Aquacalypse Now
October 8, 2009 5:43 AM   Subscribe

The End of Fish - maybe it's finally time for an environmental accounting, cuz the 'bill' is coming due; stocks and flows, folks.
posted by kliuless (74 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
What are you talking about - I just went fishing down at Whole Foods and caught a filet of hake. It was delicious.
posted by spicynuts at 5:57 AM on October 8, 2009


KILLS MORE FISH ... RON PAUL

Zap.com -> begotten child of Zapata Corporation -> owner of Omega Protein.
Zapata was co-founded by George HW Bush in the 1950's

Ergo the dot.com era and the network you are using right now was funded by Geroge Bush and fueled buy fish guts. GOOGLE BUSH ya fish killer!

(and for actual useful information on Environmental accounting I offer:)

An entire book exists on eMergy - Odum, H.T. 1996. Environmental Accounting, Emergy and Decision Making. John Wiley, NY, 370 pp.

This paper was presented at the International Workshop on Advances in Energy Studies: Energy flows in ecology and economy, Porto Venere, Italy, May 27,1998.

eMergy simulator

And an attempt to get 'us' to better manage energy flows
Energy as money
posted by rough ashlar at 6:04 AM on October 8, 2009


related: a recent story about the acidification of the Arctic.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:09 AM on October 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


So long and no thanks, signed: All the fish.
posted by Abiezer at 6:16 AM on October 8, 2009 [13 favorites]


> related: a recent story about the acidification of the Arctic.

MeFite gompa has a feature-length story in the latest issue of The Walrus about, among other things, oceanic acidification.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:19 AM on October 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


dr:too (oh sweet god, what about my kids?) incredibly depressing, I will though, later.
posted by From Bklyn at 6:21 AM on October 8, 2009


Yeah, we have serious issues. One thing about Orange Roughy: they're believed to live to up to 140 years. I don't think we should eat anything that old. We definitely can't expect an unlimited supply of 140 year old animals for food.

On a brighter note, Palau was going to allow repeal a ban on shark fishing for fins, but decided against it, partially because of efforts to save sharks. I think the primary incentive is diving tourism. In the Bahamas, it has been estimated that a living shark can be worth up to $200,000 over the course of its lifetime in tourism revenue. Even if the actual number isn't that high, it's a lot more than you can get from a dead shark. (Especially if all you are doing is chopping off the fins for shark fin soup and throwing the dying, finless shark back into the ocean.)
posted by snofoam at 6:21 AM on October 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


At the rate we're going McCarthy's "The Road" is going to be the feel good movie of the year.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:27 AM on October 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


And here is the seminal point to the ultimate fish story...there is absolutely NOTHING to be done about it. Nothing. We are fishing out the oceans and everything else on the earth by calculated and determined design;


The Humble Tuna
posted by Aetius Romulous at 6:28 AM on October 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


There are sources of sustainably harvested, (relatively) toxin-free fish. EDF has the Seafood Selector and the Monterey Bay Aquarium has their Seafood Watch Program.

But this acidification of the seas, this scares me. So much for the oceans being the fantastic carbon sinks to offset our carbon emissions.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:31 AM on October 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, on the second page of the article they cover one of the things that terrifies me: the varied scenarios that result in oceans dominated by jellyfish:

- Top predators overfished? The ocean fills up with jellyfish.
- Too much fertilizer runoff causes giant algae blooms? The oceans fill up with jellyfish.
- Climate change-driven acidification & warming of the oceans? Yup, jellyfish.
posted by snofoam at 6:35 AM on October 8, 2009


I for one welcome our new jellyfish overlords.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:43 AM on October 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jellyfish are edible. Problem solved.
posted by spicynuts at 6:43 AM on October 8, 2009


And having now read the main article, what a depressing picture, though I swear I read warnings about global stock completion being made earlier than the author thinks.
I'd read about the massive boom in the size of the Chinese deep sea fleet in the post-reform era and looking to check found this post saying its catch is 'four times the size of its nearest competitor. So one of the more recent arrivals as a major player in global ocean fishing is already out-stripping the older participants. Doomed.
posted by Abiezer at 6:44 AM on October 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


But this acidification of the seas, ... carbon emissions.

