Aug 31, 2009

New Arctic Fisheries

Where once there was ice, now there are fishing grounds.

As climate change melts away at the polar ice caps, it's beginning to reveal new areas for commercial fishing north of Alaska.

For those of you that are unaware or are naysayers/inbreeds here is where we stand on the melting arctic ice caps.

mad shrinkage.

The U.S. Secretary of Commerce approved a plan last week to halt the expansion of commercial fishing in Arctic waters until researchers gather sufficient information on fish stocks to prevent adverse impacts of commercial fishing on the arctic marine ecosystem.

This was a little surprising to me, because I really thought it would be something like:
The U.S. Secretary of Commerce approved the expansion of commercial fishing in Arctic waters. On your mark, get set, go!

The Arctic Fishery Management Plan will govern any future commercial fishing for fish and shellfish in federal waters. Apart from some species that are managed under different authorities, the plan will regulate arctic cod, saffron cod, and snow crab fisheries. Since I like pictures and you like pictures. Here are some pictures.

Arctic cod

Saffron cod

Snow crab

I feel like this is the way it should be done. We go into a new environment; we conduct some science, establish procedures before authorizing a fishery, and monitor and adjust the plan as needed after the fishery takes off. Sadly, the reality is that this is an extreme case. In a world full of overfished, fully exploited fisheries, the mistakes have already been made.

Hold on a sec, I need to climb up on this box. Ok…alright.

I sincerely hope that we’re starting to take hold of this precautionary approach with not only the world’s fisheries, but the environment in general. We’ve thrown away our grandfather’s ideals of an “inexhaustible” planet, and we’re desperately trying to give a serious upgrade to our father’s generational “eh, maybe we should have done something earlier” attitude about environmental catastrophes.

I believe it’s up to my generation to not only attempt to solve the mistakes of our fathers, but to embrace the precautionary principle. In a sentence: We have a responsibility to protect the public when we know better. No more fixing it after it breaks, but making sure it never breaks in the first place.

Ok, I’m down. Stop throwing stuff at me.

But honestly, who would want to fish up in the Arctic? I’m fine right here in my flippie floppies and my sunglasses. Then again... maybe in a few years when Florida is underwater and it’s hotter than Hades, I’ll be wearing the same thing up in Alaska.

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