I've been spearfishing all of my life. Some of my earliest memories is catching food
from the seas. I was taught a few rules which include never to take more than you can eat and never take a female of the species. With a practiced eye you can tell. That was all sport diving.
I was also a commercial
fisherman. We took pelagic and ground fish. Granted, some of the operations I saw involved enough waste a guy could earn a good income
just by following those operations. That is no exaggeration. Govt regulation did that. Inane govt regulation permitted so and so species could be taken but by catch had to be dumped. And I could but won't devolve this into the practices of various nations, that one nation is more wasteful than another nation. Most every commercial fisherman I had come to know was extremely careful of the resource. That is to say by their practices they were better stewards than the various organizations which project
an image of saving this or that. Again, I don't wish to start a pissing match of who is better. All I am saying here is commercial fishermen I had known was not the massive production boats engaged in extremely wasteful practices that may readably come to mind.
Having left the commercial industry I spent a few yrs in the sport boats taking sport fishermen out. Even many of those skippers would skip over prized areas in order to limit the impact to the fishery of various specie.
We are all concerned for the value of the resource and seek to perpetuate that. The one over riding concern I have is the suspect reports from govt agencies tasked with managing the resources. I have first hand knowledge of how govt agencies had expressed a desire to acquire knowledge but decried how they were unable to due to lack of on the water
observation. When those opportunities were freely afforded those scientists by the commercial or sport boats the agencies said no. But absent real data did not preclude them from authoring reports. This is what govt agencies do. They write reports and they seek grant monies.
They preferred to wait until their agencies could budget
to buy their own boats. And they did. When came the day that they would buy their own boats they would follow the comm and sport boats then to bolster the reports they had already submitted to higher ups or the legislature.
Some examples are 'they' wrote reports of various pelagic free swimmers such as various tuna species. They wrote as early as the 1950s that the North Pacific
Blue Fin tuna population is threatened by overfishing. Later reports indicate the apparent difficulty in tracking pelagic species is due to the very nature of being free swimmers, namely that the majority of the population remains too deep for impact from fishery and too deep for tracking. The earlier reports were amended but held to the tenet that overfishing was the culprit.
The same can be said of the various species of Salmon. Salmon are easier to track but again the apparent cause for low population counts was overfishing. Later reports indexed population counts to stream flows where the Salmon are spawned. Still, the culprit was overfishing.
Also, I happen to know a man who got elected to the state legislature because his campaign promise was to eliminate a certain fishery (halibut). The commercial fishermen of that species were slackjawed. Never had their been a drop in numbers of the harvest. But the perception amongst the public had been artificially contrived that we must do something drastic to preserve the species. He is now the Lt governor of CA.
Such is government
. Govt agencies are solutions looking for a problem. It is manifest to find a crisis in order to secure funding
which ensures the longevity of the agency.
Does overfishing occur? Yes but it is centralized and the impact is less than what the various agencies report. Keep in mind govt agencies charged with resource mgmt must report this in order to win funding
. Grant writing is very competitive.