In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Thursday, July 14

Lots of other news sources have been “talking fish” over the past week. Here’s a quick look at some of those stories:

  • This week’s New York Magazine featured an article explaining how strict regulations implemented in an attempt to prevent overfishing have also led to large amounts of bycatch, which fishermen must then throw (dead or dying) overboard in order to avoid fines for catching off-season, undersized, or simply too many fish. As the author describes it, this is “a waste of time, effort, fuel, and fish.” The article also briefly touches on the success of New England’s sector system at reducing bycatch with a quote from Lee Benaka, national coordinator of the NOAA Fisheries Services Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program, who explains that with additional flexibility under sectors, fishermen are able to be more careful about what they catch.
  • TIME Magazine also focused on fish this week with a detailed discussion of aquaculture, presenting it as the unavoidable future of our fish supply. Author Bryan Walsh also explains the reasons why are some are hesitant about the growth of aquaculture and how we can build aquacultural systems that place the least amount of stress on the environment. Although he notes that something will undoubtedly be lost in the transition from fish as “the last true wild food” to fish as domesticated creatures, he concludes that “if we’re all going to survive and thrive in a crowded world, we’ll need to cultivate the seas just as we do the land.”
  • Interesting news is coming from across the Atlantic as well. The European Union is working on revamping its fishing policy to protect depleted stocks and reduce bycatch, as this BBC article explains. Among the proposals for the new policy, intended to take effect in 2013, are a catch share system and a phasing out of discards. Instead of dumping bycatch overboard, fishermen would be expected to land all the fish caught, and the whole catch would count against quotas.


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