Every year since 2001, the European Union's scientific advisers have urged a complete halt to cod fishing in the North Sea.
Every year European fisheries ministers have discarded the advice, and set quotas ranging from 49,000 tonnes in 2001 to 23,000 tonnes in 2006.
The scientists say a zero catch is necessary to allow overfished cod stocks to revive. The politicians say fishing communities cannot be put out of work overnight.
The consensus among conscientious biologists is that we're headed into another mass extinction, a vale of biological impoverishment commensurate with the big five. Many experts remain hopeful that we can brake that descent, but my own view is that we're likely to go all the way down...
The most recent estimate comes from Stuart L. Pimm and Thomas M. Brooks, ecologists at the University of Tennessee... "How many species will be lost if current trends continue?" the two scientists asked. "Somewhere between one third and two thirds of all species--easily making this event as large as the previous five mass extinctions the planet has experienced."
Everything's fine. When commodities get scarce, humans are always willing to cut back on their consumption and share with others, right? It's not like there will be wars or anything.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:47 AM PST on November 2
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