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Old 23-09-2015, 08:49   #31
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Re: Something for us all to think about

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Originally Posted by Kevin876 View Post
here is something I just read and all of us as lovers of the big blue should acknowledge at the very least...

Marine life slashed by half since 1970: WWF
Anyone have a link to the study referenced in the news article?

A bit of a skeptic (excuse me, AP, I meant doubter), I generally don't give the benefit of the doubt to the PR releases of activities who have a DONATE button at the top of their web page.

I appreciate all the anecdotes, and understand the concern for the planet and species health. But show me the data.
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Old 23-09-2015, 08:49   #32
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Re: Something for us all to think about

1. Overpopulation is not a problem, nor is it likely to be in the future. The world, on average, is very sparsely populated. If you took the entire population of the world and moved them all into moderately populated cities of the type that dominate middle America (say, Madison, WI -- one of the 'most livable' cities'), the entire world population would fit into just a portion of the landmass of the US. The entire rest of the world -- Europe, Asia, Africa -- Canada, Central and South America -- could have no people living there. You may use up an area equivalent to Europe and Canada for farming. You've still got Asia, Africa, South and Central America *completely empty*, returned to nature! Does that sound like overpopulation? (Obviously, we would never distribute people that way, but the point remains...)

Furthermore, most predictions are the the population will peak around 2070 and then start to decline.

So why the myth of overpopulation? Because, by definition, most people live where lots of people live. And those areas tend to be noisy and crowded, and have *intense* negative externalities -- although, lower average negative externalities per person than more remote areas. (That's why we live in large groups, it's more efficient).

2. Unsustainable resource use: any place where resources are declining at unsustainable rates, look at the rules governing that resource. Cows have no defensive capabilities, almost no ability to survive on their own, are very tasty, yet there is no shortage of them. Why? Because we can own them and profit from them. Sharks are killers that have survived for millions of years, yet many are endangered. Why? Because nobody owns them. It's called tragedy of the commons. Obviously, owning sea creatures that travel thousands of miles presents different problems than owning a docile, slow land creature, but economists are starting to create ownership schemes that are making fish populations rebound. They aren't as popular as they should be because saying "we need to be able to own fish" brings cries of 'exploitation' and 'earth hater'. Also, the crony capitalism of the fishing industry prevents sensible rules in many cases. Preventing poaching is difficult.

When given ownership rights, people create rules that work to rebound wildlife populations, both on land and water.

None of this is to discourage anyone from being a better steward of themselves and their surroundings. It starts there. But historically, the creation of wealth and trade has been the best cure for the ills of human effects on nature, and rules that prevent trade and make us poorer is very bad for nature.
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Old 23-09-2015, 08:58   #33
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Re: Something for us all to think about

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When given ownership rights, people create rules that work to rebound wildlife populations, both on land and water.
Some don't believe in personal property rights.

But I think you are right.

A farmer's stocked fish pond is a perfect example. While an individual fish may be at risk when he shows up on Friday to harvest for the Saturday fish fry, the health of the population is guaranteed by the farmer who feeds them daily and protects the health of their environment, so that he can have another fish fry next week.
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Old 23-09-2015, 10:02   #34
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Re: Something for us all to think about

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There are no politically correct solutions to problems of overpopulation.
To be clear, political correctness itself isn't a solution to anything, it's a problem in and of itself. A rose is a rose by any other name.

Renaming stuff never fixed anything.
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Old 23-09-2015, 10:06   #35
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Re: Something for us all to think about

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Some don't believe in personal property rights.

But I think you are right.

A farmer's stocked fish pond is a perfect example. While an individual fish may be at risk when he shows up on Friday to harvest for the Saturday fish fry, the health of the population is guaranteed by the farmer who feeds them daily and protects the health of their environment, so that he can have another fish fry next week.
In theory, that's how it works.

In reality, take a look at all of the rivers polluted by fish farms. It would be nice if everyone conducted their business in a responsible way but the reality is that greed takes over, profit margins need to constantly rise, corners get cut, antibiotics get overused, etc etc and soon you have another polluted river and another wild fish population at risk because of it.
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Old 23-09-2015, 10:30   #36
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Re: Something for us all to think about

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Fish sticks 'no where' are deminishing to feed the worlds populations, or to feed the hungry and all that rubbish. Fish stocks deminish because greedy corporations want to make more money for very few people. Unfortunately the poor get dragged into this circle exploiting stocks to meet the demand of these greedy corporations and to compete to survive against them.
You make the point more bluntly than I, but this is what I was trying to point out. Just look up global consumption levels. First world countries ... the ones that make up the smallest population demographic, are consuming two to three times more per capita than all other areas, including Asia. It's true that China now seems to be the largest overall consumer of fish, but taken a per-capita measure it is nothing compared to the average Westerner.

