shrimp fishery, it did reject Canada's proposal to restrict the depth in which the Greenland halibut fishery would be conducted.
Restricting depth in the Greenland halibut fishery would have helped ensure that those participating in this fishery would be legitimately fishing just for that species, and not using this fishery as an opportunity to target some of the species that are currently subject to moratoria. NAFO not only rejected the proposal to restrict Greenland halibut fishing to deeper water, but voted to increase the Greenland halibut Total Allowable Catch (TAC) from 40,000t to 44,000t. This decision ignored advice from the NAFO Scientific Council, which had recommended maintaining the TAC of 40,000t.
With the exception of Greenland halibut, all other harvest levels recommended by the Scientific Council for NAFO stocks were adopted by NAFO. Moratoria will be maintained on 3NO cod, 3NO witch flounder, 3LN redfish and 3LNO American plaice stocks.
The TAC for the yellowtail flounder fishery will continue to be set at 13,000t. The Canadian fleet which has the predominant share of the NAFO quota of yellowtail flounder will continue to be managed with a set of strict controls similar to those applied in recent years. Conservation measures include minimum mesh size, 100% observer coverage and a dockside-monitoring program to monitor all landings.
Current management measures for 3L shrimp will continue in 2002 with a TAC of 6,000t, of which Canada receives 5,000t. The remaining 1,000t is fished outside Canada's fisheries waters in the NAFO Regulatory Area and is shared by other NAFO members. The moratorium on shrimp fishing in Divisions 3NO will continue.
Measures adopted at the Special Fisheries Commission meeting will be put in place during the 2002 season.
"I want to thank members of the Canadian delegation for their commitment to the conservation of fish stocks and for their contribution in addressing complex issues associated with the work of the Commission" added Minister Thibault.
NAFO was founded in 1978 to provide for the conservation and management of fish stocks that are found in the NAFO Regulatory Area, which is beyond Canada's 200-mile limit. Its members are Canada, Bulgaria, Cuba, Denmark (on behalf of the Faroe Islands and Greenland), Estonia, the European Union, France (on behalf of St. Pierre and Miquelon), Iceland, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and the United States of America.
The backgrounder related to this announcement is available on the automated Fax-On-Demand service of Fisheries and Oceans. It is immediately retrievable -- to users with a touchtone phone and a fax machine -- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Seems this same claim is made every few years.
Sounds like capitalism will be the MOST effective means of regulation. As fish become more scarce prises will rise, demand will drop and number of fishing vessels will drop accordingly.
This problem was long ago dealt with for freshwater fish with the explosion of fisheries and hatcheries that are dedicated to breeding table fish.
Where there is a $$ there is a way. A concept totally lost on most leftists.
Exactly, an equilibrium will always result and self-regulation will occur. This is just like the greenhouse effect (in a way). If worldwide CO2 is on the rise, plants will grow better (that's been proven) and CO2 goes back down. It's like you said, "a concept totally lost on most leftist".
I just bought my first cod fillet 2 days ago for 5.99 per/lb. I have no idea how to cook a cod. I guess I'll put jerk sauce on it. What do you think of reply #6?
Yet, the sport fisherman dosen't destroy anything. His problem is not sending enough money to people like the Clintons. So, he's not allowed to take the King's deer. Meanwhile the commercial crowd is hitting it with cables and nets that can go 3,000 ft down.
The sport fishing creates employment and good healthy recreation time. I say, the smaller the fisherman is, the more support he should get.And, get out of the way of the sportsman.
I think you're safe, rux. There's about as much real fish in a Filet-O-Fish as there is beef in a Double Cheeseburger :-) (BTW-I love 'em myself)
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