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Thread: Overfishing:(

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    Member Phil P's Avatar
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    Unhappy Overfishing:(

    I've been reading about this lately and it seems like a huge problem world wide. It's the classic case of "tragedy of the commons" where the resource is limited, but free, so people will grab, or fish up as much as they can. So many species are affected by it: Pacific Halibut, Orange Roughy, Tuna, Sea Turtles, Cod... What would you do if you had the power to make a decision to deal with overfishing?

    My answer would be to try to increase farmed seafood to offset and out price wild caught seafood. Specifically, farmed shellfish. They, bivalves such as clams, oysters, mussels, and scallops, actually improve the water quality around them and are really easy to grow. It's almost like growing crops. In Louisiana, they raise crayfish in the rice beds. It's a cool symbiotic relationship where the crayfish and the rice feed each other. Also shellfish are the most ethical and healthiest of all meat sources to eat. Farming fish isn't as environmentally friendly and it's much more difficult. I see subsidizing seafood as a much better alternative to subsidizing beef and pork and chicken.

    On a positive note, Yao Ming did almost singlehandedly reduce the sharkfin soup tradition in China. They had an article on Yahoo about it. They asked several Chinese why they ate sharkfin soup and they said they didn't know besides that it was tradition, it didn't taste that good.
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    Senior Member skip's Avatar
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    Pacific Halibut?
    Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that a problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil P View Post
    I've been reading about this lately and it seems like a huge problem world wide. It's the classic case of "tragedy of the commons" where the resource is limited, but free, so people will grab, or fish up as much as they can. So many species are affected by it: Pacific Halibut, Orange Roughy, Tuna, Sea Turtles, Cod... What would you do if you had the power to make a decision to deal with overfishing?
    Good question. I read a book about the decline of cod fishing, and how the atlantic cod is considered commercially extinct, but it seems it's not unique to cod. It bugs me quite a bit, because I love seafood.

    My answer would be to try to increase farmed seafood to offset and out price wild caught seafood. Specifically, farmed shellfish. They, bivalves such as clams, oysters, mussels, and scallops, actually improve the water quality around them and are really easy to grow. It's almost like growing crops. In Louisiana, they raise crayfish in the rice beds. It's a cool symbiotic relationship where the crayfish and the rice feed each other. Also shellfish are the most ethical and healthiest of all meat sources to eat.
    Mussels seem pretty affordable still, actually. You can buy a pound for five dollars. Are you sure they don't already farm shellfish?

    Farming fish isn't as environmentally friendly and it's much more difficult.
    Why? I know farmed salmon is bad because they are carnivores and the farms aren't separate tanks, but basically baskets.


    Is wild-caught really the solution? I mean, if people eat enough of that stuff, won't that get overfished? I'm told it's better, but how much better is it?

    I see subsidizing seafood as a much better alternative to subsidizing beef and pork and chicken.

    On a positive note, Yao Ming did almost singlehandedly reduce the sharkfin soup tradition in China. They had an article on Yahoo about it. They asked several Chinese why they ate sharkfin soup and they said they didn't know besides that it was tradition, it didn't taste that good.
    Reminds me of rhino horn powder... it doesn't actually make your dick bigger, but it's tradition. I think of rhino horn powder whenever I hear some New Age type go on about how alternative medicine is better because it's more in touch with the earth, or something.

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    Member Phil P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    Good question. I read a book about the decline of cod fishing, and how the atlantic cod is considered commercially extinct, but it seems it's not unique to cod. It bugs me quite a bit, because I love seafood.



    Mussels seem pretty affordable still, actually. You can buy a pound for five dollars. Are you sure they don't already farm shellfish?



    Why? I know farmed salmon is bad because they are carnivores and the farms aren't separate tanks, but basically baskets.


    Is wild-caught really the solution? I mean, if people eat enough of that stuff, won't that get overfished? I'm told it's better, but how much better is it?

    I see subsidizing seafood as a much better alternative to subsidizing beef and pork and chicken.



    Reminds me of rhino horn powder... it doesn't actually make your dick bigger, but it's tradition. I think of rhino horn powder whenever I hear some New Age type go on about how alternative medicine is better because it's more in touch with the earth, or something.
    Sorry I take so long to respond to my threads . What's happening to the cod now I think is whats inevitable for any long lived fish. The shorter lived, reproduce a lot fish might fare better.

    They already do farm shellfish. Basically, they have a cage or some sort of housing thing set up close to the surface, stick the shellfish babies onto it, monitor the salinity and temperature and other stuff and scrape the adults back off when it's harvest time. Shellfish require no feeding as they get their food from filtering water. In fact, they clean up the water, making it clearer and better growing conditions for underwater plants. They don't farm shellfish in polluted areas for this reason, although they can be used to clean up pollution.

    Fish farming on the other hand requires fish meal feed, similar to cows and pigs, and require more complex housing. It can be done, it's just not as easy as shellfish farming. It's like comparing a feedlot to a cranberry marsh; the feedlot is a lot more expensive to set up and maintain and has a lot more variables that could go wrong.

    But fish farming sounds much more sustainable than wild fishing. Some species, such as talapia work better than salmon.

    About the Pacific halibut, Alaska is considering going down to one fish for recreational fishing due to the low numbers and low sizes, which have really gone down in the last several years. SE Alaska already has went to the one fish thing. Recreational halibut fishing is so much better than commercial fishing (which is taking most of the fish) because of tourism. Also recreational fisherman will throw back the big females sometimes because they know they are essential for reproduction and don't taste good. Commercial fishing grabs up whatever fish is on the long line.
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    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    I'd heard that a problem with fish farming is what to feed them. In some cases you still have to catch wild fish to feed to your farmed fish--you get more of one species you want but the environmental impact nets out to basically the same.

