MLPA (sort of) & the New York Times

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on August 06, 2009 at 17:05:24:

There was an interesting editorial in today's (8/6/09) New York Times that's especially appropriate to the MLPA discussions that we've been having. What's most interesting about this is that it quotes the works of Dr. Boris Worm of the University of Halifax - who's been sounding the overfishing bell for some time - and Dr. Ray Hilborn of the University of Washington.

What makes this interesting is that Washington was one of Worm's fiercest critics, accusing him of cherry-picking statistics and basically stacking the deck in his favor to make his argument. (Hmmm, where have we heard that charge of "bad science" before?) But now they meet on the battlefield of data, agreed on some common (and new) methodologies, tackled the issue like scientific minds, and find themselves - surprisingly - in agreement.

Excerpts from the NYT editorial:

The authors not only reached agreement on the state of ocean fisheries — despite progress in some places, they said, about 63 percent of the fish stocks need rebuilding — but also on a course of action . . . As a general principle, they said, it makes little sense to fish for the “maximum sustainable yield” — the fixed quantity of a given species that supposedly can be caught without endangering the resource. Year after year, officials have used that standard to set catch limits. The authors declared that setting more conservative targets was the smarter course . . . They offered a familiar list of strategies — restricting destructive types of fishing gear, setting quotas for individual fishermen, establishing large “no-take” zones to allow species to breed and multiply. These can be used separately or in combination, they said, but in every case success will ultimately depend on two things: patience, and political will . . . “The road to recovery is not always simple and not without short-term costs,” the authors said. But since the alternative is “further depletion and collapse,” it is the only good choice.

The full editorial can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/06/opinion/06thu3.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

- Ken
Ken Kurtis
Member - SIG (MLPAI)
Owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co.
Beverly Hills, CA

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