I'm willing to give the 'CO2 does not cause global warming' people their various arguments....yet, when I ask "What about seawater CO2 levels and should we not be concerned about that?" they never seem to have an answer.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:44 AM on October 8, 2009


Our society as we know it is pretty much done. It's just a question of whether what follows is a The Road-style dystopia where we're all killing each other with rocks for canned goods or something...less unpleasant.
posted by you just lost the game at 6:48 AM on October 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can I just say that without the decline in fish stock we would have missed out on the most excellent title - "Aquacalypse Now", so silver lining I'd say.
posted by mattoxic at 7:02 AM on October 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


Jellyfish is, indeed, edible, but unless you like chewing on rubber bands (maybe you do, I won't judge), you don't really want to eat it.

The thing is, enjoy today. It's the last, best day we're going to have. Too much is too fucked, and there just aren't enough people able to change things. Every day past today, there are more jellyfish, more extinctions, more atrocities, more watershed moments. Our way of life, which is largely responsible for our problems, is not sustainable, and the bill is coming due. If not in our time, in our children's time. There just aren't enough people willing to fight for the changes in that way of life that A) those that have don't want to give it up, and B) those who don't have it, want it, and will be quite angry when they're told that they can't have it. Every day this situation, the problems, and the effects that result, they get worse. Every day, yesterday will be a day we look back on fondly because things just weren't this fucked up.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:04 AM on October 8, 2009 [12 favorites]


We should keep an eye out for a mass exodus of dolphins, launching out of remote lagoons in coral-patterned interstellar colony ships... then we'll know the end is nigh.

or maybe octopod spelljammer vessels...
posted by ServSci at 7:16 AM on October 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


*snaps on some heavy gloves, whacks the big gong marked OVERPOPULATION with an enormous jellyfish held by the tentacles, then leaves*
posted by adipocere at 7:20 AM on October 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


posted by you just lost the game at

Eponysterical.

Always wanted to do that.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:44 AM on October 8, 2009


Every day this situation, the problems, and the effects that result, they get worse. Every day, yesterday will be a day we look back on fondly because things just weren't this fucked up.

But, but on the upside it could be raining.
posted by stet at 7:48 AM on October 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Man, I don't think I've read a single story where jellyfish replace humans as the dominant species. But to be honest, I think it's a good idea. They're probably closer to filling the ocean with linked neurons, turning it into one massive mega-consciousness. That'd be cool to have another sentient species to chat with, and it'd make it more fun to freak the Fundamentalist Christians out about Gaia theory. Their fear of "Earth Worship" is a lot more fun when 70% of the Earth's surface talks back.

"Hey, the ocean's in favor of cap and trade!"
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:56 AM on October 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Jellyfish is, indeed, edible, but unless you like chewing on rubber bands (maybe you do, I won't judge), you don't really want to eat it.

I don't, but then I feel the same way about calamari, and plenty of folks find that stuff interesting and tasty. (Mind you, only after it's breaded deep fat fried and drowned in tomato sauce, but still.)
posted by IndigoJones at 8:16 AM on October 8, 2009


Hey! Come on everybody, we are all going to jump off a cliff! Come on! Whoo hoo.
posted by pianomover at 8:22 AM on October 8, 2009


this is the drink yourself blind thread, right?
posted by From Bklyn at 8:23 AM on October 8, 2009


Jellyfish is, indeed, edible, but unless you like chewing on rubber bands (maybe you do, I won't judge), you don't really want to eat it.

I was being facetious, obviously, but now that you bring this up, I must point out that I have eaten it, frequently, and that it is a staple of most Chinese cooking and so I am not alone. Like calamari, it is only rubber bandy if it is not prepared properly. So, while I do not enjoy chewing on rubber bands, an overwhelmingly large subset of the population of Earth does enjoy eating properly prepared jellyfish.

But again, I was making a joke.
posted by spicynuts at 8:29 AM on October 8, 2009


posted by you just lost the game at

Eponysterical.

Always wanted to do that.