Here's a modest proposal: Westerners start consuming at the same per-capita level as the average Asian. That probably won't solve the problem of over-fishing, but it would go a long, long way.
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Old 23-09-2015, 10:35   #37
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Re: Something for us all to think about

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At least one premise of the article is demonstrably wrong. Hydrocarbon fuel is not dwindling. In fact, the known reserves of oil and gas have increased substantially in the last 2 decades. There is enough known recoverable fuel to easily handle the world's energy needs for at least a couple centuries and probably longer than that.

And it makes me crazy to hear the term fossil fuel. Who thinks that the methane gas now known to exist on Pluto is a byproduct of dinosaurs?

Definition of fossil
1: preserved from a past geologic age <fossil plants> <fossil water in an underground reservoir


Oil does not come from dinosaurs, it has been known since the mid 60's that the vast majority of oil is a product of mainly marine algae (there is a very large non-marine deposit, known as the Green River Formation, in the western US), laid down in a non-oxidizing environment so that it didn't decompose, then buried to a level that basically cooked the hydrocarbons contained in the algae into oil, if the source wasn't buried too deeply. If it was buried too deeply, it was changed to natural gas.

If memory serves correctly, there were 2 main pulses when oil producing sediments were produced, as far as anyone knows there is no oil being produced to replace what will be gone in 50 years (if you believe the posted proved reserves, which have often been shown to have been manipulated, for various, mostly financial, reasons).

So if a resource is not being replaced, and is being consumed, it can, in fact, be said to be dwindling. Especially when it is being consumed at the rate of 33 billion barrels a year. It's really just common sense, if supplies weren't being used up, oil companies wouldn't be using ever more sophisticated (read expensive) technologies in ever more remote and extreme situations to keep production (and reserves) up.

International Energy Statistics - EIA

Of course that says nothing about coal or natural gas or methane clathrates or any other fossil type fuel you care to bring up. The problem/question is not really availability but sustainability. Think about the orange roughy. When they put in catch quotas (after it was too late) based on more typical lifecycle paradigms, the roughy, with its' extremely long replacement times, couldn't keep up; the fishery at that level was unsustainable, and of course, collapsed.

In much the same way, the human use of resources, at current and projected levels is, far more likely than not, unsustainable.
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Old 23-09-2015, 10:41   #38
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Re: Something for us all to think about

Over population is a problem. No one wants to confront it. Much of what we are privileged to know and experience will be gone in 50 years. What's worse is that much of the uneducated and backwards parts of the world are the fastest growing. Much of the modern civilized world has decreased in birthrate. IIRC the current population is about 7 billion, by 2050 2 billion will be added. The gas crisis was nothing, the food and water crisis is on the horizon. I learned all this from a recent documentary I watched.. evaluating the change in the planet, including pictures from space, land area per capita, land area to feed each person etc.
What will the growing population do when confronted with starving children? Join radical Islam in frustration? or another alternative?
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Old 23-09-2015, 11:05   #39
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Re: Something for us all to think about

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In theory, that's how it works.

In reality, take a look at all of the rivers polluted by fish farms. It would be nice if everyone conducted their business in a responsible way but the reality is that greed takes over, profit margins need to constantly rise, corners get cut, antibiotics get overused, etc etc and soon you have another polluted river and another wild fish population at risk because of it.
Yes, and this shows the importance of the incentive structures that are created. Again, what you have here is a tragedy of the commons. If everyone has the incentive to use as many resources as possible, and nobody has the right to prevent them, they will do that. But what if a group owned a property right in all the fish in a particular area of the river? Then, if someone pollutes, they now have a lawsuit against them. They also have an incentive to increase the fish population to sustainable levels, because then they can charge people to fish/harvest on an ongoing basis.

But if a politician says "we are going to sell the rights to the fish", then all the environmental groups go nuts about 'corporate exploitation' -- when really it is the failed incentives that created the problem in the first place.
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Old 23-09-2015, 11:08   #40
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Re: Something for us all to think about

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The gas crisis was nothing, the food and water crisis is on the horizon.
This prediction has been made every ten years since the 1700's; and yet, each year more and more people are well-fed. It is based on a misunderstanding of science and human progress. There is no reason to think the doom-sayers will be any more correct this time than any of the other hundreds of times.
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Old 23-09-2015, 11:23   #41
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Re: Something for us all to think about

Overpopulation and consumption are all local equations. The resources and infrastructure is there to sustain 1000 people per square mile in New Jersey, but not in Libya. But if you look globally and if all the "third world" nations with their current populations could consume at a rate equivalent to that in the U.S., we would need 11 more Earths to sustain us all. Political conflicts notwithstanding, the Earth's ability to sustain life is not equally distributed around the planet, and it is moving and changing, as in climate pattern changes which we still are woefully unable to predict reliably. Someone mentioned there is plenty of oil and gas to power us all for many years. That is sadly true, because we will likely burn it and cook the planet even faster.
But to return to the original post, haven't we all seen firsthand dramatic and tragic changes in the ocean we are all sailing on in a very short span of time? I want to have reasons for optimism, but denial doesn't appeal to me.
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Old 23-09-2015, 11:34   #42
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Re: Something for us all to think about

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Originally Posted by Kevin876 View Post
here is something I just read and all of us as lovers of the big blue should acknowledge at the very least...

