Monday, May 09, 2011

Almadraba!


Are those Bluefin Tuna?

What a joke - one picture truly IS worth a thousand words!
I found the one on top here, and you can read more about what's going on in this short article.
The big commercial purse seiners are fishing the Tuna to extinction, and one of the symptoms is the fact that the big Fish are gone and that the fishermen are now killing mere minnows, barely sexually mature animals that are thus removed from the breeding stock long before having made any meaningful contribution.

This is how Bluefin Tuna look like!

And this is a Spanish Almadraba, or Mattanza in Sicily, in the old days.
Just look at the size of those beasts!



Shocked by the blood?
No, this is not The Cove for the Bluefin Tuna.
Apart from being a millenarian tradition, this is fully sustainable - and if this and other artisanal fisheries were the only harvesting techniques, and if they could finally stop the poachers, and if those subsidies were to be finally cut and if they would finally shut down those horrible Tuna farms, the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna would have a real chance of rebounding, even now at this very late stage.
Yes, I know I know - but I remain hopeful.

Of course, this is merely one example.
Everywhere, we are emptying the Ocean, catching ever smaller Fish and fishing down the food web. Here's an excellent PSA by Shifting Baselines depicting the result - and no, that's a 2 foot Blue, not a Mako.



Anyway, food for thought.
Back to the Sharks!

3 comments:

OfficetoOcean said...

Interesting you posted this actually as I am just editing interviews with proper old time salty sea dogs from Mallorca who used to earn a living from the Almadraba, incidentally, their boats were small, their nets took what they needed and it was, as you say, a sustainable practice which they actually stopped in 1976 due to the effect on the numbers.

Some of the largest White sharks ever recorded were taken accidentally in the Balearics and during the Matanza when they were found in the nets after having followed the tuna in there, from '62 to '72 in mallorca it was a yearly occurance, including 3 in 5 days within a couple of miles of each other of the north west of Mallorca. When the fishery stopped, they stopped seeing White Sharks (although evidence they are still there occassionally crops up) but the lack of large tuna in the Med has had a crippling effect on the presence of GW's there and contrary to what a lot of people think, the traditional fishermen in Mallorca at least, see this as a tragedy.

The Tuna they are seeing there now and tiny compared to the days of old and the knock on effect on other marine life is clearly evident. I don't want to ruin my film for you so I'll stop waffling but really glad you brought this up actually :)

Shark Diver said...

No hope for the Bluefin and I'll stake a fine bottle on it.

Time to practice conservation triage.

Is that statement heretical?

To some yes, but it is a reality and the sooner folks start looking at it in the face the sooner we can focus on winning solutions.

By the way that's stunning video when you consider where this fishery once was just 40-60 years ago.

DaShark said...

You're on buddy! :)

Yup epic video - and I betcha that those rods in the pic were spliced bamboo, and that it took two reels (the first was attached to the second and thrown overboard when it was about to get spooled) to haul in one of those monsters!