My username seemed like a good idea at the time...
posted by you just lost the game at 8:31 AM on October 8, 2009


I was being facetious, obviously, but now that you bring this up, I must point out that I have eaten it, frequently, and that it is a staple of most Chinese cooking and so I am not alone. Like calamari, it is only rubber bandy if it is not prepared properly. So, while I do not enjoy chewing on rubber bands, an overwhelmingly large subset of the population of Earth does enjoy eating properly prepared jellyfish.

Indeed, jellyfish is almost considered a delicacy in Chinese cuisine and is very often served as one of the appetizers during grand dinners (e.g. weddings).

But then again, so is shark's fin soup.
posted by destrius at 8:38 AM on October 8, 2009


yeah, well, shark fins aren't going to take over the ocean when we de-fishify it.
posted by spicynuts at 8:43 AM on October 8, 2009


Interesting and alarming article.

I found this line from page 2 of the first article to be rather disconcerting: "the Hudson River sturgeon wasn’t counted as an overfished stock once it disappeared from New York waters; it simply became an anecdote in the historical record."

You can fish a species to extinction and then simply drop it from the roles? WTF? That Whale Wars crew is going to be busy. Probably need additional ships and crews as well.
posted by a3matrix at 8:47 AM on October 8, 2009


Serious Question - with all the doom and gloom out there - would you (asuming you're in your 20's) have a family?? Why bring someone into a world that is going to be way worse in their lifetime?
posted by armlock at 9:23 AM on October 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Funny, I just stopped eating tuna..

Just say no to ecological trauma..
posted by kuatto at 9:36 AM on October 8, 2009


Isn't fishery depletion one of the main stated reasons that the Somali pirates give for their piracy? That's what made me so mad about the "HOO-RAH, head shotted a dirty african pirate!" people a few months back. The only reason piracy was considered a good idea was because of conditions (read: theft) well beyond their control.

Also: Every time I walk into a grocery store I see aisles and aisles of food that will never be eaten. It's stuff that's bought to facilitate consumer choice, which will never actually reach a human stomach. How many cans of tuna are thrown out each year because they're not sold?
posted by codacorolla at 9:36 AM on October 8, 2009


Serious Question - with all the doom and gloom out there - would you (asuming you're in your 20's) have a family?? Why bring someone into a world that is going to be way worse in their lifetime?

Because it's not over yet. I've visited London and seen blue skies, unlike in the late nineteenth century. The skies of Los Angeles are not pristine, but they aren't murky brown anymore. There are things I cannot see because they are gone from the world, but I'm still pretty happy to be here.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:57 AM on October 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hey guys! There's a bunch of optimists over on the Vidal thead. Go get 'em!
posted by No Robots at 9:57 AM on October 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Better question: how many cans of unsold tuna are given to soup kitchens and shelters instead of being thrown out?
posted by spicynuts at 9:58 AM on October 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't know. You all say "doom and gloom," I say "long-overdue end of a way of life that I find repugnant in the first place." Like codacorolla points out just above, the Western (and increasingly Eastern, and thus generally modern human) lifestyle is defined by waste on a truly staggering scale. We can all live very comfortably on 10% or less of what we consume now. Possibly far less than that -- 1%? 0.1%?

So don't cry for us, Argentina. Start finding out what you can do without and what you can do more efficiently. It's fun. Seriously. And when The Road times come, you'll be way ahead of the mega-consumers who are (let's face it) fucking doomed.
posted by rusty at 10:03 AM on October 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


armlock: I do have a very young family (a 4 year old and a 2 year old). I disagree that their future will be worse than my past. My 4 year old daughter knows how to grow her own food. They both know what is compost and what isn't. Neither of them have ever lived in a house with cable TV. You choose your own future.
posted by rusty at 10:06 AM on October 8, 2009


Today, governments provide nearly $30 billion in subsidies each year--about one-third of the value of the global catch--that keep fisheries going, even when they have overexploited their resource base.

