Today (31st July), an item was posted on guardian.co.uk titled ‘Fish stocks: Good news is a drop in the ocean’.
‘… The wrecking of the world’s oceans, a largely unseen but catastrophic process, is not inevitable -
Last week the scientific journal Nature published a small piece of good news. The infamous collapse in fish stocks in the waters off Canada‘s east coast has begun to be reversed. The data suggests that the wrecking of the world’s oceans, a largely unseen but catastrophic process, is not inevitable, if we take the right steps to confront it …
The waters off Nova Scotia and Newfoundland were once famous for their fishing … Factory fishing all but obliterated stocks by the 1990s. As the foodchain collapsed, populations of other smaller foraging fish, not of interest to trawlers, exploded. Scientists wondered if stocks of large benthic predators (of which cod is one) would ever recover.
Now there are signs that the damage can be undone. Given time, and protection, “the reversibility of perturbed ecosystems can occur”, the Nature article concludes. Haddock has returned to pre-collapse levels; cod is a third of the way back. The lessons for Europe – in the middle of a debate about how to reform its common fisheries policy (CFP) – are obvious. Put science first. Limit catches. Ban fishing altogether when stocks get low. Treat the oceans as an ecosystem, not a resource. This is not happening at the moment: 88% of European stocks are being fished unsustainably and 30% are close to collapse.
In the North Sea, 93% of cod are fished before they can breed. The CFP will be revised next year, amid promises of sustainability. It should regulate fishing by the weight of fish caught, not the weight landed. At present the policy encourages fishing vessels to discard fish beneath the permitted size. But simply ending discards will do nothing to help stocks grow. The total catch must fall and rules enforced …’
Read the item in full and add your comment online at www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/31/fish-stocks-nature-canada-editorial
[Vegans say abandon the production and consumption of all animal products, including animal products.]