Sustainable fishing


The inhabitants of the sea are disappearing. The nets and our jaws are consuming them one by one. Last November (*) an article in ‘Science’ magazine predicted the collapse of commercial fishing by the year 2048. An event that has already been foreseen in the reduction in the shoals of cod.

Cod catches in millions of tons. Period: 1950-2002. Blue: North East Atlantic. Green: North West Atlantic. Red: Total

Our grandchildren will see many fish just in the aquarium or in historical documents. To resolve the problem we need to get too many countries to agree. Too many interests and even too many scoundrels. And to define a sustainable ecosystem and fishing quotas for each nation. Improbable.
There is an alternative. Starting from our behaviour. From the money we spend and how we spend it.
In 1999 the Monterey Bay Acquarium has started an initiative called Seafoodwatch. The species that are going into extinction are listed in a pocket guide that has already seen 8 million copies distributed.
Among these are the monkfish, the red snapper, the shark, the sturgeon, and the swordfish. The guide also shows alternative choices of species that are not at risk of extinction. Many Californian restaurants have joined the sustainable fishing initiative and are eliminating from their menus the species at risk.
To get the initiative going in Italy I will translate the guide with the permission of the Monterey Bay Acquarium. I will make it available in pdf format and I will insert it on the blog with a list of all the Italian restaurants that are joining the initiative.
(*) Global Loss of Biodiversity Harming Ocean Bounty Science

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 12:52 PM in | Comments (9)
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It may be too late to reverse all the damages we have done to our struggling planet, but it is not too late to avoid making it worse. Of course it will require some effort and some thought in our daily behaviour and to abandon our spoilt, careless attitute.
Sadly we cannot count on any information or help from our governments, as usual silenced by the perverse logic of profit of big corporations or busy playing politics.
I found this list of fish to avoid. Unlike the one published by the Monterey bay acquarium, this is adressed especially to UK and European consumer.
Let's make good use of it!!!

Posted by: Maddalena Freccero | February 16, 2007 11:33 AM

It’s time for the debate on global climate change to move on. The scientific evidence and economic impact of global warming are finally under the sun, whereas ethical issues are still disregarded. Environmental factors can deepen divides between peoples and communities. The environment itself can be dramatically affected by conflict and negative economic development. Political cooperation is needed to take actions reducing environmental stress, improving human security and granting peace.

Climate change kills thousands of people a year, and leaves millions more starving or displaced as it devastates economies around the world. The most unfair aspect of all this is that the rich nations, most responsible for global warming, are only marginally affected by its effects, whereas the poor countries are the those suffering the worst consequences. Climate change should be seen as a human rights issue.

We need to politicise shared environmental challenges and linking them with development and security. We need to lobby our governments to demonstrate we are seriously concerned about the environment and the consequences of negletting it. Through this blog and the well known and well reputed Grillo, we can raise awareness on this topics and on the necessity to act together and immediately! Share it with all your friends and acquaintances, that’s my call.

Posted by: Veronica Rovegno | February 11, 2007 11:56 AM

I think we need to create an international civil society movement to put pressure on all government to take immediate action to stop the global warming and all related environmental disasters that are threatening our plant. We also need to raise the awareness of the people to respect and love the world we live in. There is no more time to waist in wars. We need to allocate the available resources in finding solutions and implement them. I am ready to work on this project of mobilizing peolpe and Government through Grillo blog. Lets count ourselves and see if we can organize an international day for saving the planet.

Posted by: Monica Carco' | February 11, 2007 09:13 AM

Hallo!her in Australia the government have closed large area of coast and sea,for marine sanctuary, and park,where fishing is prohibited,I think is a smart move,few months ago I was very lucky to witness in the ocean very close to the coast,a whale with baby,it was awesome!

Posted by: eva kulnura | February 10, 2007 12:21 AM

In Canada we are witnessing this ecological disaster with dismay. At the beginning of the last Century the giant salmon of the Fraser river was over-fished and disappeared and now the rest of the salmon population is under severe stress. The cod population is almost extinct (there used to be so many of them that cod was the cheapest fish around)and now shrimps are beginning to be affected because cod fishermen have switched to catching shrimp. Oceans that were teeming with sea life are now empty of it in many areas. Fishing fleets of many Countries are using drag nets to harvest the bottom of the sea destroying all forms of life in it for ever. Countries like Japan, Norway, Spain, Denmark and France are particularly involved with bottom trawling on the high seas.

