The Mysterious Disappearance of Keith Davis
January 4, 2017 11:56 AM   Subscribe

The unsettling disappearance of a fisheries observer sparks questions about safety on the high seas and the fate of the fish stocks they attempt to monitor.

Every second, more than 816 kilograms of wild fish are caught illegally at sea, mostly in the so-called “international waters” that lie beyond national boundaries—that’s like hauling up 211 fully-loaded Boeing 747s every day. Though commercial fishing is now a multibillion-dollar industry, fishermen must work ever harder to fill their nets as global fish stocks decline, requiring longer, more expensive trips. With such high financial stakes, many fishermen feel pressure to ignore the myriad rules and regulations that govern commercial fishing industries.
posted by poffin boffin (8 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
A fisheries observer is basically a professional snitch, vulnerable, on a boat in international waters. Occasionally they are murdered.
posted by joelf at 12:03 PM on January 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh my God I thought this said Keith David and I was about to never stop screaming.
posted by maxsparber at 12:05 PM on January 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

The recent Stuff You Should Know podcast on Fish Fraud was frankly shocking in how widespread this has become.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:13 PM on January 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

I felt anxious just reading this, but it's fascinating. Thanks for the glimpse into a world I never knew existed. Still kinda anxious....
posted by ezust at 2:58 PM on January 4, 2017

A fisheries observer is basically a professional snitch

Uh no. They are biologists, and they are on most commercial fishing boats in a lot of countries worldwide. They are a critical part of sustainable fisheries who go on to careers in science and not "professional snitches".
posted by fshgrl at 4:17 PM on January 4, 2017 [12 favorites]

posted by Joe in Australia at 9:27 PM on January 4, 2017

A bad relationship with the crew would quickly make that job the loneliest job in the world.
posted by dazed_one at 12:08 AM on January 5, 2017

Years ago I did a reserves management paper in NZ (land and marine reserves policy). Fisheries observers are supposed to report activities in circumstances where doing so amounts to suicide - these people work alone and unarmed -

This article discusses trawlers dragging nets across the seabed "[sea life] are smashed to bits by trawl nets with heavy steel rollers on the front to flatten black corals, huge gorgonian fans, bamboo corals and giant sponges hundreds of years old, so that the nets can then get a clear run at the fish once they have nowhere to hide." Fish has never tasted very good since.
posted by unearthed at 12:59 AM on January 5, 2017

« Older Please Make Me a Chair Before You Go   |   You don't get into this for the money because... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments