Something fishy?

25 Jul 2011

Fish seem to be the topic d’jour.  The Detroit Free Press has been running a series about the asian carp, which Kevin blogged about last May.  I watched a show about the possible extinction of bluefin tuna due to sushi demand.  Michigan Public Radio has been running a series about Great Lakes fish.  Earlier this month, Time magazine’s cover story was about aquaculture.  The story is interesting and I recommend reading it as it talks about the likelihood that fishing the oceans has hit its maximum and that the most sustainable way to meet the growing worldwide demand for fish is aquaculture.  Aquaculture, as the article points out, has its challenges but may be the most cost-effective and least environmentally harmful method to raise animal protein.  One particularly interesting point is that there are some fish that are easy to raise largely on plant-based food.

I find it interesting that here in the Great Lakes, we seem to have figured out how not to overfish. In 1955, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission was established by the Canadian/U.S. Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries. The Commission coordinates fisheries research, controls  invasive species and facilitates cooperative fishery management among the state, provincial, tribal, and federal management agencies.

The interagency management of fishery resources in the Great Lakes was formalized in the 1980s when A Joint Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries was ratified.  The Joint Plan implemented a framework for cooperative fishery management. The Joint Plan also recognized that the fish community in each lake must be managed as a whole and some supression of the expression of individual rights was
necessary for the common good. Each Great Lake has a committee tasked with defining objectives for the structure and function of the Lake’s fish community and identifying environmental and other issues that may impair the achievement of the objectives.

The rest of the World could take a lesson from the Great Lakes States, Provinces and Tribes – they’ve figured out a way to allow sport fishing, native fishing and some commercial fishing in a truly sustainable way (now if we could just get rid of those pesky asian carp!).

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