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Friday, November 03, 2006

World Fisheries Risk Collapse in Next 40 Years

Not all resources are found in the ground. Some are found in the sea. And I find this headline interesting...

World Fisheries Risk Collapse by 2048, Scientists Say

Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) -- The world's ocean fishing grounds may be almost exhausted by 2048 if catches and pollution aren't limited, according to scientists who conducted a four-year study.

The rate at which stocks in the fishing areas have collapsed is accelerating, the scientists led by Boris Worm of Canada's Dalhousie University said today in the journal Science. A seafood species is said to have collapsed when the catch falls below 10 percent of the maximum annual haul. By 2003, 29 percent of seafood species were in that category, the scientists said.

``If the long-term trend continues, all fish and seafood species are projected to collapse within my lifetime -- by 2048,'' Worm said. ``It is a very clear trend.''

XX My view -- along with a catastrophic development for our children and the planet, this would just be a damned shame. I feasted on fresh ocean-caught snapper this week. There's nothing like it.

I got the fish by going out on fishing boats with some business associates. Yes, I said "boatS", plural. Some important people came into town for a meeting of the Supreme Council of my non-Weiss Research side project. There were only 6 of us (The Supreme Council is an exclusive group). So my partner who is organizing the day thinks it would be fun to rent two 46-foot boats and have a fishing competition.

Now, if you're like me, and know the value of a dollar, that's already whacked. Two boats for six people? Why don't we just pour the money in the Ocean? It might be more fun that way.

Anyway, my partner scoots his team aboard the "Classic" boat, leaving me and my two compadres to sail aboard the back-up boat. It's a nice boat, but it's helmed by Cap'n CantFindAFish and his first mate, Scruffy McHangover.

We are fishing, remember. Nonetheless, our captain seems determined to speed from one end of the waters off Palm Beach County to the other. We catch nothing except bait fish, and then we lose the bait fish when a shark bites through the line. The Captain and Scruffy even take to flying a giant kite with hooks dangling from it, but we're traveling so fast the only thing that could possibly catch it is an Olympic sprinter.

Meanwhile, my evil partner is callling us to gloat from his boat, which is drifting calmly along, lines on the bottom, and catching enough fish that they should have considered becoming professional fishermen.

What a bastard, eh? He should really sleep with the fishes! I think I'll organize the next fishing tournament. We'll see what happens then...

Anyway, we all get back to the dock so the other team can gloat with their fish for the cameras. The only upside to the day was they had too much fish to eat themselves and I went home with about three pounds of freshly caught snapper. And it tastes great.

Now, if scientists are right, that could all be falling by the wayside. Indeed, the number of big fish caught -- tuna, swordfish, cod -- has dropped 90% over the past half-century. You know what is rising? The number of jellyfish is rising rapidly and alarmingly, partly because the fish that eat them are gone, partly because sea temperatures are rising and jellyfish like the warmer water. What's causing the warmer ocean? Global warming, of course. Indeed, we seem to be on course for the same kind of hot-tub temperature oceans that were common when Jellyfish Ruled The Earth, hundreds of millions of years ago.

You know what wasn't around hundreds of millions of years ago? People.
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