Racing to the bottom is the only tuna fisheries management game being played, and it’s a losing game.
Catch reduction to protect Indian Ocean Yellowfin, Pacific Big Eye, and even Skipjack proving insufficient to avoid stock collapse.
Skipjack tuna prices (a low-grade species) are now the highest ever reaching $1750+ per tonne this week.
As scarcity of fish keeps prices skyrocketing the business as usual dividing of the spoils remains the only game afloat.
Tuna stocks on tuna pastures are being eroded from two sides, clearly fishing pressure, aka overfishing, on the last of the dwindling stocks is a crisis but it comes with the built in hedge of rising prices for ever scarcer product. Far worse than overfishing is the refusal of tuna authorities to recognize the collapse of the carrying capacity of ocean pastures to sustain healthy tuna populations. Salvador Dali’s famous Tuna slaughter painting, seen above, is proving prescient.
The business as usual focus exclusively on ‘the catch economics’ which leads to political/industry battles over who gets what share of the dwindling stocks is proving to be a race to the bottom game. The clock is running out for the fish as the players appear all determined to stay at the dark and smokey gaming table to the bitter end.
Measures approved recently by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) to reduce the catch of prized Yellowfin tuna adopted late last year are surely to prove to be insufficient to save the collapsing stocks, experts are now reporting. While the IOTC ‘s small catch reduction recommendations adopted last year were a step in the right direction the key problem is that few nations are complying.
The IOTC scientific committee called for what it thought was as a ‘politically acceptable’ reduction in catches of 20% from 2014 levels, however IOTC member nations have agreed only to a range of reductions from 5% to 15%. Only the EU purse seine fleet with its massive technologically advanced ships, every NGO’s favourite ‘overfishing’ whipping boys, has agreed to the 15% reduction while other fishers are being held to much lower reductions, most as low as 5%.
Since the EU purse seine fleet account for a less than half the total yellowfin tuna catch, the combined efforts fall far short of what is needed. Even with the called for 20% reduction IOTC experts have stated this only provides a 50/50 chance of saving the stocks over the course of the next 10 years. In play are the spoils of the game. The fisheries of the Western Indian Ocean region are presently valued at $333.8 billion, and in the frenzy to fight for shares of the bounty the region’s fisheries based economies and food supplies are now facing an offal future.
The business as usual nationally fragmented tuna industry everywhere is far from unification on the science, policy, and regulation that might preserve and protect the stocks and never ever say anything about restoration and sustaining of fish to historic levels of health and abundance.
In a recent report by the World Wildlife Fund of Europe their analysis focused exclusively on the typical NGO ‘bad overfishing meme.’ It stated that the leaders of the western Indian Ocean nations and fishery can either continue with business-as-usual, overseeing the steady decline of ocean assets, or to seize the moment to secure the natural ocean assets that will be crucial for the future of fast-growing coastal communities and economies.
The WWF remained itself in the business-as-usual posture and offered no solution (aside from the ever present donate here button) save pouring blame on the usual suspects and demanding floggings all around.
The old sailor’s adage has never seemed more apropos,
“the floggings will continue until morale improves.”
In lieu of more floggings here’s a real world solution to bring back the tuna
Ocean Pasture Restoration Will Immediately Return Indian Ocean Tuna Pastures From East to West To Historic Abundance
Today our proven safe, sustainable, low cost, regenerative technologies and methodologies to restore and revive ocean fish pastures is standing ready to be deployed. Our work involves perfected ‘Ecosystem Service’ methods to prescribe and replenish vital mineral micronutrients that are in ever more diminishing supply due to the consequences of high and rising CO2 levels.
Our fossil fueled CO2 emissions of a trillion tonnes over the past century have dramatically increased and resulted in global greening of dry grasslands around the world.
More grass growing means less dust blowing, and it is dust that blows in the wind that delivers vital mineral nutrients to sustain ocean pastures. The solution, give back to the world’s oceans the dust we are denying them.
Time has finally run out on the reserve capacity and resilience of Indian Ocean pastures and they are today rapidly suffering from the drought of dust and becoming ever more blue ocean deserts.
Proven At Large Scale
In 2012 the largest ocean fish pasture restoration project ever to be undertaken was performed (by me) in the NE Pacific Ocean. In dying ocean salmon pastures my single fishing boat load of prescription mineral dust turned that blue desert into a lush ocean pasture for a remarkably low cost.
The following year in Alaska the expected catch of one of the five species of salmon, the Pink Salmon, was forecast to be 50 million fish. Instead when the Pink Salmon swam into Alaskan fishermen’s nets the catch turned out to be 226 million fish, the largest catch in all of history.
Indian Ocean tuna, especially the Yellowfin, can be almost immediately returned and sustained at historic abundance as we choose to become caring stewards of their ocean tuna pastures. IT JUST WORKS!