This is a big post. It’s about big things. Important things too. It deals with Canada – a big country. Actually by area, it is the second largest country in the world. It also has a lot of ocean under its jurisdiction. Take a look at the website of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, a Federal government body, and you will see statements like this:
“The Government of Canada is working to ensure the future health of Canada’s oceans and ocean resources by increasing understanding and protection of our oceans; supporting sustainable economic opportunities; and demonstrating international leadership in oceans management”
Sounds good doesn’t it. The Canadian Federal Government (which has just changed as of yesterday – see bottom of the post) have a several Acts in place to govern the bit of the ocean they have claimed as theirs. Great stuff! Except maybe, as demonstrated in a recently published paper, authored by 19 Canadian scientists including lead-author Megan Bailey (Dalhousie University), “over the past decade decision-making at the federal level appears to have undermined the government’s own mandates for the sustainable management of Canada’s oceans” Continue reading Oh Canada – what about your ocean?
If you are a fan of developing sustainable fishing, then super-trawlers are probably not something you smile about. Take a look at the image below from the Greenpeace campaign against the Abel Tasman (FV Margiris) – the world’s second largest fishing vessel. Weighing in at a some 9 ,500 GT, this trawler-come-factory ship invoked the anger of NGO’s and Australians (whose waters she was due to fish in) who saw the vessel as a huge threat to marine biodiversity. A huge campaign ensued. The battle lines drawn. No super trawlers. Not here. Not anywhere. Just last year, the Abel Tasman was banned from fishing in Australian waters for two years. Victory for the NGOs.
But was it the right thing to do?
Fisheries scientists Dr Sean Tracey and colleagues from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, and the University of Tasmania, Australia challenge the idea that the trawler was inherently a ‘bad thing’. They argue that the campaigns was biased, presenting an argument based on only the worst examples of trawlers over-exploiting fish and damaging the ecosystem. What the campaigns and the public forgot was the importance of scientifically backed active management.
It’s a good point. So, can super-trawlers be managed to fish efficiently without destroying the marine ecosystem?
The article – published in Fisheries which is produced by the American Fisheries Society – is likely to inflame many readers, but it is certainly worth following it through to the end. It is open access… here’s the link (page 345 – or the 7th page of the PDF document).