Empty Nets: Fisheries Future?

I leave you with a visual, and a word of hope.

Once we were innocent of the knowledge of how much and how quickly our resource demands took from the planet’s finite or slowly-covering stock of stuff. Now we can stop taking before it’s too late. We have eyes in the sky. I’ll feature some of them from time to time here.

This morning, it’s fishing pressure. We know where the boats are.

There are a lot of fishing boats in the sea–and now we can see them. OnEarth

From the opening image of the global fishing map, scroll down for the rest of the story. Its not just the NUMBER of fishing ships that is pushing fish stocks past tipping points. It’s the short sighted but very “efficient” methods of profit-taking that are more like the sub-surface strip mining  of living things.

Having some objective measures of our impact on a failing resource that feeds hundreds of millions, there is currently serious talk of banning fishing on the “high seas”, leaving a sanctuary for some fish stocks.

“A study last year found that a ban would be a triple win: It would increase fishery profits, fishery yields, and improve fish stock conservation dramatically.

Since many fish caught on the high seas also migrate into coastal areas, closing fishing in international waters would both serve as a protected reservoir and cause “spillover,” therefore boosting coastal catches by at least 18%, according to Sumaila’s estimates. If that was achieved, overall catches globally would at least stay the same and probably would increase..” FastCoExist

This is the kind of pro-active thinking that just might allow us to re-order our economy as if the planet and people really mattered.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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