Tuna blues

The group claims the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico devastated the already dwindling population of bluefin during their spawning season.

This may indeed be true, but we don’t know for sure. What we do know is that the “numbers” have indicated a long-term spawning problem, but the anecdotes from the people on the water contradict those studies.

Unfortunately, some groups would rather follow the precautionary approach to save the animals rather than to save the jobs.

According to CBD attorney Catherine Kilduff, as quoted in the Ocean City, Md., Dispatch, “The federal government could have predicted the effects of the spill during spawning season prior to the disaster. Listing Atlantic bluefin tuna as endangered will prevent such an oversight from ever happening again.”

This sounds like the plan going forward ought to be that we assume there will be scientific studies, presume they will herald disaster and act on those assumptions before bothering to perform the study.

My preference would be for more collaborative research that incorporates the honed skills of professional researchers and scientists with generations of local knowledge you can only find in commercial fishing communities.

People think fishermen are eager to catch the last fish and are not capable of being the stewards of their fishery. It’s an uphill battle, but we have to prove them wrong.

Let’s work together, get as close as we can to the truth, and move forward from there.

For more on this debate, check out our upcoming December issue.

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