Modern fishing methods will empty the sea
MICHIANA POINT OF VIEW
By DAVE RAMOS
Our oceans and seas are being systematically destroyed on a scale that is biblical in size. The corporate fishing industry is sterilizing our oceans.
As explained in an October 2004 article on the fishing industry in The Economist magazine, as man’s appetite for fish grows, so has his ability to catch them. Modern devices such as sonar, sea-mapping software, global positioning system plotters, echo sounders, radio beacons, and fish aggregation devices enable today’s fishing vessels to find and catch massive quantities of sea life like never before.
When rich countries destroy their own fisheries they buy fishing rights from poor countries for ridiculously low sums and then go about destroying their fisheries. They also move on to deplete the stocks in the world’s last waters to be exploited, such as the Antarctic Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the South Atlantic.
According to The Economist, the North Sea, Mediterranean Sea and the Grand Banks off Canada are already fished out, and the North Pacific is next. The signs of scarcity are everywhere around the globe — smaller fish, smaller catches and sometimes no catch at all.
Corrupt politicians in rich countries, such as this one, especially money-loving conservatives, cave in easily to the interests of the corporate fishing industry. The news media, incompetent beyond belief (probably because they’re owned by corporations), has been deafeningly silent on this ecological holocaust. As a result, most people in this country are unaware of this atrocity that the news media is complicit in.
Huge fishing vessels use weighted trawling nets on rollers that drop to the sea floor and scour everything in their path, destroying entire ecosystems, including coral reefs that are thousands of years old. The pass of a trawl can destroy centuries of growth.
European trawlers are even worse because they’re bigger — almost 450 feet long — and proportionately destructive.
Then there’s the practice of long-lining where tuna boats throw out fishing lines 80 miles long that are lined with hooks. Unfortunately, a lot more than tuna gets hooked, such as turtles, sharks, triggerfish, wahoo, billfish, dolphin fish, manta rays, mackerel, barracuda, pilot whales, dolphins, porpoises and others. These species are unwanted and are thrown back into the sea where they die either from shock or injuries.
These fishing operations are vile: sea lions, whales and porpoises drown in nets, dolphins are thrown back in the sea with their beaks broken and hunks of flesh hacked from their sides, The Economist article points out. There are huge, magnificent manta rays left to gasp their last breath on deck, the magazine explained.
The waste is just downright evil. American fishing trawlers and longliners throw back 1 billion tons of fish and mammals each year. That’s 2 trillion pounds slaughtered and wasted. Europe is even worse. They waste 4 billion tons of marine life a year. It’s beyond awesome how much life God has created.
There are those who ask (incredibly), how are we supposed to feed the world? To these people I say, ‘How many people does an empty ocean feed?’
You may ask what can be done. Complain to our elected officials. If you don’t complain, nothing will be done. U.S. Sens. Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar are reasonable men. Don’t waste your time with U.S. Rep. Chris Chocola or President Bush. Apparently family values don’t include caring about the ecological destruction of the earth. It gets in the way of profits. But Bayh and Lugar might listen. At least ask them to look into it.