The health of our Oceans (2)
In Europe the Total Allowable Catches (TAC) or catch limits are set for most commercial fish stocks. In other countries like the US and the Caribbean commercial catch of large vessels are also monitored. But a recent study by the University of British Columbia near Vancouver found that the global catch between 1950 and 2010 was 30 per cent higher than what countries have been reporting to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome since 1950.
Even more problematical are smaller boats of people who fish for their families, or sport anglers. Many Americans set of in small aircrafts from Florida’s East coast or in their fast private boats to catch deep-sea fish like marlins, tunas and mahi-mahi in the Bahamas, in the tradition of Ernest Hemingway. See for example: https://www.facebook.com/Bimini-Big-Game-Club-155523174484632/?pnref=story. Their catch is often taken back in smal freezing containers after been frozen in the the marine resorts. It was already known that their catch was sometimes greater than reported to the authorities, but not to what extent. But nobody really cared because it was assumed that the abundancy of fish in the Carribean would never endanger or lead to depletion of the various species. But researcher Nicola Smith a Bahamian recently reported that their catch was even bigger than the commercial catch, and that none of it was reported to the FAO. “It’s astounding,’, she says “ that a country that depends on tourism for more than half of its GDP has no clue as to the extent of the catch that plays a central role in attracting tourists.” Even the director of marine resources was surprised when he got the news.