Science Podcasts

Naked Oceans episode

Tue, 11th Jan 2011

Alternatives to Overfishing

Coral Cay boat in the Philippines (c) Coral Cay Conservation

Join us as we venture beneath the waves to uncover alternatives to overfishing. We find out what lies behind the Marine Stewardship Council's blue eco-label for sustainable seafood and talk manta ray ecotourism with Andrea Marshall, "Queen of Mantas". Continuing our look at protecting the oceans, we catch up with Coral Cay Conservation in the Philippines to find out how they've been working with coastal communities to help them protect their local piece of sea and set up fish sanctuaries. And in Critter of the Month we meet a bird that lives above, on, and even in the ocean.

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In this edition of Naked Oceans

Full Transcript

  • 06:57 - Eco-labelling for sustainable seafood

    We take a look behind the Marine Stewardship Council's eco-label for sustainable seafood

  • 14:54 - Manta Ray Ecotourism

    Manta Rays are fished in increasing numbers for their gills to make Chinese medicines. We chat to Andrea Marshall "Queen of Mantas" to find out if ecotourism could be a sustainable alternative.

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You have a dead link above.

Here is an earlier commentary about blocking off parts of the ocean to fishing for a period of time. 

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/content/latest-questions/question/2580/

The problem with such a proposal is it would cause undo hardships to local fishermen (although it might favor the big "factory boats" that fish in international waters.

Western salmon are unique in that they spawn in freshwater.  Then they head to the ocean to grow, and return to the place of birth to lay eggs and die.  Some of the salmon is intercepted in hatcheries and can be harvested, keeping the carcasses from rotting...  and eggs can be harvested.  But, of course, it is no longer a "natural" fish population then.

Probably the best thing to do is better government regulation and tracking. 

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Has-overfishing-ended-Top-US-apf-4180887621.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=main&asset=&ccode=

Something that can be done in a country like the USA with thousands of miles of coastline, but might be difficult in less "centralized" regions such as Central America or Africa.  And regions like the Gulf of Mexico involve the interests of many countries.

Fish Pirates?

One aspect will also be instructing the consumers, and perhaps protecting certain species.  Is it still legal to catch blue-finned tuna?  WHY?

What can be done about the shark-fin soup?

What about experimenting with egg harvesting and planting more species?

I suppose that any method to make the fish "rare" would drive the price of the fish up in comparison to other foods such as grains, or beef.  But, efforts such as increasing the price might help shift some of the consumer demand.  Perhaps one should change some of the advertising to encourage less fish consumption.

CliffordK, Tue, 11th Jan 2011

The link is live now.

There are so many issues involved here, we've picked out a few of them including consumer choice, ecotourism as an alternative, and setting up marine reserves to help support fished populations.

Have a listen and let us know what you think!

Oceans Helen, Tue, 11th Jan 2011

Thanks.

Good Point about empowering the people and helping them understand their stake in long-term sustainability of their "crops" as well as looking for alternatives such as eco-tourism.
Also the "Green Label".  How can one make that a more prominent issue?

Following the links...  I ended up with the Nature Article (unfortunately, only in summary format).
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nature09689.html

Figure 1: Location and success score for all study cases of fisheries co-management.

ac, Success was grouped in five categories according to number of social, ecological and economic outcomes achieved. a, Global map. Insets are Europe (b) and Southeast Asia (c). n = 130.

It is interesting that the USA, as well as parts of Europe only had moderate success/failure rankings.

But, I also know some of the struggling forces including the impact of hydroelectric power (which, of course, is an alternative to fossil fuels), as well as economic pressures. CliffordK, Wed, 12th Jan 2011

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