Hello to all,
I had to give my opinion on the problem of fishing and overexploitation of the oceans.
The oceans are being depleted by overfishing. Human consumption is still in high demand, especially in Asian countries. But nobody is aware of this plague and the problems caused in the oceans.
All the lights are on because fish stocks are declining. The movements of the marine animals are invisible so it is difficult to worry about them. It's sad but it's the reality. We prefer to take care of land animals with interesting aspects that will raise awareness and thus money. I have always found it scandalous that "ecologists", wanting to protect some species, neglect others, less interesting......
Fishing is a big problem and all scientists confirm it.
For example, 73 million sharks are fished in the oceans each year for their fins to supply the Asian market, which is supposed to provide aphrodisiac virtues. It is estimated at 500 euros per kilo on the Japanese market. But since this species is not admired and lives in the oceans, they continue to be hunted with impunity. For your information, the shark is cut up alive to obtain the fins, and then it is thrown back into the sea. Do you think it will survive? Movies like "Jaws" have sullied its image all over the world. However, there are more deaths in a year drowned in their bathtub or killed by their spouse than by a shark bite! but nothing prevents its hunting. Countries like Australia, South Africa or the Bahamas have decided to protect them and create marine parks.
The white shark is endangered worldwide. Sharks eat a little of everything and are the scavengers of the oceans. Indispensable for the marine balance, they will eat weak animals and give a chance to healthy ones. They prevent the proliferation of other carnivores that would harm other fish. This animal can also be harmless, with a strange but exciting behavior (if you turn it on its back, it goes into a state close to sleep called "catalepsy"). Their depletion upsets the food chain and leads to the destruction of the reefs. This exploitation, added to pollution, sport fishing and slow reproduction, diminishes their chances for the future. The solution lies in the establishment of marine sanctuaries (identical to the Pelagos marine sanctuary), or the marine park at Tadoussac on the St. Lawrence River (Quebec, Canada). In the Bahamas, a model for shark protection, commercial fishing and the sale of sharks are strictly prohibited. Fines are levied against anyone who does not comply with the regulations.
Let us return, on the techniques of fishing frequently used. The "trawling", practice used by nets opened by heavy doors, blindly snatches the bottom of the oceans and 50% of the totality of the catches is thrown back to the sea. The second is the use of "longline" fishing, which can be used with thousands of hooks, catches all kinds of fish, but also sharks, sea turtles or marine mammals. In Costa Rica, shark or dolphin meat is used for this type of fishing.
Concerning the bluefin tuna, or Atlantic bluefin tuna, it is experiencing a significant decline. Its main client, the Japanese, appreciates it for sushi, an essential dish in their culture. Unfortunately, the tuna is rapidly disappearing, among others in the Mediterranean. The tuna reserves in the Pacific and Atlantic have been exhausted, so to satisfy the Asian demand, all have fallen back to the Mediterranean. The technology used in the fishing boats, the tracking planes, the huge nets, leaves him little chance to live. In spring, bluefin tuna come close to the surface to spawn. The males emit clouds of milt and the females expel millions of eggs. Unfortunately, spotted by airplanes, fishermen venture out and drop their nets. The generation is disturbed and its number is reduced. But it is tempting, a small school of bluefin tuna! Once the fish are fattened in marine farms (abundant off the coast of Spain), they can fetch more than 1 million euros on the Japanese market! The largest fish caught can weigh 226 kg and be 2.50 meters long. There are fishing quotas for tuna, but they are never respected. Their number systematically doubles. Marine farms allow the fishing of young fish in order to fatten them, well before they can spawn, which worsens the situation. In just ten years, bluefin tuna populations have declined dramatically. We will end up with the disappearance of cod off Newfoundland (Canada). The solution, as for sharks, is to create marine protected areas and to limit the number of boats. To find an agreement between scientists, conservationists and commercial interests. Not to mention imposing quotas and prohibiting fishing during the spawning season, and fishing the minimum weight.
Finally, I will not lump all fishermen together.
However, as all fishermen will tell you, there are fewer and fewer fish in their nets and the work is increasingly difficult.
Almost 1 billion people in the world depend on fishing, and a large part of them live in poverty. This resource is essential for their existence. But there are still efforts to be made, knowing that 0.01 % of the ocean surface is closed to fishing. It is too little. And as I have been saying for a very long time, I defend marine mammals but I never forget to talk about all land animals.
Unfortunately, we only talk about visible animals, but invisible animals also need protection.
Montreal, Canada, June 2007.