finally, someone talking sense…

Here are some quotes from a paper I found online today:

The popular concept of salmon is changing from that of a can on the grocer’s shelf to a source of international contention… Basically the conflict is one between conservation and advancing technique. It is merely another example of a world-wide problem, which is complicated in this case, however, by the factors of national interest and investment.

The general history of fisheries, as of other forms of natural wealth, has been one of more or less rapid depletion due to increasing intensity of exploitation. In this process technical advances has played an obvious and vital part.

If you have much doubt check out my post from earlier today: who are the culprits? Part II – i.e. world fisheries have doubled from 70 million tons a year in 1979 to over 140 million tons in 2005 – despite stern warnings, including the United Nations, for years that the ocean can not sustain this type of pressure.

Demand has increased, and the methods of satisfying the demands have been extended and improved. The result has been a dwindling of the natural reserves of fish. Technical advance with the increased range of fishing operations has, moreover, increased the possibilities of international struggle for the supply of raw fish, a tendency which is again heightened by diminution of world reserves.

With resources thus facing depletion, conservation through regulation of the fishing industry becomes necessary and to a certain extent has been undertaken… conservation measures have been applied with sufficient success to place the supply of fish on the basis of permanent yield.

See, now this statement is stating “conservation” with a direct purpose. There’s no wishy-washy attempts at green-washing this issue. In this situation we are talking “conservation” to ensure a “permanent yield”. This is fisheries management.

If you haven’t seen my riffs on ‘conservation‘ check out some earlier posts in the “Bumpf” category or conservation concept conversation.

In short, with specific reference to Canada’s Wild Salmon Policy for Pacific Salmon – conservation is stated as the number one goal. However, the clarity on conserving why, for what, is like listening to one of my 3-yr old kids explain why they accidentally pooped on the floor before reaching the toilet: “well…um…uh, I was… um… I meant to… umm… ooops…”

Simpler just to say what you mean and mean what you say.

Conservation” as framed in Canada’s Wild Salmon Policy simply means we are trying to conserve salmon for the aboriginal, commercial and sport fisheries. Why not just frame it like the quote above – conservation is to ensure a permanent yield for the fisheries?

Don’t wrap it up in wet tissue paper concepts of “ecosystem-based planning” and other bumpf and bunk like “conservation units” – and send it out for Christmas. If you were really doing true “ecosystem-based” we’d know exactly how much salmon the bears, eagles, sculpins, weasels, and other several hundred species are eating and how many decomposing salmon trees and other plants need to absorb – then make sure they get their feed first.

Keep the attempts at “managing” fisheries to policies of fisheries management. However, make sure those fisheries are based on solid, adaptable concepts that truly account for complex systems such as animal populations. We will never accurately predict animal population – especially extraordinary critters like salmon that migrate thousands of kilometres through oceans, bays, straits, and rivers and streams.

Too many factors – not enough algebraic equations. It’s like trying to predict earthquakes.

One suggestion: maybe if you have one government ministry managing fisheries (i.e. specific goal to kill – or grow and sell – as many fish as possible) – don’t have the same ministry (and in many cases same people) trying to look after and research the ecosystem components and needs.

That’s like bankers making their own regulations – oh wait… we’ve seen the consequences of that over the last two years…

Now the sad bit about my excerpts above – they are from a paper “Alaska Salmon in World Politics” from Volume 7 Issue number 5 of the Far Eastern Survey published March 2, 1938. The paper discusses the tensions between Alaska and Japan regarding salmon during World War II.

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