Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Out of the Mouth of Babes

Yesterday we were watching Wild Pacific. The show was discussing how 60% of the world's fishing is done in the Pacific Ocean. My son, Tracker, had a really strong response to this. He said that it was too much. The video showed fisherman stunning sharks and then cutting off their fins (DO NOT click on that link with kids around). Then they throw the fin-less shark back into the water. The shark cannot survive. It will sink to the bottom of the ocean and die a slow and painful death. Tracker was almost in tears. He could not understand why someone would do something so cruel. He could not understand why they did not use all the meat. I tried to explain that all they cared about was the $300/lb price tag. He said that they were nothing but selfish, greedy bullies. I was not sure what to say. I could not understand it myself. Why would someone be so cruel?? How do you answer that question?

The show goes on to discuss seine tuna fishing. I don't think that I have ever seen anything like this. The goal is to catch big tuna, but the other fish that are being caught and killed are unbelievable. The fisherman do not care that they are getting juvenile tuna, sharks, dolphins, sea turtles and who knows what other type of fish. They use scare tactics to keep the tuna in the net. Tuna must constantly swim to keep oxygen moving through their bodies. When the 'purse' is closed the tuna cannot swim and they panic. They release an acid that makes their meat not so good. So the goal is to get them out as fast as they can. The fish on the bottom of the net never had a they are killed for no reason.This had the biggest reaction from all of my children.

My children could not understand why they were allowed to fish this way. Why someone is not trying to stop them. Why there are not international fishing regulations that protect all marine life. Why are some not as treasured as others? I had no answers to all these questions for my kids. Tracker is an avid fisherman, but he said that you have a responsibility to treat the environment with respect. That you must fish responsibly. This came from a 10 yr old.

What can you do?

~Go to Seafood Watch and eat responsibly.
~Join the End of the Line Campaign.
~Go to Tread Lightly and learn how to be a responsible fisherman.

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