Fishing for answers

Kevin M. Bailey, a senior scientist at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center and affiliate professor at the University of Washington has written a detailed explanation of the economic, scientific and political underpinnings surrounding the Alaskan pollock in his new book, Billion Dollar Fish. This is the product that makes up much of the school cafeteria/fish stick/filet o’fish market and therefore its demise or success has a far-reaching impact on commercial fishing policies. The study of fishing systems is helpful to anyone that is thinking of growing food systems into complete systems. In studying fishing/harvesting, other subjects such as pollution from industries such as agriculture, game fishers, border issues and the aftermath of disasters must be considered even as most Western citizens have grown deeply unaware of their waterways with the advent of the highway and railroad systems.
Ocean communities are complex. The fates of species are braided with feedback systems, complicated interactions, and co-dependencies. We don’t understand much about marine fishes because our ability to observe what really goes on in the ocean is limited, and because the lives of fishes are so foreign to our own existence. An incomplete understanding is not a good foundation for engineering solutions. Yet in harvesting them, we try to manipulate the productivity of fish stocks by setting harvests levels as close to the bone as we can cut.

Billion Dollar Fish


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