Conservation areas are the only way to save fishing stocks
After living on the water for 68 years, I feel I have some knowledge of the local marine environment. Through observation and as a citizen scientist, I’ve seen the deterioration of our only true asset - the ocean.
I’ve snorkelled after fishermen hauled back their net and seen tens of jacks left dead on the bottom. Of course this is when we used to have thousands of jacks in the schools instead of the tens we have now, thanks to overfishing.
I’ve been offshore fishing - perhaps 20 years ago - when we would catch enough tuna by 11am to finish the day. I have not been offshore recently, but I get the feeling from the fishermen I know that this is now a very rare occurrence.
What I find unfathomable is why the fishermen can’t see the destruction and continue to go up against protecting areas to ensure that we have fish on our tables well into the future. Why not just try it? Stop all fishing in large areas for two to three years and see what happens. Stop all netting in large inshore areas and see if the jacks come back in the schools that they used to be in. It has worked in other countries that have put protection zones in. Just Google it.
Stop with the “we can control this”. You can’t and won’t. The prevailing attitude is: “If I don’t take it all, then someone else will.” Consequently we are in the position we are in now - with fewer fish and smaller size.
This “bag of fish fillets” has to stop.
I see now they are selling whole yellow grunts in the grocery stores. Jacks were never on the menu until about 10 years ago and look what has happened to those schools.
Do something right for your industry, fishermen. Go with the protected zones and make them even bigger. You might find after a few years that your take from the unprotected zones will be bigger and the fish larger. How much can it hurt?
Hoping our leaders have the fortitude to put these protection zones in place.