Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Limits on Antarctic shark fishing

Which is more common, shark bites man or man bites shark? Surprise, sharks have more to fear. Sharks are in trouble worldwide from overfishing.

But there is good news for sharks in the cold Southern ocean, where managers have adopted the world's first international shark fishing limit. Shark fishing will be prohibited until we know enough to do it right. What a surprise, fishing is being regulated before fisheries have collapsed.

Elsewhere, shark fishing knows few limits, even though sharks are easily overfished. Fueled by intense demand for shark fin soup, fishing often exceeds the reproductive abilities of sharks.

Who needs sharks? We do, if we want to keep ocean ecosystems intact. Sharks play a vital role in keeping coral reefs healthy, and they are vital predators in all of the oceans ecosystems.

If only we could learn to do it right everywhere. Sharks are in trouble around the world, and even in the "advanced" U. S., we have a poor record at preventing overfishing of sharks.


SharkGoddess said...

The rate that sharks are murdered is heinous, and asinine. There's no way they can re-populate their numbers faster than they're being killed. It's alarming just how many people just don't give a damn about it. Don't they realize they're watching what very well could be humanity's cure for cancers, AIDS and other ailments slip away. Sharks also tend to be to predtaors in their food chains keeping balance in their ecosystems.

More importantly, in those ecosystems sharks are the ones that help prevent diseases from spreading by hunting down the sick diseased and dead fish. Their importance is immense. People overlook it simply because the shark is so demonized.

They ignore the fact they have a better chance of dying in a car wreck on the way home from work, from a beesting, a spider bite or struck by lightning. Those all happen out of the water, close to their homes or even in them. People can be idiots.


Anonymous said...

"What a surprise, fishing is being regulated before fisheries have collapsed".

I hope you are being sarcastic here Mark, and you are not actually unaware enough of fisheries governance practice to be be surprised that most fisheries are in fact regulated.

Trouble is, most fisheries regulations to date have concerned target species. Society is only just getting around to worrying about the effects of fishing on non-target species and the effects of other human impacts on fisheries as a whole.

But - this has already resulted in the ecosystem approach being accepted by fisheries managers as the way to go, and you will find that most future regulation does take into account these broader impacts and influences. In this part of the world anyway.

Mark Powell said...

Thanks Tim. Yes, I know most fisheries are regulated, but are they EFFECTIVELY regulated? It almost seems to be a truism that fisheries are effectively regulated only AFTER they collapse once, or after nearby or related fisheries crash. My comment may be a bit of hyperbole, but I don't think it's fundamentally wrong. Do you want to argue that it's fundamentally wrong?