Many people reduce their meat intake (which is good!) by swapping it with another animal protein source of fish. The problem here lies in how fishing is done around the world and the crimes committed by too many fishers. Indeed, crime on the high seas is alive and well with fishing vessels partaking in swaths of illicit behaviour. This all sounds bad, but the good news comes down to preventing it.
Indeed, researchers have published the results of a large effort to track when, where, and sometimes why fishing vessels turn off their tracking systems known as AIS. This is fantastic because it will help nations enforce the rules of the ocean by stopping illegal maritime activities.
AIS disabling is also strongly correlated with transshipment events –exchanging catch, personnel and suppliesbetween fishing vessels and refrigerated cargo vessels, or “reefers,” at sea. Reefers also have AIS transponders, and researchers can use their data toidentify loitering events, when reefers are in one place long enough to receive cargo from a fishing vessel.
It’s not unusual to see fishing vessels disable their AIS transponders near loitering reefers, which suggests that they want to hide these transfers from oversight. While transferring people or cargo can be legal, when it is poorly monitored it can become a means of laundering illegal catch. It has beenlinked to forced labor and human trafficking.
When fish farms kill their fish for food some of that food is ground up and fed to other fish as nutrient pellets. It’s well known that current fishing practices are really bad for the environment and that fish farms aren’t good for their local environment. Anything we can do to help reduce the damage done by fish (and eating fish) will make this world a little better.
A new company,Â NovoNutrients, has created a solution to the fish feed problem by addressing another global issue: too much carbon. The company has a process which takes carbon from factories and feeds it to microbes, which in turn grow to become fish food.
The startupâ€™s process uses carbon dioxide, along with other emissions, to feed microbes that can then become protein for companies that make pellets of food for fish. Those microbes are similar to ones that evolved to live near gas vents in the ocean; the startup arranges them with other species into â€œmicrobial factoriesâ€ that work together to make the whole process more efficient.
The company is also developing new microbes, using synthetic biology, that can produce particular nutrientsâ€“vitamins or probiotics, for exampleâ€“that can also be used as ingredients in feed. All of this will happen in pipes that help the gases dissolve in water, rather than in the large tanks that are used for fermentation in a brewery or some pharmaceutical companies. The pipes can connect directly to a cement plant or other industrial emitter and then into a fishmeal factory next door. Hydrogen, which can be produced through electrolysis of water using solar power, can provide energy for the system.
The UK will be banning commercial fishing in approximately one million kilometres of their ocean waters. The country is expanding their marine protection areas in the Atlantic and Pacific around the British Overseas Territories. This is good news as overfishing is contributing part to the global mass extinction of marine wildlife, anything countries can do to curtail the current fishing levels will help the environment and at risk species.
A 840,000 sq km (320,000 sq mile) area around Pitcairn, where the mutineers of the Bounty settled, becomes a no-take zone for any fishing from this week. St Helena, around 445,000 sq km of the south Atlantic ocean and home to whale sharks and humpbacks, is now also designated as a protected area.
The foreign office said it would designate two further marine protection zones, one each around two south Altantic islands â€“ Ascension by 2019 and Tristan da Cunha by 2020.
Sir Alan Duncan, minister of state for Europe and the Americas, said: â€œProtecting 4m sq km of ocean is a fantastic achievement, converting our historic legacy into modern environmental success.â€
It’s well known that the fishing industry is, err, fishy. Slaves are used in international waters by large multinational corporations and overfishing around the world is rampant – pushing many species close to extinction and totally ecosystem collapse. Basically, fishing is a bad thing.
One fisherman has seen his practice change over time and has altered his ways. Instead of culling fish he’s cultivating plants in what is referred to as a “3D farm”.
Bren Smith, a former fisherman, developed an unique, vertical 3-D ocean farming model that is currently revolutionizing our seafood plates while restoring our oceans.
After working as an industrial fisherman for decades and witnessing the devastating effects of mass-fishing, Smith developed his own ocean farm: a sort of underwater garden composed of kelp, mussels, scallops and oysters. Those species are not only edible and in high demand but they also are key in rebuilding our natural reef systems.
The tiny nation of Nauru (which has one of my favourite flags) has changed its laws thanks to the work of Greenpeace. The environmental organization found that fishing trawlers were catching fish at sea then offloading them to essentially a larger factory boat. This practice has been banned in many places because of the severe damage it causes to the fish populations.
The NFMRA, which credited Greenpeaceâ€™s exposure of an â€œillegal operationâ€ for prompting the Nauru government ban, said it regularly observed â€œlongliners in the high seas acting suspiciously and intruding on our bordersâ€.
â€œThese seas act like a safe haven for pirate boats, and transhipment allows them to stay at sea even longer, and launder fish out of the area,â€ it said.
Nauru has become the third Pacific nation to issue a blanket ban on transhipments in its exclusive economic zone, after Marshall Islands and Tuvalu.