Sunday, August 02, 2009

New study on rebuilding global fisheries

Google and Microsoft just joined forces to improve your life. OK, not really, but something equally monumental just happened for us few interested in fisheries. The result? Some optimism that fisheries can flourish, but only if we get serious about ending overfishing.

Marine ecologists and fisheries scientists just smoked the peace pipe and worked together on a "what's up in global fisheries" study. That's good news for those of us caught in the middle, between projections (not predictions) showing the end of the line for fishing by 2048, and critiques that such an idea was "mind-boggling stupid."

The collaboration is timely, given the release of the apocalyptic movie "The End of the Line" this summer. So who was right?

As usual when smart people disagree so strongly, both sides have a good point. Lacking controls on fishing, we're headed for fisheries disaster. But fish and ocean ecosystems can thrive where science-based limits on fishing are well-implemented.

What's ahead in our shared future? Fisheries success seems likely where effective management respects scientific advice. Fisheries failures will continue where social and economic forces conspire to inhibit effective management. What's needed is creative solutions that cross traditional boundaries.

How will we fish and seafood people get to solutions where governance tends to be weak, such as international fisheries or small-scale fisheries in the developing world? Creative solutions do exist, where people are willing to put their ideologies aside and work together in pursuit of shared goals. That's right, shared goals. After all, NOBODY really wants to get to the end of the line for fish, not in 2048 or ever.

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