Monday, May 14, 2007

Fish? Where?

With all the notice climate change is finally getting, I wonder whether the collateral effect will be more notice for other environmental problems. I was impressed, for instance, on our visit to the New York Aquarium that the conservation message was wrapped so much into a slice of trained-animal-entertaiment like the sea lion show. The announcer talked about the kinds of fish that were environmentally-safe to eat while the sea lions clapped or shook their hands at the right moments. Great, right? but I do have to wonder how much it ever sinks in.

And then there are articles like this one from Sunday's Times. (Basic access is free.) The central point is this:
The eradication of our seafood bounty through overfishing is one of those Lorax-like stories that inspire sad books like “The End of the Line” and “The Empty Ocean.” Many biologists believe that the populations of large, commercially sought-after fish worldwide have been reduced by as much as 90 percent of their historical size.

As dire as this sounds, Greenberg goes on to make the point that most scientists believe that fisheries could heal themselves--if given the chance. For me, it's the last part that raises the real questions, the same questions as the other food supply problems I've touched on in other posts: Are we as a species capable of slowing our voracious appetite long enough to avoid killing ourselves and the Earth?