Hello my name is Miss Gillingham. Please join me as I travel to Greece to study the dolphins of the Amvrakikos Gulf!

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Demise of our Oceans: Large-Scale Fishing

Now to the point, the fear of losing our sea life. I suspect many will have different points of view and many may disagree with me but Science is about trying to find a truth, so let's start the discussion.

Joan and his team have recorded a decline in dolphins as we have already seen. Others worldwide have also recorded a decrease in fish. A great film we watched last night that helps to explain the situation is called 'The End of the Line', and is highly recommended. Maybe your parents could even watch it with you.

It centers around the seas most ferocious predator (the greatest hunters). Any idea who? Humans. Not this type

but rather this type

It's big corporations chasing too little fish, mainly to sell us as food. But what happens when you take food out of your refrigerator? Slowly it decreases and eventually you will have no more food. What if 5 people keep going into your fridge? You'll probably run out of food even faster. That is unless you get more. But what happens when there is no more food to be got? This is the same case with our seas but what we must remember is the seas are not renewable, that means once it is gone, it is gone, kaput! Equally, important to remember, is the sea is not only our 'refrigerator', many species rely on it for food. For examples, dolphins too must have prey. And what about the simple fact that life in the sea is not only beautiful but has a right to live there?

One of the biggest culprits in affecting fish is Bottom Trawlers, that drag nets along the bottom of the sea like this
Photo from http://www.greenpeace.org/international/seafood/understanding-the-problem/fisheries-problems-today/bottom-trawling

In fact, according to the movie, the biggest one has a net large enough to fit 13 747 planes - that's huge, and that is a lot of fish.

The next big problem is a lot of what is caught is not needed,for example turtles and dolphins, and so are just tossed back but dead.

One idea promoted as a way to save the problem was fish farms, but don't say this to Ioannis, who specializes in fish conservation. Fish farms are a NO GO area and the topic of our discussion tonight. So I will be back regarding this.
Here is one we saw yesterday but there are many in the area.

What is most obvious however, is we can't stop removing so much fish from the sea for food. Like my fridge idea, it will run out if we are too greedy. But if people, like us want their fish, who is in the wrong; the people who ask for it or the people who catch it? From what I have understood, we don't have to stop eating fish, it is healthy and yummy after all, but we need to make sure we buy our fish from all those good fisherman in the world who are trying to fish sensibly, perhaps like small scale fisherman like these ones found in Preveza today.
So what we can do, is start asking questions. Go to your local supermarket and ask where their wild fish is caught and how it is caught. They should have the information. If it's small scale or sustainable then great, if not, don't buy it! Can you see a school project looming in my head?


  1. It's a dilemma isn't it? Fish is so healthy to eat and we're always being told to eat more (instead of too mch red meat etc) but then we seem to be eating the oceans dry/ empty.

    I also think fishermen get a raw deal. They are often in the poorest, corners of eg the UK (eg Southwest Scotland and Southwest England) they do a risky, hard job and then get told what they're quota is and that they simply have to stop, without compensation. Compare this with the heavily subsidised agricultural sector (Via the EU's Common Agricultural Policy) which since the 1970s has variously given money to farmers to suppliment their income, even in the 1990s paying them NOT to produce (via 'set aside') this is on the basis of the EU wishing to ensure food supply. Why is fish and fishermen not the same? Is it a class/ political thing? They provide food too but they have their incomes curtailed and just have to 'suck it up'. No subsidies or compensation. Is this because they don't have the influence and wealth of farmers?

    If the rule applies to farmers in the EU then Fishermen should be compensated for not fishing and this would surely help stop over fishing.

    Humans need to be sustained as well as fish.

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