Posted by: Enrico Rossi | February 9, 2007 04:25 PM

Someone might care to watch this:

and then sign here:

Posted by: paola filinesi | February 9, 2007 03:35 PM

Hi Beppe!
thanks for your continuous good efforts!
It is certainly worthwhile to introduce such an initiative to the Italian realm, however, bear in mind that the situation is far more complicated than is may seem. First of all, apart from a few clearly recognisable species (swordfish, orange roughy, patagonian toothfish...), most of the Monterrey list does not apply to Italian restaurants: certainly some of those species are marketed globally (and on those marketed frozen in fillets, sometimes is very difficult to exert any control), but the vast majority of fish species harvested, marketed and served in Italy are typical of the Mediterranean environment (and will hence not even be known by those who compiled the guide). Also, english commercial names are often vague and applied to more than one species and therefore to dozens of different stocks, managed differently and with different viability and status (the red snapper, for instance, is a name that is given to at least 10 different species of Sparids and Lutjanids in the Atlantic and Indo-pacific domains).
Mediterranean fisheries are also very complicated to understand, as many of them (if we exclude maybe 4 or 5 major resources, such as "nasello", "triglia di fango", "gambero rosso", "alici", "pescespada") are mixed, non-selective fisheries (often artisanal and local) whereby lots of different fish are harvested without too much control, without real collection and recordings of landings, and with little info on stock structure, viability and dynamics.
Having said this, the initiative, I stress once again, is definitely meritory, but I strongly believe it would require a more planned, considerate, tailored, long-term work, in partnership with specialist scientists, some of whom might even be already to some extent involved in similar activities, or at least certainly interested to collaborate with you on this matter.
All the best,
(feel free to translate this and post it into the italian section)

Posted by: Stefano Mariani | February 9, 2007 03:00 PM

Thank you Beppe for highlighting this problem.

Like you rightly point out, there are too many economic and also cultural interests involved
to solve this problem (or any other for that matter ) by leaving it to politicians or other similar parties with vested interests.

Real changes will have to start with ourselves and with setting a different daily example to all those we touch with our lives, by paying more attention to mother nature in general, not just the fish, by realizing that we are all PART OF a gigantic ecosystem with very complex and delicate balances, and not SEPARATE FROM it.

The damage we cause to nature, we also cause it to
ourselves, but especially to all future generations which might not even have a world left to live in, if we do not stop consuming and polluting in a totally irresponsible way, with total disregard for the consequences, because we have been thaught to consider mother nature as something we can exploit and destroy freely, and the only things that really matter in life are our
comfort but, especially, the profits which can be made in the process of destroying the world.

This way of thinking and behaving has "worked" for
many generations, long enough to become something most people give for granted and never question, but the damage caused has compounded to the extent that we can no longer ignore it, and we have to start facing the fact that life ( not just human life, but the entire ecosystem ) should be senior to money and not the other way around.

The time has come to start paying more attention to our daily behaviours and have the courage of making the changes which are necessary to make, even if they affect all the daily comforts and routines we got used to, without ever paying attention to the consequences; this way we at
the so called base of the pyramid, will influence
the entire process all the way to the top, as any
market needs consumers in order to exist and responsible consumers will create responsible markets and sustainable ways of life.

Personally I have become vegetarian ( as well as taking other actions ) in order to play my part in stopping this insane consumer chain which is going
to stop anyway, eventually, when there will be nothing left alive, and everyone will be forced to face those bitter realities which they tried to avoid facing for too long.

Posted by: Stefano Manfreo | February 9, 2007 02:40 PM

Well said Beppe! here in Leeds cod (the staple fish used in fish and chips) has already been substituted by the equally good haddock. I absolutely love eating fish but I am increasingly feelig guilty when I buy some.

Posted by: piero sanna | February 9, 2007 01:38 PM

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