Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Swimming with the Fish

ELISABETH ROSENTHAL said in her article in the New York Times that Europe is the biggest fish market in the world. A market worth about 14 billion euros, or about $22 billion a year.

She said because they are importing so much fish for consumption, fisherman are going to greater lengths and casting larger nets, illegal nets.

Because Europe's people are eating so many fish the sea goers are catching $1.6 billion in illegal ocean dwellers.

Why is this a problem? Because the fisherman are wiping out many species of fish. With the nets they don't only catch large fish ready to be eaten. They also entangle small fish. By the time these small fish are thrown back they are already dead. And the nets scrape across the bottom and ruin fish habitats and coral.

And the bigger issue here is that it is all too easy to sell these illegal fish. Organized smuggling bands can ship fish far beyond government quotas or treaties. Once the fish pass one check point, they are able to be shipped anywhere in the world. And, unlike cattle, the technology to trace where the fish came from is not yet mature.

The surf is simply not as easy to patrol as the turf.

And it affects us here at home too. The imbalance of supply and demand drives up the price of the commodity; in turn we pay more.

To read more on this story or others like this go to:

Empty Seas: Europe’s Appetite for Seafood Propels Illegal Trade

Another article by SHARON LAFRANIERE shows the cause and effect of fish and immigration. People want fish. They immigrate to be able to fish and then sell what they have worked to get.

Ms. Rosenthal also wrote another similar article about Europe ignoring scientists warnings on over fishing for the Herald Tribune.