Reading the full article, I felt a supernaturally surreal but familiar sense of deja vu, and not just once. Honestly, what does reading this passage remind you of?
In 1995, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation characterized the blue crab population as “perilously close to collapse,” and it called for a year-round deep-water sanctuary – a no-catch zone.
In 1998, experts at the Chesapeake Bay Program said watermen had “fully exploited” the blue crab population, and Maryland officials reported the worst harvest on record. If you don’t have a watch, that was a decade ago.
No Maryland politician I know has had the guts to do what was needed to save the blue crab – call for an absolute moratorium on the harvest.
Now, we are on the cusp of crustaceous collapse, and we have this call for federal disaster relief – and $15 million to provide jobs for the watermen while they take some time off from pulling pots.
But still no call for a moratorium.
All we’re doing, by agreement of the governors of Maryland and Virginia, is shortening the season of harvest.
On this issue, Maryland and Virginia form a single state – the state of denial. This kind of tinkering with a diminishing wild species constitutes classic denial pathology – the patient has a serious problem and either refuses to recognize it or recognizes it but thinks a little sip now and then won’t hurt.
All through the 1990s, when the crab population was stressed, the human population still took an average of 42 million bushels of crabs out of the bay annually. Aggressive harvests, combined with loss of vital bay grasses in the great crab nursery of Tangier Sound, led to this.
We’ve been over-harvesting crabs for years – and, by science and instinct, we knew it – but we’ve been too weenie to do anything about it.
And still so.
From fishes, like sharks to non-fish marine denizens like seals, we can do with a bit more resolve to do something about it. Not half-brained measures, calls-to-arms with caveats and loophole exceptions or flagging political bravado that Japan’s whale factory ship, the Nisshin Maru could sashay through.
This graph is the reality of the overexploitation we do to the oceans. It’s in the way we fish, harvest or otherwise use (and OVERuse) and waste the sea bounty within our industrialised reach. It’s not just our taste for fish, perhaps we should also ask ourselves: Must meow can haz fish?
Before this graph devolve into a permanent flatline, the people of the world has to do something, anything, like eat more vegetables.