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Entries in Pacific (3)

Wednesday
Apr112012

Your Help Needed to Protect Billfish From Commercial Harvest

Marlin and sailfish --- collectively called “billfish” --- are not only majestic sport fish; they are slow-growing, top-level predators whose populations cannot be sustained with commercial harvest.

In the United States, harvest and import of Atlantic-caught billfish is illegal. But, incredibly, fish caught in the Pacific Ocean flood into U.S. markets legally, further contributing to the depletion of these stocks.

 The Billfish Conservation Act (S. 1451 and H.R. 2706) would close U.S. commercial markets to Pacific billfish, preventing both their harvest and their importation.

“It would have a negligible impact on the commercial fishing industry in the U.S., since billfish represent only 0.1 percent of all seafood sales and there are many sustainable alternatives,” says Keep America Fishing (KAF).

“The subsequent increase in billfish abundance will add value to the recreational fishery, which annually generates billions of dollars to the economy and has a minimal impact on billfish populations.”

Go here to learn more and help protect some of the most important --- and threatened --- fish in our oceans.

And while you are at the KAF site, check out all of the other issues of concern to anglers. And make your voice heard!

Friday
Dec242010

I Blame Picard

 

This is a lionfish. The native range of this beautiful fish with poison spines is the western Pacific Ocean, thousands of miles from the United States. But now it is firmly established from the Bahamas and the Keys up to the Carolinas.

 And, as the Wall Street Journal and others are reporting,  its population is exploding, as it crowds out and eats native species, including juvenile snapper and grouper, as well as parrotfish. The latter isn't important as a sport fish, but it is a vital chain in  the ocean ecosystem as its grazing keeps algae from overgrowing coral reefs.

How did the lionfish come to be in U.S. waters?

Continued

 

Saturday
Dec182010

The Ghosts of Salmon Past

 

The recently failed Omnibus Bill that Senator Harry Reid and his cronies tried to bully through Congress contained an $80 million earmark for Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery. Nevada, Reid's home state, was included among those states eligible to receive grants from that pot of pork.

At Biggovernment.com, one of my favorite sites, much was made about the fact that Nevada is landlocked, far away from coastal waters. Many commenters viewed that state's inclusion as an example of either extreme ignorance on the part of politicians or blatant corruption, since salmon couldn't possibly be native to Nevada.

Actually, those commenters are the ignorant ones, sad to say. Salmon once did migrate all the way from the Pacific Ocean into rivers of northern Nevada to spawn. Dams and  other alterations to the waterways put an end to that, as they did throughout much of the West. 

What has enabled us to thrive as a species is that we harvest nature's bounty and we alter habitat through dams, irrigation, mining, introduction of exotic plants and animals, and other means. Well into the 20th century, we little realized or even considered how our actions affected other species. Brook trout, Atlantic salmon,  buffalo, elk, grizzly bears, passenger pigeons, and many other species suffered the consequences of our ignorance, along with Pacific salmon.

Today we know better. 

Knowing the environmental devastation that is possible, we don't have to mine in and around Alaska's Bristol Bay, threatening one of the world's greatest remaining salmon fisheries. Knowing that Asian carp outcompete native spcecies, we don't have to allow them into the Great Lakes, where they could destroy a billion-dollar sport fishery.

The big question now is whether we, as a species, have the character to make the tough decisions to protect our aquatic resources when ignorance is no longer an excuse.