Thursday, November 02, 2006

WaPo: Seafood Population Depleted by 2048, Study Finds

The idea we might run out of fish is completely believable and demonstrates the critical problem with fisheries politics. Every year stocks dwindle. Every year scientists call for massive cuts in quotas. Every year quotas are cut by an amount that is insufficient to halt the decline.

Jarred Diamond explains a similar set of political processes in his book Collapse. This should be required reading for all politicians. The point is that civilizations can and do collapse and the reasons for this occurring are very much the same reasons that stop our politicians getting to grips with issues like exhaustion of the fisheries.

The action of the politicians is not just shortsighted from an environmental point of view, it is dooming the fishing industry to extinction as well. No fish, no fishing. If the industry had accepted the cuts proposed in the 1950s quotas would be an order of magnitude larger than they are today. Instead the fishermen fight every quota cut tooth and nail.

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