What can be done to replenish Tuna stocks?
Pacific Island people working together to actually conserve and manage tuna cannot do it alone. But island nations could absolutely lead the way to achieve solutions via the United Nations.
Firstly, Pacific tuna stocks are now already at historically low levels, in other words ocean food supply for islanders is already devastated.
Fish depletion is not caused by overfishing, because when fishing is stopped or reduced the fish populations do not recover as they should. The real problem according to evidence of substance is nutrient pollution killing ocean food web nurseries. And consequences impact on seafood dependent island people.
But are there problems and need for solutions or not? Some people fail to see a fish shortage problem.
Any islander with work and money to buy alternative food, and who thinks there is no problem with fish stocks, could return to their village and consider fish and other essential protein food availability. Try fishing and compare the catch to what older people will testify numbers of fish and fishing were like not that many years ago.
Anyone demanding scientific evidence in order for solutions to fish depletion to be put in place, is talking nonsense. There is no sense in demanding scientific evidence of fish depletion because nobody counted or measured fish stocks in the beginning and it’s impossible for anyone to count dwindling fish that remain.
Fish catch scientific data is incomplete. Lack of complete data has actually led to historical low levels of world fish and worsening consequences.
In reality according to the 15th Principle of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, full scientific certainty is no longer essential to take action to prevent further damage to the environment. Yet present lack of such action is allowing nutrient pollution and damage to continue and worsen.
Damage from nutrient pollution feeding algae killing seagrass and coral is causing more damage, compounding damage. Consequences of that damage are increasing and causing poverty and hardship and malnutrition to worsen.
In desperation for once staple ocean fish, some Islanders are having to take the last reef fish to survive. Reef fish are supposed to clean and protect coral reef. Coral is being lost bigtime. Extinction is not the problem.
Instinct is driving island people to harvest the last fish in order to survive. Many islanders have and are still moving into town in search of jobs to survive, resulting in squatters, increased hardship, local objection, fights, unrest.
Immediate concern should be the impact on people and economies and compounding damage and devastation of ocean food web ecosystems.
Serious consequences such as food and land shortage require serious consideration of causes and possible solutions, scientific evidence or not. Politicians and government have been demanding scientific evidence of fish depletion. But nobody can count fish in the ocean. A fishery agency can just say there is no scientific evidence, and that is enough to stop other agencies proceeding with debate and solutions.
In some countries where the death penalty for crime exists, eye witness accounts can bring a verdict with no scientific evidence whatsoever. Therefore observation and statements by older islanders should be accepted in order for island nations to manage their own fisheries and ocean ecosystems. With respect, fishery science is about fisheries. A fishery means the catching of fish. Fishery departments do not manage biodiversity ecosystems but they or another agency should.
With fish devastation in reality continuing, onus of evidential proof of such devastation or not should be the responsibility of true and complete science. Science should scientifically prove no depletion and no need for concern and solutions, if science can find such proof.
Alternately, if empirical evidence of substance can prove beyond reasonable doubt that world seafood sustainability is collapsing unchecked, then surely reality of the situation best be seen and understood.
Marine Protected Areas do not stop nutrient laden currents. Action is needed, already devastated fish stocks have to be regenerated and sustained in order to sustain supply.
To “sustain”, means doing something, not just watching, not just monitoring or collecting more and more data, or introducing more useless fishing restrictions that cannot be policed in such vast oceans.
Yes there are achievable solutions but not before the depletion is seen and embraced through debate about the scale and type of solutions required.
Evidence of substance indicates tuna management and sustainability management should absolutely involve seagrass density and baitfish population regeneration.
It is known that making food available to animals is essential to increase numbers. Many animal species do not even conceive during a food shortage. If an island nation could be made to virtually teem with baitfish then wild ocean tuna would come to feed and return to that region. Animals are not stupid, they have instinct usually focussed on the source of food.
Sanitation and proper sewage treatment worldwide is needed to reduce the nutrient over-load. Overcoming the dumping of local nutrient matter into island coastal water ecosystems would be a start to rehabilitate world ocean food supply. Sweeping up leaf and throwing it into nearby water leads to decay and more and more nutrients, almost daily. Rivers run with jungle leaf nutrients only after rain.
