Friday, November 03, 2006

enjoy that fishwich

A report says that at current rates, it is possible that humans will fish the seas essentially empty by 2050. Don't believe it? Think the phrase "as numerous as the fish in the sea" means "limitless"? Think again, fishwich-muncher, fisheries around the world are collapsing already.

Maybe the best/worst example is the Grand Banks, off the coast of Newfoundland (Canada) in the Atlantic. Europeans began fishing there in 1497, and it was famous for its abundance of cod. It was once said you could walk on the surface of the ocean on the back of cod.

Well, you know, a few hundred years of fishing, with increasing numbers of vessels and increasingly effective catching methods like sonar did a number on the cod there. The Grand Banks fishery is closed. Lots of fishermen from Canada and New England have had to find something else to do. Meanwhile, ever-growing fishing fleets have turned elsewhere, to new regions and to new species of fish. And they're being depleted, too.

It isn't too late to save the world's fish. The report notes that in places where humans have set up marine reserves, fish stocks have begun to rebound rapidly. But you know, we can't just keep going on with business as usual, or one day you won't be able to get a fishwich at McDonalds at any price.


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