This is the key point of the article. Regulatory capture was particularly grotesque and visible under the Bush administration (see the DOJ antitrust department, the FCC, the EPA, military procurement, the FAA, USDA, FDA, etc), but Bush certainly didn't invent it, and it's killing us. (Other things that are killing us include both state-level and individual-level tragedies of the commons, but let me simplify for a second, OK?)

So how do we rein in our pervasive regulatory capture? (Not a rhetorical question -- what do you think?) My vote is, look to the countries where democracy involves a higher percentage of the population voting, and less money given to politicians, and see how they did that. It has more to do with law than magic, and it's not impossible to emulate.
posted by jhc at 10:20 AM on October 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Say goodbye to your favorite sushi = The Cove (video/sound launch is auto). Ebert says Oscar-worthy.
posted by HyperBlue at 10:41 AM on October 8, 2009


rusty: I don't worry about families like yours. I worry about the other 9 out of 10 families that haven't learned anything and have their collective heads in the sand. Unfortunately we have to share this earth with them and somehow figure out a way to survive. It's daunting and I do feel overwhelmed. I have a 4 and 6 year old and I often wonder about their future.
posted by armlock at 10:57 AM on October 8, 2009


rusty and armlock, while we are teaching our kids how to grow their own, I'd hazard a guess that at least 2 out of 10 families are teaching their offspring the finer points of gun and knife maintenance.
posted by HyperBlue at 11:13 AM on October 8, 2009


See, this is why I'm eating all the fish I can now, before it goes up to $50 a pound. I try to go for sushi at least twice a week.
posted by heathkit at 11:23 AM on October 8, 2009


there is absolutely NOTHING to be done about it. Nothing.
No. It is (as flt says) not over yet. We'll never see the last century again, and there are delicacies and staples our grandchildren, if any, will never know. But there are better futures and worse ones, some much worse or much better than others, and we are still choosing which ones we might see. Choosing by our actions. It is not possible to abstain from this.

The arc of the denialists' arguments was pretty clear from the start— first, claim there's no climate change; next, claim there is but it's not anthropogenic; next, admit we've made a mess but assert it's impossible to do anything about it. We're still mostly in step 2, but moving on.
posted by hattifattener at 11:25 AM on October 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Indeed, jellyfish is almost considered a delicacy in Chinese cuisine

I wonder if I'm allergic to it. I'm allergic to vertebrate fish, but I can eat shellfish, cephalopods, and crustaceans without any problem.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:32 AM on October 8, 2009


HyperBlue: Fair point. Time to join the gun club. I always wanted to shoot something anyway.
posted by rusty at 11:44 AM on October 8, 2009


So how do we rein in our pervasive regulatory capture?

Take it to a bathtub and shove it underwater?

(really the government exists now due to excess energy flows and a lack of accountability of large corporations - thus needing something big to try and reign in said corps. Openness and 'death sentences' for corporations have been suggested as answers.)
posted by rough ashlar at 12:14 PM on October 8, 2009


...really the government exists now due to excess energy flows and a lack of accountability of large corporations

I disagree with this statement.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:26 PM on October 8, 2009


One solution: follow the advice of Nebraska, the Beef State, and eat more beef.
posted by Cranberry at 12:49 PM on October 8, 2009


The first article suggests limiting the number of people who have access to the fisheries. That seems a bit unfair to me. Wouldn't a better solution be to limit the amount any one person/ship can take? This is what we do with hunting and non commercial fishing. If you couldn't take a vacuum to sea and grab all the fish for miles they wouldn't build the damn things and smaller operations would have a shot. Fishing should not be an industrial operation.
posted by Tashtego at 12:50 PM on October 8, 2009


I disagree with this statement.

Ok. Go ahead.

a lack of accountability as per The Jungle is why the food inspection came into being. If your local man was 'a crooked dealer' that rep was enough to sink 'em in the market. When its a big company that puts e.coil in the meat - your victims many never know it was your meat, and what does one person no longer buying your product matter? Big government then comes into existance to battle big corporations that otherwise seem to be 'untouchable' to us mere mortals.

Energy flows - if there was not oil that is non renewable, processed and sold at rates cheaper than milk or water (water packages in processed oil BTW) would government exist as today? If the oil was not cheap, would there even be the deep sea trawlers scraping the ocean of life for "lit'l Lisa's slurry"?

