fishy articles
July 29, 2003 9:19 PM   Subscribe

The NY Times is running a series of fishy articles about the ocean environment, fish and health. Of note the Java Interactive Feature "Heavy Toll" (see link 1) has an underwater cam of a trawlnet to help visualize ocean floor carpet bombing. Article links 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
posted by stbalbach (13 comments total)
Resources mentioned in the article include "The Empty Ocean" by Richard Ellis and "In a Perfect Ocean: The State of Fisheries and Ecosystems in the North Atlantic Ocean" by Daniel Pauly.

Using animation and video, scientists and conservation groups illustrate the loss of marine resources.
posted by stbalbach at 9:34 PM on July 29, 2003

Good post, stbalbach.

In my opinion, this situation has been known about for many years, and scientists had predicted it well before, but it's only now hitting the media with any degree of seriousness.

Does anybody know of alternatives?
posted by ashbury at 4:44 AM on July 30, 2003

Alternatives? Unfortunately, there are very few.

As an avid fisherman, I always envisioned a plan where you would completely ban commercial fishing. If you wanted to have fish, you would have to use your own hook, line, and sinker.

Realistically, I imagine that the seas will eventually become barren. Commercial fishing will fail on its own, but not without leaving a terrible scar on the oceans.

Very sad...
posted by Decypher at 5:00 AM on July 30, 2003

L'il Lisa Slurry, anyone?
posted by archimago at 6:07 AM on July 30, 2003

The seas probably won't become entirely barren, but the commercial fisheries will collapse -- rather like the Grand Banks cod fishery.

...the amusing thing is that any attempt to regulate the fishing industry before a collapse has always been met with cries of "we're fishermen, so we know best how to protect the ocean so back off". The European cod fishery is about to collapse, and they're still saying the same old things.

Which, in the end, makes me feel fairly good about all of the fishing jobs being lost. Tools.
posted by aramaic at 6:48 AM on July 30, 2003

I did some research a little while back about groups like NASCO. Nasco was set up as an international organization for the protection of Salmon stocks in the North Atlantic and the membership includes all the relevant countries. Unfortunately, it can only pass regulations with the approval of all parties. Thus, it has used catch figures of past years to try to estimate what a sustainable catch might be and then has to water that number down so that all the countries will accept it. Then there is also a bit of illegal fishing anyway. All in all, it doesn't give you much hope for anything.

On another note, I recently went to the University and all of my roomates were marine biology majors in one of the best marine-bio programs in the world. They had professors who have been predicting gloom and doom for the oceans and now they're all being proven right. 15 years until the total collapse?
posted by crazy finger at 7:11 AM on July 30, 2003

If you need to feed from the sea, these folks would like to help you do it responsibly:

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Seafood WATCH

Audubon Living Oceans
Seafood Lovers Guide Card
posted by piskycritter at 7:42 AM on July 30, 2003

Unfortunately, like most things in life, people will not care until it is already too late.
posted by eas98 at 8:20 AM on July 30, 2003

Great, now I gotta stop eating fish, too?!
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:38 AM on July 30, 2003

When someone develops huge-scale fish farming, it will be a boon to humanity.

There's a hair-raising photo in the "Heavy Toll" interactive feature of shark fins drying in the sun. Hundreds and hundreds of shark fins.
posted by Holden at 8:43 AM on July 30, 2003

Believe it or not, there are things even worse than bottom-dragging trawl nets: fishing with dynamite and cyanide. These things are far, far worse than mere overfishing; they destroy the ecosystem beyond hope of recovery in anything like a human lifetime.

It's for reasons like this that I despise people who argue for "letting the market decide". Market forces are the reason why this happens.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:29 AM on July 30, 2003

When someone develops huge-scale fish farming, it will be a boon to humanity.

Oh it will, huh?
posted by soyjoy at 10:46 AM on July 30, 2003

D'y'know, I'm starting to come around on the subject of genetic engineering. While I have a massive, and wholly justified, distrust of the companies that are practicing it now (and their political shills), the ability to do things lke grow fish filets on an industrial scale in contained systems might be a comprehensive, sustainable solution to this problem.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:03 AM on July 30, 2003

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