Call to get tough with ocean bandits

While writing an article for the newsletter about the recent study published in Science magazine predicting collapse of the world’s fisheries by 2048, I came across this press release. Unless people worldwide become aware of these growing problems (overfishing in general and the live reef fish trade), they will continue unabated until the marine species populations collapse taking marine ecosystems with them, the seafood industry collapses removing a source of protein heavily relied upon worldwide along with hundreds of thousands of jobs, coral reefs die – before global warming kills them – because important reef fish species are fished out… Like global warming, overfishing has a snowball effect that will become so large by the time it’s taken seriously that it will be too late. Continue reading

Response from Iceland to an anti-whaling letter

I and other Plankton Forums members got this form letter in response to an action letter sent through the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society website. What this letter says to me is that Iceland’s policy makers put their hands over their ears and chant “la la la la… I can’t hear you….” in response to pleas from environmentalists to stop commercial whaling. They, like Japan, claim their whaling activities are in the name of “science” – I have another name for their letter and their whaling activities. I won’t repeat it here as it’s not appropriate language to use in this blog.

I truly don’t understand Iceland and Japan’s insistence on commercial whaling given that the market for whale meat is reportedly weak.

Here is the letter: Continue reading

Small step toward shark conservation

World’s First International Catch Limit for Sharks Adopted

The Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) decided recently to halt targeted fishing of vulnerable sharks in the Southern Ocean. France proposed the action to the CCAMLR based on its concern over increased shark finning and fishing for the slow-reproducing deepwater sharks in Antarctica. Shark fishing will be prohibited until shark populations can be assessed and the impact of fishing quantified. The CCAMLR is also encouraging fisheries to release sharks caught as bycatch.

“This responsible yet bold action by CCAMLR establishes the world’s first limit on the amount of sharks that can be taken from international waters and is therefore a landmark agreement in global shark conservation,” said Sonja Fordham, Policy Director for The Ocean Conservancy’s shark program and the Shark Alliance. “We congratulate CCAMLR for affording sharks the precautionary protection they so urgently warrant yet rarely receive.” Continue reading

Just one reason why you should vote tomorrow

This is from the Center for Biological Diversity’s newsletter: Endangered Earth

Humpback WhalesOn October 30, 2006, the Washington Post ran a major expose on Julie MacDonald, the Bush administration’s point person for squelching scientific decision-making within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Post described MacDonald’s efforts as “the latest in a series of controversies in which government officials and outside scientists have accused the Bush administration of overriding or setting aside scientific findings that clashed with its political agenda on such issues as global warming, the Plan B emergency contraceptive and stem cell research … Hundreds of pages of records, obtained by environmental groups through the Freedom of Information Act, chronicle the long-running battle between MacDonald and Fish and Wildlife Service employees over decisions whether to safeguard plants and animals from oil and gas drilling, power lines, and real estate development, spiced by her mocking comments on their work and their frequently expressed resentment.” Continue reading

Numbers

This is a great numeric illustration of the 2048 article from yesterday’s blog post about the impact of marine species loss:

2048: The estimated date at which stocks of commercial fishing species will collapse due to overfishing. “Biodiversity is a finite resource,” says Professor Boris Worm, who led the Dalhousie study. “We can predict when we are going to run out of species.”

29: The percentage of seafood species that have collapsed (i.e. their catch has declined by 90 percent or more) in the last 50 years.

13: The percentage decline in global fishing yields since 1994.

145.7: The annual per capita consumption (in lbs) of fish and shellfish in Japan, the world’s biggest fish-eating nation. The average per capita consumption in the U.S. is 16.6 lbs. Continue reading