Friday, May 31, 2013

Fishing and Conservation - incompatible?

Source - click for detail!

Not necessarily.
But it aint gonna be easy!

And I cite.
Are we on a collision course with biodiversity and the Earth’s restorative capabilities?
If these conflicts are not proactively addressed, we will lose fish, fisheries, and treasured traditions of interacting with them. But if the conflicts are addressed proactively, we might enter into an era of “savvy stewardship.”
Read this, it is really excellent.
The problem of course being, that zero, let alone negative population and economic growth are nowhere in sight. We will inevitably get to at least 9-10 billion (if you haven't yet, do invest 13 minutes to watch this - the amazing part starts at 10:00!), and postulating a global freeze of economic growth would equate to squashing the aspirations of the developing and especially, of the underdeveloped world and simply not be ethical.

And it would also not be smart.
Watch this, again by the incomparable Hans Rosling.

Long story short?
We might be able to stop population growth - but only once those poor people move to the right = once they, too, increase their individual ecological footprints!

There are no easy solutions here.
We have long passed the tipping point of where we could have invented some form of living in harmony with nature, or the like, and those who advocate such new-agesque utopias are either stupid or money grabbing quacks and charlatans.
Instead, we will have to engage in some form of compromise whereby whilst we will continue to grow economically, we will need to try to limit the worst impact, spread it as widely as possible in order to avoid accumulation of risk, and then engage in the mitigation of the consequences and where possible, in the restoration of affected biota.

And the fishing vs conservation dilemma?
The need to feed 9 to 10 billion people, most of which will demand more and better food will exert tremendous pressure on all biota including the ocean. 
We can try to address the problem of overfishing by advocating aqua-farming of less problematic species like, say, Tilapia - but the extraction of marine wildlife will continue, and from a conservation point of view, the only realistic solution there is to advocate strict sustainability whilst promoting the creation of vast protected areas where some of the marine biodiversity will at least be given the chance to ark into a hopefully better, albeit more distant future.

That is the hope.
But is it realistic?
Frankly, dunno - but it is at least a possibility and as such, certainly worth pursuing. 
As I said here, let's however be clear that whatever wilderness the next generations will inherit will be less biodiverse and require constant proactive management.
And that's the best case scenario.

And on this happy note!

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