Representatives of the bottom-contact fishing industry have expressed opposition to some restrictions in the area.
But there is only so much the government can actually protect against. Some limits are natural, and others jurisdictional.
For example, Canada is not allowed to tell ships they can’t pass through its marine protected areas. Normal ship traffic — and its associated noise, risk of ship strikes, discharge of bilge water and other pollution — will be allowed just like everywhere else.
The dolphin drive hunts that take place each year in Taiji, Japan, have garnered international attention as the world has learned about the mass slaughter of dolphins and the ruthless captive selection process. These brutal hunts are documented by our team of Cove Monitors each season, and shared with the international public so that attention may be drawn to this outdated and unnecessarily cruel practice.
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Canada is not immune. In fact, he said that fisheries scientists played a significant role in the disappearance of northern cod off Newfoundland and Labrador in the early 1990s.
“The fishing by foreign fleets was reported,” Pauly noted, “but it was not reported in Canada.”
Fishing boats from Spain, Poland, Germany, and other countries were catching large numbers of cod, but these fish were not being linked to Canada in the statistics.
Another problem, according to Pauly, was the development of trawlers that could catch fish at much deeper levels.
For five centuries, North Atlantic cod were being taken at levels no lower than 100 metres below the surface. But these fish lived at depths of up to 500 metres.
“So the fish that were caught were the ones that committed suicide by going to shallow water,” Pauly quipped.
But as modern boats could capture fish more than a kilometre under the surface, the “bank of fish” was rapidly depleted. And government scientists underestimated the scale of the problem.
“It was like a rush,” Pauly said. “And this happened with Canada having no control over the fishery.”
Pauly tries to level playing field for communities
Vanishing Fishis made up of a series of essays telling Pauly’s colourful life story as a student and scientist in Germany, Indonesia, the Philippines, Peru, and Canada.
In one part of the book, he describes a trip that he and his wife took to the Broughton Archipelago near the northern tip of Vancouver Island to visit fish-farm critic and fisheries researcher Alexandra Morton.
Morton took Pauly on her small boat to collect samples of smolts in the vicinity of local aquaculture operations.
“We got about 100 little fish—salmon, herring, and so on,” Pauly recalled. “They were all fingerlong, all of them, and all of them had lice.”
He added that if these fish were the same size as him, the lice would be the size of a dinner plate on his chest.
Later, Pauly was shocked to hear the head of research with the federal fisheries department claim that Morton was “spiking the salmon” with lice.
“It was totally denied,” Pauly said with a tone of incredulity.
He added that the Norwegian companies that owned B.C. aquaculture operations knew that there was a genuine problem with parasites from their operations affecting wild stocks. But because a DFO boss so adamantly denied this, it stifled the willingness of some departmental scientists to investigate this in B.C.
Pauly said that his research into reconstructing fish catches through ecosystem modelling is designed to help level the playing field between governments and communities.
That’s because he’s giving average people in the developing world an opportunity to draw their own conclusions.
“I was always motivated by…giving people tools with which they could work—as bad or as well—as people, my colleagues, in the developed world,” he stated.
Since moving to Canada in 1994 to work at UBC, he’s also concluded that his work can assist people in civil society, like Morton, who are holding the government scientists to account.
Catch reconstruction can also offer insights into what’s happening in societies.
As an example, Pauly cited the decline in the Inuit’s capture of Arctic char following very high levels in the 1950s and 1960s.
This came as a result of the RCMP slaughtering Indigenous people’s sled dogs when they were forced to end their nomadic ways and live in communities.
“Char at the time were taken and frozen and they were fed to the sled dogs,” Pauly explained. “Then when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police killed the dogs, they didn’t need all those char.”
In B.C., it’s fashionable for consumers to try to eat seafood with a view to choosing what products are least harmful from an environmental perspective.
Pauly pointed out that nobody wants to eat the last panda, for example.
But he’s also concerned about the relentless focus on “consuming right” rather than addressing the large-scale political factors leading to the collapse of fish species.
“Take the example of shark fin soup,” he said. “You cannot get rid of [this] by not consuming shark fins as an individual. If your family doesn’t consume shark fins, big deal. There will be other families that do.”
In fact, he said that 90 percent of the population doesn’t care. And many of them cannot care because they’re preoccupied with survival.
