There’s a brief, positive mention of Hawaii in this article at The New Republic on the world’s vanishing fish stocks.
The article predicts a global collapse of commercial fish stocks in the near future. I take it with a grain of salt—people have been predicting the end of one resources or another for decades and we always seem to find more. There does seem to be something different about industrialized fishing. It’s a perfect case of the tragedy of the commons, in which a resource owned by no one gets depleted because everyone who uses it thinks they’re entitled to all of it. With fishing, it is literally catch as catch can.
I think the article also gives short shrift to aquaculture. You ever hear of an impending chicken shortage? An approaching collapse of global cattle stocks? No, never. That’s because someone owns the chickens and the cows. They are private property first, a resource second, so the producer has every incentive to produce more of them. Chicken farmers are in charge of making chickens. No one is in charge of making more cod, so we ate ’em all.
Well, I’m neither a fisheries expert nor an economist, so a final observation pertaining to my business: I don’t know who at The New Republic stuck this article with the title “Aquacalypse Now,” but if I were the author, I’d be irritated. It’s clever, sure, but just try to pronounce it out loud. Making the reader quack like a duck when they read a headline is no way to make an article look serious. They should’ve stuck with the subtitle, “The End of Fish.”
Posted on Friday, October 2, 2009 in Permalink