Monday, November 06, 2006

Saving our disappearing fish

World’s Fish Supply Running Out, Researchers Warn.” The front page of the Washington Post, at my hotel room door last Friday. A shot of panic, it’s too much

...the wave of bad news is getting bigger...

The world will run out of seafood by 2048 unless something changes. So says Boris Worm and colleagues, projecting forward our fish-killing ways of the recent past. Records show us fishing out the best and moving on. First further from port, then switching to other fish we used to throw away like trash. Can it be so bad? From abundance to fish poverty in my lifetime?

Maybe it’s not too late. Quick we've got to fire up the conservation machine, let’s blockade a fishing port, hang banners on a building, boycott something, dump thousands of letters on someone’s desk. Somehow, we have to end the mad race to catch the last fish.

“No problem” say Dr. Worm’s critics, the study is flawed. Government and industry assure us we’re doing fine; the only thing we have to fear is the fearmongers. Don’t worry, keep buying fish.

Everything's fine???
Global fish catches started to decline in 1988.
90% of the ocean’s big fish are gone.
Worldwide diversity of big ocean fish has declined by 50%.
So-called rebuilding plans are failing.
Success stories are scarce, collapsed and collapsing fisheries are everywhere.

A future without fish? Too bleak to imagine. It can’t be. We must redouble our efforts, talk to anyone anywhere who will help make things better. Maybe conservation becomes mainstream. Conservatives conserve. Wal-mart, California Governor Schwarzenegger. Even the Bush administration acknowledges the obvious and moves to fix the problem.

…what does it feel like to try to surf this wave? It feels a lot like falling…

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