Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ocean Victories to Leap Over

Two ocean victories to celebrate.  Keep these in mind when it feels particularly bleak out there for big blue.

In China, shark fin soup has been banned from official functions such as banquets.

With hundreds of millions of sharks killed for their fins (for soup, people, for soup) and most of the demand for those fins coming from China, this is really good news.  If the fishermen do not have a market for their fins, they will hopefully stop the practice.

In New England, forage fish get a break as mid-water trawlers get new, long overdue rules. 

With these trawlers taking much more than their share and forage fish a vital ocean resource, this is really good news.  A recent study showed that forage fish are worth far more in the water than out as food for other marine life including seabirds and bigger fish that we all like to eat.

The New York Times story about the win came with one disappointing quote:

"Eoin Rochford, who used to operate trawlers and now runs a factory that freezes herring, said that the assault on this corner of the industry amounts to a “witch hunt” and that the midwater trawler fleet is actually good for the ocean.

'These fish are the most abundant fish in the ocean. To keep the ecosystem in balance, somebody has to harvest them,' he said."

Talk about miscommunicating, or rather, misrepresenting science.  Surprising to see such a clueless comment from a person who is supposed to know the resource.  That is just not how it works.

Carl Safina, marine ecologist and author, replied to that quote on Twitter: Herring mega-trawlers think they "balance" the ocean by fishing. Baloney say whale-watchers and tuna fishers.

Here's to some solid victories to leap over. 

Image: treehugger.com

No comments: