We continue our Protecting The Oceans series with Klaas Voget this week. Focusing on the topic of over fishing we asked him if he had seen any of this first hand, amongst other things. Read on below to see what Klaas wrote, but first, a short lesson on what overfishing is and why we should really take note.
Industrial trawlers just take out every creature - if they have use for it or not...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6nwZUkBeasWhen It Will End
On the brink of collapse of large-fish populations, commercial fleets are now having to go deeper in the ocean and even further down the food chain for suitable catches. This "fishing down" is triggering a chain reaction that is disturbing the delicate balance of the sea's biologic system.
A study of catch data published in 2006 in the journal Science grimly predicted that if fishing rates continue as they are then all the world's fisheries will have collapsed by the year 2048!
Over the past 55 years, as fisheries have returned lower and lower yields, humans have begun to understand that the oceans we'd assumed were unendingly vast and rich are in fact highly vulnerable and sensitive. Add overfishing to pollution, climate change, habitat destruction, and acidification, and a picture of a system in crisis emerges.
Many scientists say most fish populations could be restored with aggressive fisheries management, better enforcement of laws governing catches, and increased use of aquaculture. In many regions, there is reason for hope. However, illegal fishing and unsustainable harvesting still plagues the industry. And a public grown accustomed to abundant seafood are largely apathetic about the plight of the oceans complicates efforts to repair the damage we've done.
Klaas Voget talks on the next page...
BS: As a windsurfer do you often hear about issues to do with Protecting Our Oceans?
KV: I hear from a few initiatives about keeping our oceans and beaches clean, like the Surfrider Foundation, +H2O or the Clean Ocean Project. Mostly I hear about beach clean-ups and similar initiatives that they organize. It's great that some surfers and windsurfers take responsibility about the surroundings we love. Unfortunately it mostly can't be taken by the source of the problem. All the oceans are connected and get used and polluted by pretty much every country on this planet.
KV: Honestly, I don't notice too much about it at first sight. You only hear about it by speaking to the local fishermen, as they don't catch half of what they used to catch. Industrial trawlers just take out every creature - if they have use for it or not...
KV: As I mentioned above, the oceans are all connected and everything that goes into the sea at some place in the world might end up at your local beach at some point. Also us Surfers and Windsurfers use electricity, oil and boards that are not the most eco-friendly toys in the world. Everyone can take his own actions to reduce emissions and pollution. There are eco-friendly cars, you can share a ride to the beach and there are even board brands using less toxic ingredients than others. Just be aware of the price we all pay for being "cheap" for some things we buy or use... And to come back to the overfishing - eat the local fish from local fishermen.
See last weeks feature with Olya Raskina on Marine Pollution by clicking the image below.
Chile Photos - Leif Bischoff
JC - John Carter