Mainstream media coverage of the critical depletion of key fish populations – and the serious economic threat it represents – echoes a key refrain at Fund Balance. Time Magazine covers how climate change is warming oceans and thus reducing their ability to support life, and CNN.com has a post by Fedele Bauccio addressing ways to halt overfishing.
In addition the U.N. recently released new findings and recommendations for how humanity can decelerate the rapid depletion of the ocean’s biological capital. Some key points:
- Blue Fin Tuna populations have dropped by 83% in the past 30 years.
- The annual 27 billion dollars in government subsidies to fishing, mostly in rich countries, is misguided since the entire value of fish caught is only 85 billion dollars.
- As a result, fishing fleet capacity is 50 to 60 percent higher than it should be.
- About 20 million workers will be displaced by ending these subsidies and thus retraining will be required.
- Fish populations can rebound quickly if no-fishing zones are expanded and their limits enforced; for example, by allowing tuna to live twice as long as they currently do, they are able on average to produce twice as many eggs.
We hope that the ongoing Gulf Coast disaster heralds a new time – one where:
- The false dichotomy between ecology and economy in the public mind is finally eliminated.
- Government and industry realize that an environment where pollution and unchecked exploitation are controlled and tightly regulated is an environment that supports healthy economic growth.
- People and governments vigorously address the fact that Climate Change is not the only impact of fossil fuel extraction and combustion, and that “market-based” strategies like cap and trade must be combined with other, precautionary and complementary policies.
- The public consciousness is imprinted permanently with the understanding that drawing down capital at a rate that exceeds one’s ability to replace it is economic and biological folly at best and suicide at worst, whether of banks or fisheries.