mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Ending Overfishing
Progress in the Battle Greens Should Be Fighting

The world got a little smarter about fishing this week, thanks to developments on both sides of the Atlantic. First, Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropic foundation issued a $53 million grant to combat overfishing off the coasts of Asia and South America. The FT reports:

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ $53m will support the work of three US groups that will promote reforms to boost fish populations over the next five years in Brazil, Chile and the Philippines, three countries that account for about 7 per cent of the world’s wild fish catch. […]

It is one of the largest one-off philanthropic grants ever made for such work and one of the more unusual, say marine advocacy groups, because it aims to show how investors can make money from tackling the problem.

These millions could go a long way if they convince developing countries to curtail the short-term economic gains brought by rampant fishing for the long-term prosperity sustainable fish stocks can provide. But Bloomberg’s largesse isn’t the only good news on the overfishing front. Brussels is finally moving forward with new policies to prevent rampant overfishing in its member states’ waters after reaching a funding deal late yesterday. Reuters reports:

EU diplomats backed a 6.5 billion euro ($8.9 billion) deal to help fishermen adapt to new rules, ending years of debate over reforms of the European Union’s fishing policy aimed at ending decades of over-fishing…The funding agreement covers the years 2014 to 2020 and is meant to fund equipment, such as new nets that allow smaller fish to escape, that could help replenish stocks.

This is heartening progress on a very serious issue. Overfishing can have near-permanent deleterious effects on aquatic ecosystems, so the sooner we address it, the better off we’ll be. While many greens waste time and energy on futile unicorn hunts, urgent problems are neglected—overfishing being one of the most serious. This is a battle greens should fight, and it’s one they can win. More of this, please.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “This is a battle greens should fight, and it’s one they can win. More of this, please.”

    This is a complete misunderstanding of the environmentalists, they don’t want to be successful, as being successful means all the funding, grants, and donations vanish, and they all have to go find new jobs. Every time the environmentalists are successful, like with CFC’s and holes in the ozone, or endangered species no longer endangered, you can see them scrambling for a new urgent issue to milk. This is how the whole “Global Warming” hoax came about, no matter that none of the computer models are predictive, or that data had to be manipulated to “hide the decline” in temperatures. Success is a death knell for the environmentalists.

  • TommyTwo

    “This is a battle greens should fight, and it’s one they can win”

    How not to win: I skimmed a “health article” a few weeks ago that purported to educate me as to what kinds of seafood were good for me. Eight of the ten commandments were of the form: “Thou shalt not eat this kind of seafood for should thou and all thy bretheren eat two tons of it a week, it shall surely die out. Thou shalt instead eat such-and-such an alternative, unless it be GMO, in which case thou shalt most assuredly die a horrible death for eating this abomination unto the Lord.” Since I read this article online, I couldn’t even use it to wrap my fish. (I am using “fish” as a euphemism for dolphin steaks.)

  • gabrielsyme

    Stopping overfishing is best understood as an attempt to see what can be salvaged from the wreckage of the marine environment rather than a means of preventing environmental destruction. The damage, by and large, is done.

    What remains to be seen is to what extent the natural environment will recover. I believe that eventually the environment will restore itself to the status quo post ante, but it will be slow work given the more-or-less stable suboptimal equilibria points many ecosystems seem to be caught in.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service