Monday, February 27, 2006

This "Peak" thing is getting old, even for me

Peak fish? Really?
The world has passed "peak fish" and fishermen's nets will be hauling in ever diminishing loads unless there's political action to stem the global tide of over fishing, says a fisheries expert based at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Daniel Pauly says the crisis in the world's fisheries is less about scientific proof than about attitude and political will.

And, he says, the world's fish need a dynamic, high-profile political champion like a Bono or Mandela to give finned creatures the public profile of cute and furry ones.

"It's time for leadership on global fisheries issues. It's time to act," says Dr. Pauly, Director of the Fisheries Centre at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. "We don't need more science. This is a message that's different from many of my colleagues. Of course we need to learn more about fish. But research is often publicly funded on the grounds that this is an alternative to other political action. We know enough to act to prevent the continued decimation of global fisheries."
(Link via Past Peak)

This does point out something to keep in mind - all resources are non-renewable if consumed in the conventional, industrial manner. An ethanol-fueled plug-in hybrid still sucks if by buying it you necessitate more roads being built, for example. Similarly, even a "renewable resource" like fish are most definitely finite if we consume them the way we do today.

I'm a big technophile, but changing the things we use doesn't help if we keep doing the same stupid things with them. Use better tools, yes. But use them smarter, too. And that, I fear, is the hard part.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gene has a friend who works at NOAA -- I asked him about the cod thing and why even though I keep reading that cod populations are imploding there are still fish fingers in the supermarkets. He said that none of those mass market fish products are really made out of cod anymore, but what used to be thrown overboard as undesirable by-catches -- dogfish and such.

The funny thing is, of course, in a fish finger you can't taste the difference. If they moved over to dogfish earlier on instead of fishing out the cod until it's almost gone, now we would both have cheap fish fingers and cheaper, readily available cod for applications that requires it.

From the fishermen's perspective, it's classic tragedy of the commons -- they killed the goose that laid the golden egg.