So go ahead. Disagree. But do show *WHY*.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:18 PM on October 8, 2009


Fishing should not be an industrial operation.

What am I gonna do with this lit stick of dynamite now?

(Dynamite tied to a rock - Dupont spinner FYI)
posted by rough ashlar at 1:19 PM on October 8, 2009


I never liked tuna much to begin with, but I'd eat it when my mom made it for lunch. Then, my friend in middle school started bringing in tuna salad sandwiches. I don't know what the canning companies put in canned tuna salad, but it was the most vile smell I ever could smell. I gagged a little, while he happily ate it. I had to sit about 2 seats away from him just to cope. That's when I gave up on canned fish, although I was in middle school, so I was allowed to be picky.

Then, news started coming out about mercury, and my mom was worried about a possible environmental mercury-vaccine-autism link around the same time (my younger sister is autistic), so I was more than glad to not try to "re-develop" the taste for tuna.

Disclaimer: I do know that this is about premium tuna, like what they make sushi with. Luckily, I'm too frugal to afford anything that nice. I can't afford tuna with sashimi in it, so I usually end up getting california rolls with "krab" meat.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:30 PM on October 8, 2009


God damn you, kliuless. I thought that Abe Vigoda had died! (He has not.)

And here is the seminal point to the ultimate fish story...there is absolutely NOTHING to be done about it. Nothing. We are fishing out the oceans and everything else on the earth by calculated and determined design

Wouldn't one of the possible solutions be to stop fishing, or to fish less?

Today, governments provide nearly $30 billion in subsidies each year--about one-third of the value of the global catch--that keep fisheries going, even when they have overexploited their resource base.

... or stop subsidizing it? Maybe I read you wrong. There are solutions, but we ignore them? (e.g. '"Sorry," she said sheepishly, "gotta have tuna."')

... and people ask me why I don't eat fish ("but it's so good for you!"). Overfishing is probably reason #1.

While the climate crisis gathers front-page attention on a regular basis, people--even those who profess great environmental consciousness--continue to eat fish as if it were a sustainable practice.

Yeah, I just don't get this at all, but it's not just pescatores. It's all meat eaters who claim to be environmentalists.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:47 PM on October 8, 2009


No kids for me. Not because I want to spare them the future, but because by sparing the future my kids, the future may be a little better for the kids that are around. We cannot just keep growing our population indefinitely, and there have to be people to make up for the Octomoms of the world.

But someone up there said we choose our own future. Well, that's bullshit, unless you have an isolated shack somewhere and never leave it and never let anyone else into it. If you go outside at all then your future is not entirely in your hands. You can influence your future, of course, but you cannot prevent others from influencing it too, often in disagreeable ways. Did the people whose cars were destroyed by acid rain before the Clean Air Act choose to live in a world where the rain was acidic, or did big pulluting corporations make that choice for them? The answer is obvious.

I'll be honest: I do eat fish. Mainly tilapia, which is omnivorous and prefers plant matter and detritus. Occasionally some farm-raised salmon too. And canned tuna. I guess I should cut down on those; I didn't realize how much worse they were environmentally than tilapia (since they are carnivorous predator species).

I do think we're heading for 'The Road'. I don't think we'll get there in my lifetime, and if we act aggressively enough, we *might* avoid that fate entirely. I hope we choose a better path. But we really need to start bringing down the global population. 6.5 billion people and growing is not going to be sustainable long-term. And I have no idea how we go about doing that. I guess better education for everyone would be the logical start. Religions that preach 'be fruitful and multiply' might end up undoing any good the more rational people in society might attempt though.

Looks kinda bleak. A year from now we'll have a better idea of how seriously the world's economies are going to take global warming and its myriad effects. I'm mildly optimistic about that, but I want to see deeds, legislation with teeth, not just words and promises.
posted by jamstigator at 1:53 PM on October 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, at least I can say I've been doing my small part for many years now. I don't eat fish and haven't most of my life. Now I finally have a good explanation to offer people when they look at me all squinty-eyed, as they inevitably do when I tell them that.

