I was impressed by some dazzling good news yesterday. It turns out that as of 2010, the US will not be overfishing the oceans off its coasts. Through brutal regulations, the fisheries departments have figured out the right kind of nets and the right number of boats, and now we’re catching the same amount as are being born.
The professor who made this announcement was careful to point out that it was rare, indeed, though 2010 was the target, it’s a stunning success and points out clearly that conservation can work. But there are plenty of former fishermen in Gloucester and in New Bedford who rued the day they ever came up with these nets. A new concept has emerged…fishing areas are divided into pods, and as a group, the boats divide up what can be sustainably taken and once one species is out, they all have to sail back home.
We are way ahead of the Europeans and everyone else with a coastline, and for setting up regulations that fishermen followed, we proved we are more civilized than we might have thought. Rogue fishermen continue to deplete valuable species in other parts of the world.
One fact no fisheries expert would ever doubt is that by fishing and removing the right amount of fish, you actually improve the chances of there being more fish the following year.