While the Defending Our Oceans and Defending the Mediterranean expeditions continue in warmer waters, Greenpeace USA is about half way through their own research expedition in the Bearing Sea (off the coast of Alaska). They are looking at how the intensive industrial fishing there is impacting the ecosystem and local fishermen alike.
In one hair raising post they talk about how the locals are being forced to go further and further out to fish - with dangerous results...
"We've been here for a few days now, getting to know the people and the place and sounding out what people think of an ecosystem management based fishery. So far it's clear that it's what people want. I met an old guy the other day who started the conversation by saying "I hope you guys make those draggers go 100 miles offshore." The locals are being forced to go farther and further to get fish while the big factory draggers pillage their traditional waters."
"The results of having to go farther were rammed home to everyone this morning. We awoke to the news that the boat George's son was fishing on had lost radio contact and hadn't come back in at midnight as planned."
Luckily everyone made it home safe in the end, and is no doubt back fishing by now.
Also, lots of good musings on the blog about everything from climate change to whales to ecosystem based management...
"I draw a similar lesson from our time in St. Matthew and the Pribilofs. The whales, the seals, the seabirds, the fish, the Unungan are all part of the larger story of the sea itself. To protect those parts, and to protect the Bering, we have to begin thinking like an ocean. We have to recognize that the species of this and other waters are interwoven in a web of relationships we are only beginning to understand. To focus our efforts on harvesting one or a few species, even "sustainably", without considering the effects on other species, risks unraveling that web."
"In science and policy-speak, this consideration of broader impacts is called ecosystem-based management, or EBM. EBM is about humility in the face uncertainty; about acting with caution when we’re unsure what the real-world consequences of our actions will be. The concept isn’t novel. Just underused. Particularly in the context of fisheries management, which is remarkable, because the law already calls for it."