Friday, September 20, 2013

Fisheries at the End of the Line?

Greyhound II, Key West, 1958

Greyhound IV, Key West, 1983

Greyhound V, Key West, 1987

In a recent article in Smithsonian magazine entitled Seeing is Believing, Loren McClenachan, a graduate student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, looks at the scrap books of charter fishing boats to see how their catch has changed.

What she documents in pictures is what has been verbally reported across the world; all the great fisheries are being overfished, and what was once considered bait is now the catch of the day.

Whether sport fishing with poles, or commercial fishing with nets, overshore or close to shore, the story seems to be the same all over; fewer species and smallers fish are being boated all over. The big fish, at the top of the food chain, are increasingly rare and are often absent alltogether.

The three pictures shown at top are all taken from the "Greyhound" -- a charter fishing boat out of Key West, Florida. The giant grouper in the top photo are now fully protected after being pushed to the edge of extinction. The Jacks in the middle picture are now a rarer catch than they once were, with most day trippers now having to content themselves with immature red snappers as pictured in the third photo.

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