There’s a limit to ‘more fish’

  • By Don Johnson
  • Tuesday, March 21, 2017 10:42am
  • Opinion

Here’s some news.

Fishing can be an addiction regardless as to what type of fishing you do. The addiction can be fueled by internal or external sources and sometimes both. Internal addiction can be the challenge between you and a fish. External addiction can be you gaining something from fishing, like money. Then there are those who don’t care about either and use fishing just to relax. Most people don’t sit around asking themselves why they fish but a lot of them spend a lot of time trying to catch “more fish”. When is the last time you wished you could catch “more fish”? More fish can sound so innocent; what could possibly be wrong with a person wanting to catch “more fish”?

Our fisheries history is littered with fisheries collapses that were not caused by environmental or management factors. These failures were actually caused by people just trying to catch “more fish”. These people had no clue that their “more fish” goals could result in them catching “less fish”. The mysterious connection is that we are simply not fishing alone. If you can do it, someone else will probably want to do it also and the combined effects between you and them will probably end up causing a negatively impact to the resource.

It happened on the east coast when they saw all those black cod back in 1950. Commercial fisheries went out and caught their “more fish” until around 1980 when they caught “less fish”and ended up destroying the resource. It happened on the west coast when they saw all those salmon back in 1848. Commercial fisheries went out and caught their “more fish” until around 2001 when they caught “less fish” and ended up destroying the resource. It happened in Alaska when they saw all those salmon back in 1889. Commercial fisheries wanted to catch “more fish” so they began fishing with fish traps until about 1940, then they began catching “less fish” and ended up destroying the resource.

These examples show that just searching for “more fish” can actually cause you to end up catching “less fish”. The reason is because the “more fish” desire ends up allowing new technologies and financing to increase catch efficiency or access and that can undermines an entire ecosystem. This is revealing that in many cases looking to catch “more fish” can end up destroying your fishery. So are you still looking to catch “more fish”?

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