Marine life slashed by half since 1970: WWF

I am still a young guy at 49 but have been a lover of the marine life since I was in diapers.. I have known about it for years I mean who hasn't ..but when I read that the tuna population is down 74%! I really thought what the !@#$% are we "humans" thinking...time to rethink...

Just thought I would mention...if you can help in some sort of way then lets do it....
Global problem.

Overfishing has led to many of the current piracy problems and reef destruction through dynamite fishing.

Even in Australia where fishing is relatively well regulated the decline in fish size and quantities is apparent.

Globally we humans are consuming 120% of available resources. (ABC Science Show Podcast Sep 2015)



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Old 23-09-2015, 11:39   #43
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Re: Something for us all to think about

Hi everybody,

I am captain of a large bottom trawler that operates in the Bering sea. Let's get that right out front. I have been doing it for 25 years, and have a keen interest in the sustainability of the stocks. I would not be doing this if I saw unsustainable management happening. The species I target can not be worked effectively with any type of gear other than trawls.

Here's the deal with commercial fishing and its impact on ocean life, stated in a simple manner. Of course it's more nuanced and complex than one can write on a post, but here's the gist.

First, humanity absolutely has the capability to adversely affect fish stocks worldwide. It has happened in many places, and is happening today.

That said, however, responsibly harvested wild fish populations represent the most ecologically friendly method of bringing quality protein to the world's tables. I will use my own boat as an example. We delivered about 22 million pounds of headed/gutted frozen fish to market last year, meaning about 30 million meals utilized my fish. This was done without fertilizers, chemicals, runoff into watersheds, topsoil depletion, etc, etc.

It is simply one of the least impactful ways to deliver food to the world.

Yes, we catch a lot of fish. Yes, the videos showing large catches get the greenies all up in arms, but my fishery has been going on for decades. Fish stocks are healthy (in my part of the world, anyway). The habitat in my fishery is all soft mud/sand substrates. We have elevated our nets to minimize impact on even this non-prone to damage seabed.

We are heavily managed, and certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council.

There is a strict moratorium on more permits/vessels. We have 2 federal fisheries observers on board at all times when operating.

So, the bottom line is this. Fishing can and should continue, but the rest of the world needs to be brought into line with modern management methods as soon as possible.

So, what to do? First, lose the notion that all fishing has a negative impact on the marine environment.

Second, take the time to learn the issue. There are ways to accomplish sustainable harvests. Unfortunately most of the major environmental NGO's are awfully fast and loose with the truth. Greenpeace in particular has been demonstrated conclusively to be in error on many fishing issues for over 20 years.

Fishing (outside EEZ's) needs to be brought under an international authority. As it stands, fisheries are either unmanaged or poorly managed outside the EEZ's of nations. This needs to change.

Second, underdeveloped fishing nations, as well as the traditional distant-water nations need to be brought into line with the leaders in fisheries management.

How to accomplish it with the overcapitalization of fleets around the world? Well, it's going to ultimately require government intervention and taxpayer buybacks, I'm afraid. Not popular, but no hard choice is.

End rant, back to sailing...


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Old 23-09-2015, 11:44   #44
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Re: Something for us all to think about

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Yes, and this shows the importance of the incentive structures that are created. Again, what you have here is a tragedy of the commons. If everyone has the incentive to use as many resources as possible, and nobody has the right to prevent them, they will do that. But what if a group owned a property right in all the fish in a particular area of the river? Then, if someone pollutes, they now have a lawsuit against them. They also have an incentive to increase the fish population to sustainable levels, because then they can charge people to fish/harvest on an ongoing basis.

But if a politician says "we are going to sell the rights to the fish", then all the environmental groups go nuts about 'corporate exploitation' -- when really it is the failed incentives that created the problem in the first place.
On the economics, I agree but I think your indictment of environmental groups is unwarranted. There are many different groups with a lot of very smart, dedicated people working steadily on a variety of causes. They do not always agree on the best way solve a problem, but more often they do. When people agree, and work out local solutions to local environmental problems, we rarely hear about it, it is not "news" because there is not enough conflict and controversy to sell the airtime.
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Old 23-09-2015, 11:48   #45
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Re: Something for us all to think about

Article makes a great headline, "Marine Life Sliced by Half" but since we don't currently know the biomass of the oceans how do we know it's half? It seems to be pure sensationalism, not science, want to donate?

Chances are in 1970 we had no clue what the oceans biomass was. Last year researchers upped the fish biomass estimate by a factor of 10 Fish biomass in the ocean is 10 times higher than estimated | EurekAlert! Science News (first hit on Google).

I agree there are great problems but sensationalistic fluff articles don't help the cause. Also, I don't think I like the idea of lowering my personal consumption to equal that of the third world countries. How does one get their head around that? We need a better idea methinks.
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