Ocean Doom and Gloom or “Everything is Wonderful”?
In a 2010 post titled “Why Do We Keep Hearing Global Fisheries Are Collapsing?“, Peter Karelva cautions against doom and gloom reporting on ocean fisheries, explaining:
For The Conservancy’s science magazine, Science Chronicles, the world renowned fisheries biologist Ray Hilborn just wrote a fascinating essay examining the doom-and-gloom rhetoric surrounding the state of marine fisheries. For sure, there is another side to the story, and there are scientists who would disagree with Ray. But it is important that the conservation community and the public learn to think skeptically about messages of a forthcoming apocalypse as well as about messages of “everything is wonderful.” Our marine fisheries are too important to the world’s economy and food supply to waste energy on emotional rhetoric — our oceans demand cool-headed analyses and data-based solutions that work. Ray’s essay (reprinted below) about why all the world’s fisheries are not collapsing is a good place to start.
Apocalypse Forestalled: Why All the World’s Fisheries Aren’t Collapsing By Ray Hilborn, Professor, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington
If you have paid any attention to the conservation literature or science journalism over the last five years, you likely have gotten the impression that our oceans are so poorly managed that they soon will be empty of fish — unless governments order drastic curtailment of current fishing practices, including the establishment of huge no-take zones across great swaths of the oceans. – [Source.]
Students attending Economic Thinking workshops on the marine natural resource debate topic hear me recommend Ray and Ulrike Hilborn’s book Overfishing: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2012). It’s under $12 from Amazon (and $10 via Kindle). Highly recommended. And you can “Look Inside” on Amazon for free.
Thinking skeptically about the many sides of public policy topics is just what debate students do best. Students researching and debating marine natural resource policies should share their research and reform proposals with wider audiences interested in making the world–and the world’s oceans–a better place.