The story below about rebuilding fish populations for fishermen off New York State’s coasts presents an interesting perspective on how we view our oceans and our environment. We have been overfishing and polluting our oceans for centuries and now that it suddenly occurs to us that we should get back what we had, a cornucopia of fish and a healthy ocean, we don’t have a clue as to how to get them back.
It’s also interesting that in light of the fact that we have depleted and compromised a system as large and as vast as our oceans the media presents this issue as only a concern for the fishermen. Very strange.
My point: By the time we start to realize that our environment is in serious trouble, which they are, it is going to be very difficult to recover them because in our present economic system pays it so well not to clean up and grab every last fish.
It is a case of the tragedy of the commons: “The tragedy of the commons is a dilemma arising from the situation in which multiple individuals, acting independently and rationally consulting their own self-interest, will ultimately deplete a shared limited resource even when it is clear that it is not in anyone's long-term interest for this to happen.”
How Many Fish in the Ocean for NY? NEW YORK - A law to rebuild depleted ocean fish populations was passed by Congress 35 years ago today, and experts say it has produced positive results along the shores of New York and other mid-Atlantic states. The law has undergone plenty of fine-tuning through amendments in the past 3 1/2 decades, says Lee Crockett, director of federal fisheries policy for the Pew Environment Group, but the end result is that fish once in danger of disappearing from New York's coastline now are back to healthy population levels. (April 13, 2011)