A reader wrote in to share an article they published about Overfishing, Conservation, Sustainability, and Farmed Fish. It’s a good article and I learned about something I didn’t even know about, drone fishing. This is bizarre and weird on many levels, and obviously only a wealthy ‘fisherman’ would be able to afford. Somebody will eventually try dropping dynamite from one of these things.
The state of the world’s oceans is rather dismal. Enormous fishing fleets have taken a huge toll upon the world’s fisheries, depleting stocks to critical levels, damaging ocean floors, corals and leaving tracks that can even be seen from space.
Commercial fishing is industrialized fishing, the automated, mechanized and super-sized fishing operations being conducted on all the world’s oceans. Enormous catches of ‘byproduct’ are scooped up along with targeted fish, only to be tossed overboard as ‘waste’ or even ground up and fed to ‘fish farms’ in an incredibly inefficient process. The end result is a serious decline in both world fisheries and fish health, making these practices among the world worst environmental disasters.
The world’s oceans have long been the gigantic dumping grounds for municipal wastes, toxic chemicals, munitions and discarded refuse, which only makes the problems even worse. Billions of tons of dangerous chemicals and discarded materials have been dumped into the ocean to slowly break down and leech their poisons into the surrounding waters.
Even worse is the amount of plastic and trash debris that finds its way downstream and from fishing nets, container ships, passenger ships into the ocean waters. Enormous gyre’s exceeding the size of Texas are the “garbage patches” of the world where billions of plastic particles circulate in an endless pattern of death.
The world’s oceans are absolutely critical for human survival, providing the vast majority of the world’s oxygen, carbon absorption and protein. When the oceans decline, humanity declines too. Many of the world’s poor are subsistence fisherman and they’ve been shut-out of their basic mode of survival by illegal fishing vessels strip-mining the oceans coastlines and even remote regions virtually bare.
Ocean piracy is a direct result of this type of activity, when acts of desperation and survival are the only means left for poor fisherman to attempt to eke out a means of living. I’m not condoning this, just making the point that fishing assaults and fishery collapse are a primary reason this has increased in recent decades.
Humanity is literally devouring its way down the food chain, going from one species to the next as top-tier species are driven to extinction. Every attempt to ‘replicate nature’ and the natural bounty and abundance that nature can provide (if left alone and harvested sustainably) has been a miserable failure. Monoculture ocean ‘farming’ isn’t a healthy or sustainable choice for fisheries. Like monoculture agriculture, these regions are devoid of a balanced eco-system where many lifeforms and fauna can co-exist within a natural balance.
The difference with the oceans is this all takes place out of sight and we don’t see the devastation or vast regions devoid of life, the oceans are MUCH larger then the land masses of the Earth which humans have terraformed into worker-slave plantation plots.
Personally, I almost never buy seafood of any type, but if and when I do (perhaps once a year), it has to be certified wild-caught. That’s my personal choice. Farmed fish are toxic and sick fish to me and I’m simply not going to eat it. Personal consumption does have an impact upon what actually happens in and on the ocean (including the slave-trade these fisheries are exploiting), but the real problem (as always) is the industrialization and methods used to strip-mine the life in the oceans. This needs to stop, the sooner the better.
Fishery collapse is real, and has occurred all over the world (documented here before), but this isn’t being prevented. What follows next is ocean collapse, along with our over-fishing and pollutants, there is also a very serious issue of ocean acidification, temperature increase and even a drastic change in the world’s ocean currents.
Personally, I still believe that humanity is miserably failing to address any of the root causes leading to our own collapse, with pathetic excuses and pretend ‘fixes’ being proposed, none which address the real issues we’ve created. The Earth and everything that is alive within it is increasingly in peril. Humanity may indeed be a ‘part of nature’, but our civilization most certainly is not. We have a choice on how we live (and make a living) on this planet, but most of these choices for billions of people and capricious corporations are all the wrong ones.
I truly admire people that either try or out of necessity, live as sustainably as they can. But they’re pretty hard to emulate – I know, I tried it myself. As Kevin has been pointing out in his commentary, the world’s money system is at fault, everyone is literally a slave to how money works and controls the world. Every resource, virtually every element in the periodic table is marketed now, packaged up and sold in shiny cellophane wrappers, forcing everyone into wage-slavery and indebted servitude. If they could sell the oxygen we need to make even more profits, they would.
To people of the modern world, this is normal and how things should be, but it wasn’t that long ago that none of this industrialized and profitized exploitation of every form of life on every continent existed. Nature did provide everything that was needed. No, it wasn’t perfect, but it also wasn’t threatened with extinction like it is now. It’s plainly obvious that a return to a different mode of living is way overdue, where humans only take what they need and leave the rest alone, allowing nature itself to regenerate and provide true sustainability.
These are conversations that are desperately needed, but they’re not happening. Instead, the focus continues to be more profits and exploitation, more greed and more consumption, more growth and more technology, more development and more ‘advancement’, all of which is a endless path to towards nothingness. If everything is taken for humans and human civilization, then what is left for nature itself? Without nature and what nature provides, nothing can survive, not even us. We can’t replicate what nature does, our experiments into this have all miserably failed. But the trajectory of civilization is to continue to exploit what nature creates (without our dubious “help”), in an attempt to literally devour it all. That’s not going to work on a finite planet.
Curiously, nobody questions how much technology and advancement we “need”. I wonder about this a lot. Human restraint doesn’t seem to be in our vocabulary. Musk stupidly wants to put people on Mars while ignoring the dying planet beneath his own feet. Yeah, I get the reason that humans may need a second home, but why can’t we take care of this one first by ending our rapacious greed and polluting practices? Everywhere humans have journeyed, we’ve left a wake of destruction in our path, Mars will be no different.
This needs to stop, at every level, before it is too late, and we find our own species on the extinction list, because that is exactly where we are heading now, faster then ever.