Humanity and acute urgency is involved with solutions. Impacted island people need critically urgent employment and income to buy nutritious protein food immediately. Now, not in years to come because insidious disease including NCD is talking hold due to protein deficiency malnutrition.
Developed nations like Australia should immediately relax their increasingly tough Visa restrictions, especially for Solomon Islanders. Indigenous NZ neighbours enter Australia without need for a Visa. Why is Australia making a work Visa virtually impossible for Pacific islanders, especially when European backpackers easily enter and stay and work in Australia for two years?
Considering damage that major population sewage and land use nutrient pollution has done to SW Pacific Ocean food web nursery ecosystems since European settlement, real aid for decent seafood dependent islanders should be made possible.
Australia is a virtual island in the SW Pacific. Australian east coast ecosystems cannot be biologically excluded for the SW Pacific Ocean.
Sewage from about 7 billion humans has changed fishing worldwide, ocean currents flow worldwide, including into SW Pacific waters due to NW winds from Asia.
Many rivers of the world have become open sewers. World sewage nutrients bonded to fresh water in ocean surface fresher-waters are driven long distances by surface winds.
Sewage is categorically being dumped into ocean worldwide and outcome includes hardship causing loss of peace. Managing the oceans and peace is UN-UNESCO responsibility. Oceans are not presently managed.
There is dire urgent need for Pacific nations to inform the UN about devastation of fish supply impacting Island people
Solutions could include UN guided islander employment projects locally and overseas. Whole of water ecosystem rehabilitation infrastructure projects are possible. Australia could do with a northern wet season area water-harvesting system with aqueduct to upper catchment of the Darling River. The Darling already runs to South Australia where water shortage for farmers and the Coorong ocean estuary is often acute. It’s all linked. Seabirds unable to find food in Queensland died along coast all the way to South Australia and around Tasmania.
Impacted indigenous workers could be contracted to help build water infrastructure systems. Such projects to inspire peace and prosperity could be generated via United Nations effort to manage the world ocean, stimulating national economies at the same time. The UN budget would require stimulus for the purpose. It’s possible, not impossible.
Nonsense economics about aquaculture or agriculture in limited island jungle or on coral atolls on this planet, without adequate supply of affordable animal feed and fertilizer, should be ‘vision’ of the past.
Many years have passed trying to develop island agriculture, still trying. Where would island people obtain feed with essential protein supplement for aquaculture?
Fishing restrictions have failed, thus historically low levels of tuna, small fish too. Even Australia is importing costly fish to feed aquaculture. 70% of Australia’s fish product is now imported. Australian Pacific waters can no longer supply demand. Pacific coast waters.
The sea is the garden for island people, why damage or let it die.
All countries would do well to urgently work together internationally to sustain AFFORDABLE world protein food supply, especially from oceans. People are turning to increasingly costly poultry and pork in place of fish. Bird and pig and human flu comes to mind. Poverty stricken people cannot usually afford to adequately eat, so how can they afford to give nutritious food to their backyard-caged animals? .
Run down human and also animal immune systems require adequate essential protein or they begin to fail to control disease. This all has to be managed to manage island food supply.
Perhaps bird flu could mutate in caged chicken of a poverty stricken North Vietnam or island family. Mashed paper dipped with smell of fish could be given as food. Even developed nation practice can involve need, or mean or thrifty farmers severely reducing cost and quality of feed for animals. Human and animal Immune systems break down due lack of nutrition. It’s not rocket science or algebra.
There is so much standing in the way of Pacific nations alone managing seafood sustainability. Nations could work together internationally to reduce nutrient pollution to sustain essential ocean food web ecosystems. Some politicians think the tasks are too big, but no, the solutions are challenging and worthwhile, absolutely essential too.
Not even the developed nation of Australia could do it alone. But SW Pacific nations have the ability to get debate and teamwork and mandate underway to achieve the type and scale of solutions required. At least to set wheels in motion.
By EDNAL PALMER