Friday, April 06, 2007

Giant rockfish caught off Alaska

Here's a fish that was too valuable to kill: a century old "Teddy Roosevelt" rockfish--born when the roughrider was President.

The 44 inch, 60 pound giant shortraker rockfish was what's known as a "BOFFF," a Big Old Fat Female Fish with specieal breeding value. It was stuffed full of developing embryos in it's ovaries, just about ready to give birth to many thousands of live baby fish. It was worth more in the water than anywhere else.

Caught as
"bycatch" (not what they were fishing for) by a commerical fishing boat, at least the fishermen recognized the value of the fish and delivered it to scientists instead of throwing it overboard (it was probably dead since it was hauled up from deep water).

Fishery science is only just beginning to recognize the value of BOFFFs. Or rather, scientists already know and it's fishery managers who don't acknowledge the value of BOFFFs. In fact, nutty as it sounds, getting rid of especially valuable breeders like this Teddy Roosevelt rockfish is part of fishery managers' grand plan for fish. It's all part of "The Good Depletion," an idea that is as obsolete as a buggy whip.

It's time for a paradigm shift in fishery management, one that makes use of modern ecological knowledge like the value of BOFFFs. Unfortunately, the die-hard proponents of The Good Depletion seem to want to go down swinging. Check out Ray Hilborn's unscientific diatribe against fisheries iconoclasts who dare to challenge The Good Depletion.


Bella said...

Thanks for the links...interesting stuff.

Anonymous said...

Great site! I am especially concerned about the loss of marine biodiversity and its impact on ecosystem services to humans.

Keep up the good work. I've added you to my blogroll at:

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