Monday, May 22, 2006
  Dammit, people, watch your fish intake.

Deep-sea fish stocks 'plundered'; Fish stocks in international waters are being plundered to the point of extinction, a leading conservationist group has said.


BBC News

May 19, 2006


Illegal fishing and bottom-trawling in deep waters are to blame, according to a report from WWF.


It says the current system of regional fishing regulation is failing to tackle the problem, with not enough being done to enforce quotas or replenish stocks.  It says species under severe threat include tuna and the orange roughy.


The orange roughy is targeted by bottom-trawlers, which drag heavy rollers over the ocean floor, destroying coral and other ecosystems.  "Given the perilous overall state of marine fisheries resources and the continuing threats posed to the marine environment from over-fishing and damaging fishing activity, the need for action is immediate," Simon Cripps, director of WWF's global marine programme, said.


Illegal fishing "by highly mobile fleets under the control of multinational companies" was identified as one of the worst threats to marine life.  But the report also attacked governments for over fishing.


"Vast over-capacity in authorised fleets, over-fishing of stocks... the virtual absence of robust rebuilding strategies... and a lack of precaution where information is lacking or uncertain are all characteristic of the management regimes currently in place," it said.


No enforcement


The report was released ahead of a New York meeting on the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement, the legal framework for the management of fish stocks on the high seas, next week.


BBC science reporter Matt McGrath says that on the high seas - away from the protection of national quotas - fish stocks are at their most vulnerable.  The regulation of fishing in these international waters is the responsibility of regional fishing management organisations - made up of countries with a vested interest in the area.   According to WWF, most are failing to manage fish stocks in a sustainable way.


Decision-making is poor, it says, and the regional organisations are powerless to control the activities of countries who ignore regulations.  This backs up the conclusions of an analysis last year from the conservation group BirdLife International, which concluded that a majority of the regional fisheries organisations are failing to take their responsibilities seriously.


The authors are calling on the United Nations to review fishing on the high seas and strengthen the resolve of regional authorities to deal with states that flout agreements.


"It's got to stop, we've got to do it quickly," Mr Cripps said. "There is hope, if we can get management put in place."

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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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