Tuesday, September 11, 2007

on the gray whale and more

Well, my interest in the posted story below continues. The only updated news I've heard so far is that the Makah tribal leaders intend to prosecute the men who brutally slaughtered the gray whale. I read an update here.

I also came across an article about the gray whale population and that perhaps it is not as healthy as initially thought.

All of this is coming on the heels of reading the book "The End of the Line: How Overfishing is Changing the World and What We Eat." While the book was focused on human consumption it could not help but discuss how overfishing affects other species that also rely on that same diet. Whales come to mind don't they?

One chapter in the book looked at tuna catches and the subsequent by-catches that are part of any fishing. Here is an excerpt from that chapter:
"...the most comprehensive and eye-opening answer to the question of what gets killed alongside the skipjack tuna that ends up in you pantry (...) was an unpublished paper by two scientists from 1998-99 when the thre European organizations of frozen tuna producers delcared moratoria on fishing in certain areas close to the African coast because of the number of (endangered) juvenile bigeye tuna they had been catching.
(...) I looked up the common names for these species with growing disbelief. It amounted to almost the entire cast list of Finding Nemo. Let's start with the turtles, as these are the most endangered. There was a full house of the ocean going turtles, loggerhead, green sea turtle, leatherback, hawksbill, and gulf Ridley. (...) Then there were the whales (remember the Indian Ocean is supposed to be a whale sanctuary): minke, humpback , and one the observer could not identify (pigmy blue is possible in those waters, but it could have been anything. After that we come to the fish. There was quite a list, topped by the great white shark, which is now officially recognized (...) as vulnerable. (...) On the bright side, they didn't catch any dolphins."

I suppose what I am trying to connect here is our disregard for the oceanic environment and the species that live there. Our consumption once again comes at a great cost to other living creatures.


Red said...

We had a really good TV programme here in the UK, with a celebrity chef (Rick Stein) travelling through the Mediterranean and discovering the flavours and traditional recipes of each area he visited. At each port of call, he would speak to local fishermen and invariably, they would all bemoan the fact that there's hardly anything in their nets these days. It's a sad state of affairs.

sp said...

It truly is and yet the overfishing continues full steam ahead.