Weeping Under Pisces Essay

894 words - 4 pages

Fishing is one of the oldest and most traditional methods of gathering food and promoting commerce. As early as the first century B.C., fisheries were harvesting pearls to sell as jewelry (Kunz and Stevenson, 1908). Fisheries have existed for over two thousand years, and remain prominent today. In recent years, new technologies have revolutionized the methods used to catch marine animals. Ironically, however, these methods may be creating a grim future for the fishing industry, as well as the marine ecosystem. Over-fishing has resulted in dangerously low numbers of certain marine species, primarily large predators, as well as rapidly drying revenue streams for fisheries.One species that has suffered greatly from the onslaught of the new fishing arsenals is the giant bluefin tuna. Fen Montaigne, a journalist for National Geographic, eloquently describes this incredible creature, and the threat it faces from fisheries, in his article entitled, Still Waters: The Global Fish Crisis. He describes the bluefin as being one of the most magnificent fish in the world, growing to twelve feet in length, and weighing up to fifteen hundred pounds. It can live up to thirty years, and, unlike most fish, it is warm-blooded (2007). But its most damning feature is its buttery belly meat, which is layered with fat, making for excellent sushi (2007). In recent years, people have launched campaigns to hunt, kill, and sell these magnificent creatures. Massive armadas, guided by spotter planes, are netting tens of thousands of bluefins, often times illegally. Montaigne warns of the terrible threat of this persistent voracity: "So many giant bluefin have been hauled out of the Mediterranean that the population is in danger of collapse." (2007, para 3).This crisis is not limited to only one species. Worldwide, many species are becoming victims of this holocaustic kill mission. Some of the species that have reached dangerously low levels, or are likely to do so in the near future, are cod, hake, herring, haddock, mackerel, plaice, saithe, and whiting (Greenpeace, n.d.). Methods such as beam trawling are killing billions each year. "Each sweep appears to kill between 15 to 55% of the animals, depending on the species." (Greenpeace, n.d.).It is difficult to know exactly how much the numbers of fish have fallen, as a whole. According to Montaigne, "Some argue that stocks of many large oceangoing fish have fallen by 80 to 90 percent, while others say the declines have been less steep" (2007). However, this does not mean that there is room to doubt the devastating effects of rampant fish killing. Montaigne goes on to say, "…all agree that, in most places, too many boats...

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