I have to say, I do have a certain amount of faith in the resiliency of sea life. Not to diminish the dangers, but if we can get a handle on the problem soon enough, I think there's a chance the oceans could bounce back.

A diminishing chance.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:01 PM on October 8, 2009


"rusty and armlock, while we are teaching our kids how to grow their own, I'd hazard a guess that at least 2 out of 10 families are teaching their offspring the finer points of gun and knife maintenance."

Luckily these things aren't mutually exclusive.
posted by Mitheral at 3:52 PM on October 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, you'll like this Now the team, from University College Dublin (UCD), have figured out that including just 2 percent fish oil in the bovine diet can drastically reduce flatulence, largely due to the omega 3 fatty acids in the oil.

Yup. Feeding fish oil to cows.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:38 PM on October 8, 2009


I am teaching my offspring about gun and knife maintenance so we will be able to eat in the future. I thank my lucky stars every day that I married a man who can teach me and our children how to shoot, hunt, and survive in the outdoors--instead of some tool who can't even change his own oil or tires, much less go gather food for the family. I do think we are headed for some interesting times, indeed.
posted by 8-bit floozy at 6:39 PM on October 8, 2009


"I have to say, I do have a certain amount of faith in the resiliency of sea life. " Me too, but I think that's part of the problem: we've gotten away with this for far too long because of that resiliency, and it seems like a bunch of factors (overfishing, pollution, acidification etc.) are combining to push oceanic systems to the brink of collapse. Unfortunately, our political systems are unable to deal with this type of issue - do fish have standing? - and anyway they move too slowly to accomplish any effective means of conservation, even if we could agree on what those might be.

Stop fishing? I don't think so - I think the world's fishing fleets are going to compete for dwindling populations until they can't justify taking their subsidies any longer. Which is another way of saying "game over".
posted by sneebler at 6:42 PM on October 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am teaching my offspring about gun and knife maintenance mechanized agriculture, economics and environmental engineering so we will be able to eat in the future
posted by sneebler at 6:46 PM on October 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


8-bit floozy: that's so depressing. Depressing that "guns" and "shooting" is the first thing you think of. Depressing that you're teaching your kids to be hunters - there are 300 million people in North America, how long do you think those deer will really last? You aren't the only person who thinks "guns == survival".

The amazing thing about civilization is that it allows people like Hawking, Picasso, Gandhi to exist - people who could never change their own oil but have still made amazing contributions. When your ammo runs out, you'll become cavemen without people like that.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:26 PM on October 8, 2009 [3 favorites]



...really the government exists now due to excess energy flows and a lack of accountability of large corporations...


I disagree with this statement because
1) until you clarified it, "excess energy flows" wounds like some kind of metaphysical/spiritual problem best resolved by 'The Ghostbusters'. That's right, crazy talk.

2.) Government exists now for the same reason they have always existed... as way for groups of people to make things better for the people of that group. This is not to say that things (governments) can't get perverted along the way (Germany circa 1937 anyone? U.S.A. today?).

But getting rid of government is no solution. Fisheries management works and this management is best, however imperfectly, implemented by governments.

posted by From Bklyn at 11:54 PM on October 8, 2009


Hawking, Picasso, Gandhi to exist - people who could never change their own oil

Only one of 'em "could" 'never change their own oil'. The other 2 - the limiting factors are the will, ability to work a tool to remove a nut and filter, and (typically) the ability to lie on ones back. Are you willing to claim that Gandhi lacked the WILL?

excess energy flows. .... That's right, crazy talk.

You go ahead and 'believe' all you want. Yet, it looks like there will be front row seating to what happens when a nation is cut off from the oil consumption level it was used to - at the 'price' it was used to. I only hope you live 50 more years and in a world where the population stays high so you can see the "crazy" of what happens when the lack of excess energy flow impacts everyone, including Government.

