Plenty More Fish In The Sea? I Think Not

Once again, a depressing program about the declining fish stocks of the world, and how fishermen are chasing down the few that are left in a desperate attempt to feed their families, has just been broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

Subsidies that enable the fishermen to keep going in spite of poor catches should be being spent on sending them out to feed fish or release new stocks into the seas with strict instructions not to engage in any fishing operations whatsoever until the stocks have had time to recover. It beggars belief that governments do not appear to see that.

This is a subject close to my heart, as a sea-dweller who has watched the fish stocks of the world decline before my eyes over the past few decades, as anyone who has read my blog before will know.

Another problem that has long besieged the world is that of finding ecologically sound ways of disposing of used car tyres. Experiments with building reefs out of used car tyres have turned out disastrous as chemicals leaking from the materials used in their manufacture kill all in their vicinity. Now, off Florida for example, operations are underway to remove the tyres as fast as possible and send them to be burned. It beggars belief that these projects were undertaken without the possibility of this outcome having been considered beforehand.

Meanwhile, many are the times we have come across lines of garbage and used bunker oil, jettisoned at sea by large ships, presumably to save money on the removal of those items at their ports of call. We have sailed through such vile pollution several times when crossing the Atlantic in both directions and, more recently, in the Mediterranean. Fishermen could be paid to patrol the seas and report on these activities, resulting in ship owners being fined for their desecration of the seas. It would not be that difficult to work out where lines such as those I have described came from - by measuring their set and drift one could narrow down to very few the ships that could have been responsible for them.

We have visited beaches in remote places that were entirely covered by several feet of plastic containers, mainly drinking water bottles and plastic bags, in various stages of the process of breaking down. Years later, those same beaches have an increased depth of plastic on them - the original layers are still there, underneath later additions. Fishing boats could be deployed to collect floating plastic before it gets far enough out to sea to kill turtles and wind up on the other side of the world.

The question is whether anyone in a position to do something would really care enough to give these ideas any thought if I were able to reach them in the first place. Sadly, I doubt it.

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At Sunday, April 26, 2009 2:48:00 pm, Blogger Ilena said...

Imagine the day when people realize that no man is an island. All that we do touches and effects others and the world that belongs to us all. Perhaps we will see a change when the human race starts living for tomorrow instead of today. Until then smile, be nice, and build a larger soapbox! With that hat (which btw always makes me smile) who could resist listening to you!


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