Like many other folks in my business (I’m a marine biologist in case you missed that.), I’ve been repeating over and over the need to back off fishing for forage species like krill, capelin, herring, and other species. Hopefully this article is the beginning of some realization that we are collapsing our world unless we change out ways.
It’s a woefully familiar story: scientists are calling for deeper cuts to quotas in order to stop the collapse of a species. This time around, it’s herring.
A new study entitled Little Fish, Big Impact by the Lensfest Forage Fish Task Force in Washington, D.C., recommends cutting forage fish rates in half globally, according to a story in The Daily Gleaner.
The report argues that forage fish should stay in the water, where they feed large species such as tuna, and that those fish bring a much higher economic value as food. A University of Maine professor interviewed for the Gleaner story said herring support the Bay of Fundy’s entire food chain. He noted that one of the reasons why the bay’s mouth is so heavily populated with whales is because so many elements of the food chain, including the herring, congregate there.
Herring are a favoured food for marine mammals, seabirds and many large fish, including tuna, salmon and cod.
Already, overfishing off the South African coast has caused the collapse of the anchovy fishery there. Not a big deal, you think? Consider that the subsequent increase in plankton depleted oxygen levels near the ocean floor, creating a dead zone.
So here’s a radical thought: why not become vegetarian?
You think that’s coming out of left field? Well, consider the herring are being fished for the plate, as were the anchovy and as are the tuna, salmon and so forth.
It strikes me that the vegetarian lifestyle doesn’t involve overfishing, or salmon farming, or killing cattle or any other number of harmful practices. Rather, it encompasses – get this – growing things.
Imagine, a way of life built around improving our planet instead of looking at it as an endless resource, which logic tells us it is not.
Instead of having to cut quotas, the fish could be left to their own.
– Charles Mandel
Illustration copyright Art MacKay, 2012
- Forage Fish Harvests Should Be Halved (futurepundit.com)
- Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force – Managing a crucial link in ocean food webs (bespacific.com)
- Little Fish Need a Break (news.sciencemag.org)