Do remember, oil is a finite, non renewable resource. And for some reason - a decade ago was selling at 'bout $10 a barrel. $10 for 1700kWh of energy. Keep in mind Lance Armstrong had a peak wattage output on his cycle under 700 watts. A fit normal man - about 200 watts cont. output. Upper body output of a man - 50 watts is a number I've seen. (40 watts heat output by the brain BTW) . What happens to the economic output of 'refined things' when that $10 a barrel rises? What was happening to England before the North Slope find and subsuquent use? What is happening to England now?

Fisheries management works

If this was true, would post #85663 exist?
posted by rough ashlar at 5:03 AM on October 9, 2009


mccarty.tim: Disclaimer: I do know that this is about premium tuna, like what they make sushi with. Luckily, I'm too frugal to afford anything that nice. I can't afford tuna with sashimi in it, so I usually end up getting california rolls with "krab" meat.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if you want to buy tuna responsibly you can't just avoid sashimi-grade -- a LOT of tuna is not responsibly fished, including the canned albacore you get for .99 a can. I went looking through most of the common US brands, and IIRC most of them get their catch from Asian fisheries with longline method, which means bycatch, bycatch, bycatch. More info. (Yes, those pages say there are "good alternatives," but all the brands I found, like Starkist, Chicken of the Sea, etc, fell squarely in the "avoid" category. You might have more luck.)

There are a few brands of sustainable canned/frozen tuna sold in Whole Foods and from various fisheries on the West Coast ... if you want to pay $6 a can. Which some people might, I dunno.

The good news for any Brits in the audience is that Safeway tuna is sustainably fished, so have at it!

As for fake crab, make sure to check the label. I mean, there's worse things to eat even if you end up with a batch of undetermined provenance, but still, meh.
posted by bettafish at 7:24 AM on October 9, 2009


Also, I knew bluefin tuna were badly off, but I hadn't realized just HOW badly, and it infuriates me. Eating bluefin is like eating a goddamn Sumatran tiger, or a gorilla, or a California condor -- they're all on the same conservation level -- actually, bluefins are more threatened than Siberian tigers, officially -- but noooo, tuna aren't cute, so it's okay to kill 'em all! Heck, maybe that's part of the appeal. Just. Argh.

Here's my favorite tuna photo, by the way. They're actually pretty badass.

And yes, I know, eponysterical.
posted by bettafish at 7:40 AM on October 9, 2009


bettafish - thanks for the photo! My brother worked as a yellowfin fisherman on the west coast for a while. He said no photo could capture how stunningly beautiful a live tuna is, colour-wise.

The other thing about tuna is that they're effectively warm-blooded. I remember learning about the rete mirabile in physiology - I still think this is one of the most amazing things in the natural world.
posted by sneebler at 9:08 AM on October 9, 2009


And finally, here's a link to a very good/disturbing CBC radio program about the state of the world's oceans.
posted by sneebler at 9:14 AM on October 9, 2009


the worst part of reading this is knowing that my sister-in-law in Vegas has reported the INSANE amounts of shrimp and other seafood that are tossed into the dumpster at the buffets there. i mean, WTF? we fish the ocean to death, and we don't even eat it--we dump it in the middle of the desert. good god.
posted by RedEmma at 11:01 AM on October 9, 2009


Pacific Ocean 'dead zone' in Northwest may be irreversible
posted by homunculus at 11:20 AM on October 9, 2009


Why bring someone into a world that is going to be way worse in their lifetime?

so like 50 years from now or whenever, when your grandkid comes up to you crying about losing the love of their life, you'll start saying, "well, there's plenty more..." and then you'll pause and reflect and think to yourself, "no, no there's not."

also btw, speaking of gore vidal (well, johann hari), Could we be the generation that runs out of fish? and re: bluefin tuna, The Ocean's Bling...
posted by kliuless at 7:21 AM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yup. Feeding fish oil to cows.

And Feinstein suggests suspending the ESA in order to transfer water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to California's central valley ...

And the SF (!) commenters say "Hell yeah. Ban environmentalists - save humanity!"

Fucking idiot species. We deserve to die.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:32 PM on October 13, 2009


i guess the lessons of hetch hetchy weren't learned that well afterall...
posted by kliuless at 5:38 PM on October 13, 2009


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