    The wild salmon runs in the Columbia River watershed (Washington/Oregon) are considered sort of semi-endangered, and are a big part of what becomes the Alaska/North Pacific salmon harvest later in their life cycle. There are salmon hatcheries all over the place along the river (they mark their fish, and recreational/commercial fishermen on the river are supposed to check so they only take farmed salmon out--the wild runs are legally protected), but from what I've heard from some adamant fish-biologist types, this is actually seen as a threat because it supposedly degrades the genetic stock of the wild population.

    Of course, in the rivers the real threat is not fishing but dams. (Dams that often produce a renewable, nearly carbon-neutral form of electrical power, thus pitting two groups of environmentalists against each other when someone proposes building or removing one.)

    Ocean fish are probably a rare example of species that are most directly threatened by human hunting activity rather than loss of livable environments due to human alteration of their habitat.


    You should check out a documentary called "End of the Line." It's fairly polemical, but informative nonetheless. The filmmakers' preferred solution seems to be creating an international system of ocean wilderness preserves (sort of like underwater National Parks) which aren't fished at all, so that stocks of whatever lives in the chosen areas can always recover there even if depleted by fishing in other areas.

    But their stats and projections indicate a total collapse of the entire ocean fishing industry worldwide occurring around 2045.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    No history, no exposition, no anecdote or argument changes the invariant: we are all human beings, and some humans are idiots.

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    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    I'd heard that a problem with fish farming is what to feed them. In some cases you still have to catch wild fish to feed to your farmed fish--you get more of one species you want but the environmental impact nets out to basically the same.

    The wild salmon runs in the Columbia River watershed (Washington/Oregon) are considered sort of semi-endangered, and are a big part of what becomes the Alaska/North Pacific salmon harvest later in their life cycle. There are salmon hatcheries all over the place along the river (they mark their fish, and recreational/commercial fishermen on the river are supposed to check so they only take farmed salmon out--the wild runs are legally protected), but from what I've heard from some adamant fish-biologist types, this is actually seen as a threat because it supposedly degrades the genetic stock of the wild population.

    Of course, in the rivers the real threat is not fishing but dams. (Dams that often produce a renewable, nearly carbon-neutral form of electrical power, thus pitting two groups of environmentalists against each other when someone proposes building or removing one.)

    Ocean fish are probably a rare example of species that are most directly threatened by human hunting activity rather than loss of livable environments due to human alteration of their habitat.


    You should check out a documentary called "End of the Line." It's fairly polemical, but informative nonetheless. The filmmakers' preferred solution seems to be creating an international system of ocean wilderness preserves (sort of like underwater National Parks) which aren't fished at all, so that stocks of whatever lives in the chosen areas can always recover there even if depleted by fishing in other areas.

    But their stats and projections indicate a total collapse of the entire ocean fishing industry worldwide occurring around 2045. Apparently deep-frozen tuna that can be thawed and eaten years later is becoming a hot investment commodity among Japanese bankers.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    No history, no exposition, no anecdote or argument changes the invariant: we are all human beings, and some humans are idiots.

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    Senior Member Starjots's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Mexico View Post
    The filmmakers' preferred solution seems to be creating an international system of ocean wilderness preserves (sort of like underwater National Parks) which aren't fished at all, so that stocks of whatever lives in the chosen areas can always recover there even if depleted by fishing in other areas.
    This sounds like a good solution combined with some sort of fishing quotas for unprotected areas (which I thought was done already).

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    Senior Member Senseye's Avatar
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    I'm no expert, but I am under the impression there are often squabbles about fishing treaties (international waters vs territorial waters) etc. etc. and lots of cheaters. So quotas and protected areas are often ignored.

    Then you've got the Japanese, who similar to their unscrutable love of anime, seem to be devoid of any environmental consciousness whatsoever. They are still out there whaling and like. The oceans are a big place and seem a bit lawless, so it's woe to endangered species.

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    Anthropos mhc's Avatar
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    over consumption is a problem caused by consumerism, where money (an idea) is worth more than the paper it is printed on(literally), and people are able to redistribute that paper in unsustainable ways, leading to unsustainable societal models.
    in australia, most of the local wild caught seafood is exported to highly priced markets, while "cheap" fish is imported and sold to the local masses. so we have a model which consumes huge amounts of energy to swap one food locally for another food sourced overseas. the way i see things, as long as money is the driving force behind anything, these problems will remain. good news is, at some point the model for consumerism has to collapse.

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    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Senseye View Post
    I'm no expert, but I am under the impression there are often squabbles about fishing treaties (international waters vs territorial waters) etc. etc. and lots of cheaters. So quotas and protected areas are often ignored.

    Then you've got the Japanese, who similar to their unscrutable love of anime, seem to be devoid of any environmental consciousness whatsoever. They are still out there whaling and like. The oceans are a big place and seem a bit lawless, so it's woe to endangered species.
    Yes, but the Japanese whaling thing is an example of other governments not really being serious about enforcing "international law"--in theory Japan (along with Norway and a few other countries) are skirting international conventions on the subject so could be hit with trade sanctions and the like, but whales as an actual political issue are more a popular sound bite than something anyone in power really cares about.

    If the issue were more directly of interest to the world's governments (such as pertaining to the security of their food supply in a palpable way) I can imagine these kinds of agreements having a lot more teeth.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    No history, no exposition, no anecdote or argument changes the invariant: we are all human beings, and some humans are idiots.

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