2011/01/16

Overfishing


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Mankind is overfishing the seas - an unsustainable behaviour that pushes the ecosystems of the oceans to the verge of collapse; it also reduces the sustainable quantity of fish and sea fruit that can be harvested. The consumption of fish is growing even per capita word-wide - while mankind is growing rapidly towards seven billion individuals!


The problem has been publicly known for many years, but it doesn't get nearly the same attention as other nature issues such as global warming. It's nevertheless one of the top problems of mankind, not very much unlike soil erosion and salinisation of irrigated land.


A better management of the fishery industry with smarter quotas is certainly possible and likely part of a possible solution. We also need to stop the per capita consumption growth and probably also add to aquaculture capacity.

The overexploitation of the fishing areas near Somalia has been partially blamed for the rise of Somali piracy - an issue that has finally attracted Western interest (and more so than the huge fishery collapse thing). It shows how fishery issues can become actual security policy issues. Countries with a very important fishery sector such as Iceland have been aware of this for long; Iceland even waged a kind of offshore patrol ship ramming-war against the UK in a fight over fishery rights (Iceland won).


Maybe it would be smart to think a bit ahead, to reduce the conflict potential ahead of the actual conflict?

Western governments might contribute
* issue smart quotas for fishery and enforce them
* prohibit illegal fishing in overseas, and enforce it
* stop the growth of per capita sea fish consumption with a Pigovian tax similar to the taxation of tobacco and oil

That, of course, would require a somewhat rational, informed long-term policy. We would need to set a good example.
That's why this blog post has been tagged with my blog's humour tag "fun".

S O
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4 comments:

  1. I find it bonkers that you can write both about the good of the EUrocracy and complain about overfishing.

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  2. I'm not sure what good I wrote about Euro stuff - but yes, the world is grey.

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  3. The tragedy of the commons is hard to beat :(

    And sadly, rational fishing policy is almost impossible, as it is a demonstrated and vigorous vote-loser, with no upside for politicians (except for being good policy, naturally). An awful lot of enviropolicy falls into this category. Oh well, I should be safely dead before it becomes critical :/

    It is certainly an area where the Euro technocrats can make a big difference, but that will only address about 25% of the problem at most. I can't see a worldwide agreement or quota system being workable, or even a flyer politically, and without that, any restraint by one group of states will just be exploited by others. But maybe I'm being optimistic, after all, whaling has been eliminated from the world ....

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  4. Aechzener
    On the contrary, many nations have done a very good job protecting THEIR fishing grounds.
    Not all fishing grounds are "common".

    Many are jealously protected by militarised coast guard or full on war fighting navies.

    ReplyDelete

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