Wednesday, November 20, 2013

“If Humans Do Not Change, the Ocean Will Be Dead” Blog on the movie “The End of the Line”

Hello once again everyone. I mentioned earlier in the week that there would be a special blog heading this way soon. Well, I'm very excited and happy to say that it is here! So prepare to read something a little different than what you have read on this blog before. I'll let the author introduce herself, but I can tell you all right now that her words are going to be nothing short of fact. As far as it's relation to this blog I would call it a blog on bluefin tuna, but it concerns commercial fishing in general as well. Before you get to that through I do want to tell you guys that there will be an update on my previous blog regarding Anonymous and their threats to attack Japanese websites over the issue of the dolphin slaughter in Taiji at the end of the special blog. So without further delay, distraction, or anything else I will step aside and let you enjoy...

“If Humans Do Not Change, the Ocean Will Be Dead”
Blog on the movie “The End of the Line”

Hello fine readers! This blog will be about a movie titled “The End of the Line”, and it’s insight into the overexploitation of fish, especially Bluefin Tuna. A little bit about me: my name is Chelsey, I’m a senior Biology: Zoology major, and bear with me because this is the first piece I’ve ever written for a blog. When discussing overexploitation in my Wildlife Management class, we watched the movie “The End of the Line”, and I thought the audience of this blog would enjoy hearing about it. So here we are- let’s get to it!

            The movie began with the story of Cod in Newfoundland, Canada. The residents have built their livelihoods around fishing, so when the Cod went commercially extinct, hundreds of people were without jobs. When I say “commercially extinct”, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a single Cod living; it means that there aren’t enough to harvest. Fishermen in the area have long been reporting to the government dramatic decreases in the fish’s population, however, politicians are slow to act when a decision might lose them votes.  The government only banned fishing of Cod when it was already too late to successfully recover the species to its previous magnitude.

            Following in the same footsteps as Cod is the decline of Bluefin Tuna. In case you don’t know, Bluefin Tuna are top predators- they are huge, aggressive, and they swim so fast that their muscles produce almost enough heat to be considered homoeothermic. Bluefin Tuna is a delicacy, a “trendy” food, promoted by cooking shows, praised by dietitians, and valued for its meat-to-fat ratio in sushi. With such a high demand for this fish, it’s no wonder the species is declining at an alarming rate. This decline is recognized by all biologists and all fishermen, although the exact amount of fish remaining is constantly debated. No matter what the exact amount remaining is, though, we should be working towards conserving this fish for generations to come. The general attitude of commercial fishermen is something like, “I want to take all of the fish I can right now so I can make the most profit.” What they don’t consider is the future of the fish, the future of their career, or the future of the marine ecosystem. Mitsubishi, the motor company, is a key player in the fate of Bluefin Tuna; it is said they control 60% of all tuna fishing. They, too, disregard all concerns for the future of the environment, and focus on their capital. Right now, they have a huge stockpile of frozen Bluefin Tuna, and push their fleets to harvest as many as they can. Why? If the tuna is extinct in the wild, and they have so many fish frozen, they could name their price, and make more money than anyone could dream of. From a business standpoint, this is genius, and almost guaranteed to work at the current rate of decline, but again, this is practically a crime against the Earth, and terribly irresponsible.

Let’s talk about the problem. When settlers first came to North America, some accounts described the seas so full of Cod that you could presumably walk across the water on their backs. This is exaggerated, of course, but the fact of the matter is that Cod were once incredibly plentiful, and I doubt anyone thought they would be in danger of extinction. However, we have made this mistake before. The Passenger Pigeon once numbered in the billions (in fact, one flock of birds could include 2 billion animals!), but due to unregulated harvesting, they are now extinct. The American Bison, too, had an estimated population of 60 million animals in 1860, which was obliterated to a sad 150 individuals by 1889, less than thirty years later. My point? We can drive any species we want to extinction, no matter how numerous they may seem now. Overexploitation of fisheries has always been a problem, but now we are seeing a dramatic increase in extinctions because of our advanced technologies. Huge vessels, GPS tracking, fish finders, and trollers are just a few of the tools we are using to destroy marine life. The main problem with the ocean is that it is unregulated, a free-for-all. The ocean belongs to everyone, but no one wants to regulate its use, and this is defined as “the tragedy of the commons”. Because there is no strict regulation or reinforcement, fishermen haul in as much as they can because no one’s going to stop them. Even if the rules were enforced, they wouldn’t do much good. Regulations are set way too high for the biology of many ocean species. For example, in the movie, biologists determined the carrying capacity (maximum number of animals the ecosystem can support) of Bluefin Tuna to be 15,000 metric tons. They recommended a harvest limit of 10,000 maximum, but lawmakers set the limit at 30,000!! And, even more tragically, the actual catch was estimated around 60,000 tons. At this rate of destruction and irresponsible harvest, the Bluefin Tuna is doomed. What will happen next? The industry will move on to another, lesser tuna, such as Yellowfin Tuna. They will be overfished to extinction, and then the industry will again move on to another fish. In biological terms, this is an “extinction cascade”, and with each species gone, the ecosystem suffers exponentially.

            What solutions are available to us? Marine reserves and consumer influence. We don’t need any further knowledge of this problem; no more research needs to be done before we can start fixing the problem. The time to act is now. We need more marine reserves so that fish and other aquatic animals have a chance to reproduce and recover their numbers. We have marine reserves right now, that are very successful, but they only account for less than 1% of the ocean. The rest is open to fishing. Wildlife biologist or not, common sense dictates that animals should not be harvested in 99% of their habitat, and if they are, the population won’t survive. Establishing marine reserves may seem like a challenge, but right now, you and I can make a difference. We are consumers, and every choice we make influences the demand of products. Know where your fish comes from, know how it was harvested, and be responsible. Monterey Bay Aquarium has a guide called “Seafood Watch” that makes it easy to choose products from sustainable sources. We can all help. For example, get together with some friends, watch the movie, and spread the word. Many people are unaware of the state of our oceans right now, and certain sources predict that by 2050, all of the fish and invertebrates in the ocean will be beyond recovery. If we raise awareness and make moral choices, the Bluefin Tuna, and the rest of marine life can be saved.

Thanks for reading!

Movie Trailer

Seafood Watch, Downloadable Pocket Guide (Print it!)

I want to take a moment to thank Chelsey for this blog. Last summer I joined the fight to save bluefin tuna and to say that she really put things into perspective with her blog is an understatement. I've said it time and time again, if the oceans die, we die, and I really think that theory is echoed loud and clear here. It's really not too late to save many of these animals. I strongly urge you to visit the two links she posted, in particular the Seafood Watch guide. If you do not want to print it, dedicate a tiny amount of space on your smart phone and download the Seafood Watch app. It really is a great tool for any sea food eater.

Now for a quick update... Anonymous will make good on their threat to attack Japanese Government websites if the killing of dolphins and whales in Taiji does not end. Anonymous joins Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Dolphin Project in physically trying to put these killings to an end. Anonymous has my full support in these actions as diplomacy will solve nothing in dealing with the type of greed and corruption that has been going on in Taiji for far to long. The following is a statement by 

"Greetings Citiziens of the World.
We are Anonymous
Operation Killing Bay (OpKillingBay):

A Call to War

The massacre in Taiji has been going on for far too long. It’s existed on the assumption that it’s part of the traditional Taiji way of life. A lie concocted by Taiji officials. It’s about money. And, while the Japanese Government shares the blame, there are many enablers who profit and/or are complicit.

The gruesome deaths the dolphins & whales suffer is akin to the dark ages. Shoving a metal pipe down their orifice to break their spines. Holding them in a pen,
dividing them into groups: the ones not chosen for captivity slaughtered in front of other family members who go on to live a life of captivity if they survive the shock of seeing their family members massacred. 

Make no mistake the Taiji is fueled by the prices that aquariums pay for dolphins and whales to be taken captive which can be $100,000.  Those who aren’t suitable for captivity are either cut up for meat or just for the hell of it.  

IMATA (International Marine Animal Trainers Association) and WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums) masquerade as protectors and regulators of dolphins but are shockingly guilty of doing nothing. IMATA are shady supporters of Taiji because without dolphins (and orcas) they wouldn’t exist. They also have even been seen helping at Taiji. WAZA and its Exec Dir Dr. Gerald Dick have the power to influence and stop Taiji but they do nothing. That is as good as fucking guilty.

SeaWorld and other aquariums are also the main culprits buying their dolphins and orcas from these hunts giving Taiji and others reason to exist. Sometimes even, importing them using loop holes in the laws and back channels.

Fault also lies with the airlines like Fed Ex, Japan Air & others who make a tidy profit transporting dolphins and orcas in coffin sized boxed filled with rancid & stale water to a life of captivity. They need to know and the public needs to know this is not fucking alright. We need to cut off the supply chain and it starts with those airlines who are complicit.

Exposing and breaching these groups will get media attention and put the focus back on Taiji. The public outcry from #BlackFish and the re-emergence of ‘The Cove’ will work in our favor. Now is the time to strike exposing and breaching these enablers will bring the focus back on Taiji and gain valuable media attention - putting pressure on the one entity that can shut Taiji down, The Japanese Government.

So far no one has been able to stop them. But they haven’t felt the Wrath of Anonymous yet. We need to stop this shit. We need to come together and let the world know this is unacceptable. The people have spoken. Anonymous has spoken.

Join us & Support OpKillingBay

We are Legion
We do not Forgive
We do not Forget
We are Anonymous
Expect us 12:1:13

***OpKillingBay Twitter-Storm***
December 1st 2013 1:00pm"

I have no idea what the twitter storm is, but I am very anxious to see just what happens come December 1st. I agree with their statement here and support #OpKillingBay and hope that you will do the same. Love or hate the group, it is high time these criminals in Japan paid for their actions against our oceans. I may not be anonymous, but I do not Forgive. I do not Forget. And I will continue to stand against the actions of Japan and any other country who seeks to destroy our oceans in the name of the dollar bill. As Anonymous would say... Expect us...

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