Guilty In Three Jurisdictions: Arctic Overfishing

ADVERTISEMENT

Some 70 percent of the world’s whitefish comes from the Arctic Ocean, cod that is fished by the extensive fleets based in Russia and Alaska, and the Barents Sea alone accounts for nearly 25 percent of the world’s supply. It would make sense then, that fishermen pull their catches out of the ocean as fast as possible.

http://inlinethumb21.webshots.com/12180/2589111800103329676S600x600Q85.jpgPhoto:
Image from Maureen “Mo” Riley on Flickr

That approach, of course, leads to overfishing, which is notoriously hard to prosecute, because it occurs either under multiple jurisdictions (say, Russian ships in American waters with Chinese processors) or none. International waters are notoriously hard to police, even for major offenses. Obviously overfishing is bad and running out of fish isn’t fun, especially one that’s tasty–but what, exactly, happens in that case?

Most notably, it’s the chain reaction that would follow from a species we like to eat disappearing–say, grouper. The big fish, which we eat, typically eat little fish, which would, in a predator-free environment, go though a population explosion. This would progress down the food chain.

Think of it as every-other species disappearing, as certain ones disappear and other reproduce in record numbers–until the ocean was full of junk that nobody wanted to eat. Unless, of course, you thought Sea Monkeys were tasty as a kid.

We’ll even throw in a free album.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT