ChewsWise Blog

ChewsWise Blog

Fish: Good News and Bad

The LA Times reports that fishery managers on the West Coast have decided to try and save the region's fishery by granting fishermen exclusive rightsto a portion of the catch. We've written about catch quotas before, but this is positive news in a place where three fisheries were declared an economic disaster eight years ago.

The new approach, often called "individual fishing quotas," will give commercial fishermen from Morro Bay on California's Central Coast to Puget Sound in Washington state the right to bring in their portion of the catch when the seas are safe and they can command higher prices.

It will also eliminate rules that forced fishermen to shovel tons of dead fish overboard because they didn't have permits to sell particular species inadvertently caught in their nets.

"We expect in five to 10 years this will be one of the best-managed fisheries in the country," said Johanna Thomas, Pacific Ocean policy director of the Environmental Defense Fund.

The same can't be said for Atlantic cod, which looks like it's crashing again. Kate Wing over at Blogfish writes:

The cod of the Gulf of St. Lawrence have 40 years left, at best, and only 20 years if fishing stays at current levels. Douglas P. Swain and Ghislain A. Chouinard report on this imminent extinction in the latest Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, only, being scientists, they call it extirpation. Technically, extinction requires you to prove all the fish are gone, while an extirpated population is barely hanging on -- too small to sustain itself, much less feed people or wildlife.