Tuesday, March 30, 2010
The Destruction of a Commons
This graph shows the amount of Southern Bluefin Tuna (mass in thousands of tons) per year caught from about 1952 until 2004 or so. If other trends for other oceans are similar, the results mean that we've fished out all of the oceans of their major species. The oceans which are vast could recover if we had a 4-5 year moratorium on most types of fishing, but governments are loath to adopt policies that would allow sustainable fishing. We are seeing the depletion of a commons before our very eyes. If we do not stop this over-harvesting, sooner or later, most likely quite soon, Nature will stop us. Nature's solution to overpopulation is famine followed by disease. There is a law which states that one starves when there is nothing to eat. It's a very simple law and one that can not be violated. Starvation causes humans to do strange things to drive the hunger pangs away. If you wish to satisfy your curiosity, look up the Donner Party, the starving time of the Jamestown Settlement, or Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 for what people have to do to survive.