So long and thanks for all the fish

50 years of fish left in sea

“The way we use the oceans is that we hope and assume there will always be another species to exploit after we’ve completely gone through the last one,” said research leader Boris Worm, from Dalhousie University in Canada.

In 2003, 29% of open sea fisheries were in a state of collapse, defined as a decline to less than 10% of their original yield.

Bigger vessels, better nets, and new technology for spotting fish are not bringing the world’s fleets bigger returns - in fact, the global catch fell by 13% between 1994 and 2003.

It’s cool. Everyone will just start eating jellyfish.

As their traditional catch declines, fishermen around the world now haul in 450,000 tons of jellyfish per year, more than twice as much as a decade ago.

Business is booming!

Jellyfish and chips just doesn’t sound as appetising somehow.

Peanut butter and jellyfish?


Tragedy of the commons…

Given the right technology (big nets, boats, detection equipment, etc), ‘harvesting’ the fish becomes relatively cheap and easy. Without some legal authority limiting the catch rates, overfishing is nearly inevitable.

How far do national fishing rights extend off the coast?

And are there international laws governing open sea fishing (i.e. beyond those limits)?

Except that I think that currently most aquaculture works by feeding fish that isn’t worth much caught in the wild to profitable fish not in the wild.

Also, according to Hans Moravec, in 2050 computers will be smarter than us so we’ll be too busy fighting our would-be robot overlords to worry about whether or not we can have a tuna sandwich.

Most nations claim an economic zone that stretches 250 km from their coastlines.

And no, not really. Open seas are fair game.

Hm. Maybe it’s time to give up fish too. I eat it because it’s good for the brain. Anybody know any decent replacements? Curry, I understand, is good.

Oh man… just… awesome.

…too bad it’s all bullshit, huh?

I mean first mad cow hysteria (quick, how many cases diagnosed again? Thanks for playing…) and now this.

It’s a myth. Are there stocks of fish that are struggling? Yes. Is NOAA/NMFS regulation actively supporting the recovery of these species? Yes, again. Does NOAA/NMFS regulation work?


Remember back in 2000 when we heard that George’s Bank Scallops were some sort of endangered species? Turns out a 2004 NOAA survey concluded that scallops in the Bank were so overpopulated that oxygen depletion and lack of nutrition from hyperpopulation growth was the greatest threat the species faced.

Every year, NOAA/NMFS evaluates species and stock for overfishing/overfished status and establishes regulation for domestic catch limits on biomass that allow for sustainable populations and recovery. They are damned good at what they do, and they are remarkably successful over the long haul–currently 81% of fished species and stocks are at sustainable, fully-recovered (to pre-regulation population) levels.

Source? The fishing regulations are set by mostly commercial fishermen. You really don’t think that any report coming from them is accurate do you? If so, I have a bridge to sell you.

The main problem is that we cannot control overfishing in other countries so we can only go from our information. Globally, I suspect that the damage to our oceans is far more extensive than any one report will show.

A guy with the last name, Worm talking about fishing?


Source is the June, 2006 report to Congress on sustainability from the National Marine Fisheries Service, which is a sub-division of NOAA, which sets regulatory limits on commercial fishing in the United States-controlled waters (and on fish sold in the USA), limits which are enforced by the Coast Guard, Dept. of the Interior, and the USDA. The regulations most certainly are NOT set by commercial fishermen. That’s utter hogwash, and whomever told you that DID have a bridge to sell and an axe to grind. When the boats come in, catches are accounted for and marked by inspectors; violations of NMSF regulations and other hanky panky are dealt with by fines (at first) leading up to and including having licensing revoked and jail time.

The surveys of stocks and species populations are carried out by NOAA and NMSF scientists working at sea, and are not reliant on reportage by shore inspectors. Again, whomever told you otherwise is an idiot, or you’re just making shit up.

As for the rest of the world, yeah, they’re in trouble. Europe is being as proactive as the US in recent years though, and there’s good reason to think that stocks/species in northern Atlantic/Baltic/Mediterranean waters will recover. The big problems are Southeast Asia and South America. We can’t control what those governments do, so perhaps dash off a nasty letter to them, Mr. Worm, and CNN and quit believing whole cloth this stupid shit that crops up every 18 months or so.

(This sort of goofy shit comes ambling down the pike every year or so; used to happen every two months a half-decade or so ago. You eventually search back to who is behind the figures, and it’s always the same folks–you find that these “studies” are bought and paid for by front organizations for an unlikely alliance of PETAns/Vegans and Sport Fishermen organizations. Their reality isn’t real reality, but their scare tactics manage to snag the gullible who’ll believe anything they read on the internet. As a result, I’ve had to do extensive research over the years from the other side of this, and have found that facts and figures gathered by the US Government show that, while overfishing is a potential danger, with regulation and enforcement in our waters, it isn’t an unsolveable problem. In fact, most of these groups finally gave up when quarterly NOAA/NMSF bulletins would take on their independent “studies” directly and debunk them, I’ve done facility inspection tours of two of the largest commercial seafood purveyors in New England, and collected and accessed a ton of data on how the industry works in the 21st century under government regulation. What else you got?)

Time to invest in soylent green.

This is why we need cloning.

This sort of goofy shit comes ambling down the pike every year or so

Except this is a study being published in a respected, peer-reviewed journal, Science, I believe.

I listened to an interview with the study’s author - he acknowledged that some of the sustainable fishing practices being used in the US can turn the tide, but that such practices were the exception, not the norm, and unless more countries adopted these methods many more fish populations would plummet.

I, too, was dubious when I read the headlines about this study, but after listening to the scientist, I had more respect for what he was trying to say/achieve.

So “Fear factor” is actually a governmental study to find out what other critters the human race can survive on?

Don’t bother me with your facts unless they are pier reviewed!