The answer, according to Pauly, is to mobilize the state, through political action, to ban taking fins of sharks.
“And if the government then abolishes this, you have reached the other 90 percent—the ones who don’t care.”
He added that nobody says that if they drive prudently, that will stop speeding on the roads.
“We still need cops,” Pauly emphasized.
Similarly, he said that smoking cigarettes would never be eliminated if individuals chose not to consume them, no matter how well-intentioned they were.
“Once there is enough push for it, the state can pick up the issue.”
Long-term future looks bleak
One of Pauly’s gravest worries, however, is the public’s apathetic response to the climate crisis, which is wreaking havoc on fish stocks.
He said people realize what’s happening but it’s come at a time when political and democratic institutions are falling apart.
“We should have transitioned toward ecologically sound methods,” he declared. “We should have a transition to renewable energy on a grand scale.
“The state, as an entity, should have the support of people, should be able to tax people, [and] should be able to engineer things,” Pauly continued. “It doesn’t—at the same time this is urgently needed. There’s a deficit of trust and in democracies of the west, so we will not meet the challenge. I’m very pessimistic in this context.”
What especially disturbs him is that humanity has the tools at hand to address climate change created by rising greenhouse gas emissions. This sets us apart from previous catastrophes, such as the Great Plague of London in the 1660s, which killed a quarter of the city’s population in 18 months.
“We know what is happening, but no government would be able to implement what is needed,” Pauly said. “For example, Canada—if it is to fulfill the requirement we would expect—would have to abandon this dream of being a petrostate.”
He noted that when he came to Canada, fisheries were going kaput all over the world, including off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and Labrador. But there were strong voices in civil society trying to protect stocks.
Pauly doesn’t see the same level of energy being mobilized to fight the threat that climate changes poses to human civilization.
“There is no social force…capable of pushing our government into action because most people don’t understand the urgency,” he said.
The whales, destined for “life” in captivity, would have been shipped to various aquariums and marine parks, the bulk of which are located in China. However, drone footage taken post-capture showed the mammals swimming in tiny sea pens in the freezing waters off Nakhodka, in Russia’s far east. The images sparked international outrage: conservationists and scientists voiced concern over the mammals’ welfare, and thousands of individuals signed petitions and sent letters to authorities to investigate the so-called “whale jail”.
After two orcas and three beluga whales “disappeared” under questionable circumstances, the Russian government stepped in and initiated a criminal investigation of the four private companies involved in the capture. The companies have been fined as the investigation continues. In addition, under the direction of President Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian Federal Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography announced the remaining whales – 10 orcas and 87 beluga whales – would be released in groups from June until October 2019. This process has now begun, with two orcas and six beluga whales on route to their release location.
‛ The War That Saved The Whales ’ |by @CaptPaulWatson | For The Last Couple Of Years I Have Been Doing The Research To Write A Book About A Little Known Chapter Of The History Of The American Civil War…▼ http://tinyurl.com/y5yoch3b
During the United States’ Civil War, Confederate Navy Raiders struck fear into the hearts of Union Whalers. Under officers like James Waddell, Raphael Semmes, and others, the Confederate raiders sank or captured dozens of Union whalers.
Like those Confederate captains, Paul Watson has led a rebellious organization to challenge contemporary whalers. In his latest book Watson recounts the story of the Confederate ships that targetted Union whaling ships and how the influence his tactics as the founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and as a captain on many of its campaigns for the past four decades.
About the Author
Paul Watson founded Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 1977. He is the author of several books.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Foreword by Claude Berube, PhD. vii
Introduction : Hunting Whalers. xiii
Chapter One : War & Whales. 1
Chapter Two : First Blood. 7
Chapter Three : The Destruction of the Sierra. 19
Chapter Four : The Great Stone Fleet. 23
Chapter Five : Rebel Buccaneer. 29
Chapter Six : Launching the Wolf of the Sea. 47
Chapter Seven : Azorean Bonfires: The Death of Nine
Tweet from @SeaShepherdPaul: ‛ The War That Saved The Whales ’ |by @CaptPaulWatson | For The Last Couple Of Years I Have Been Doing The Research To Write A Book About A Little Known Chapter Of The History Of The American Civil War…▼ http://tinyurl.com/y5yoch3b