Science and the Filet O’Fish

A few weeks ago, I presented some information about the collapse of the Atlantic Cod fishery – was it real or just a political argument between the US and Canada? The “it’s real” narrative is the collapse was caused by overfishing. As demand exceeded supply, fishing boats caught younger and younger fish, wiping out most of the Cod big enough to reproduce. The hope was that by limiting the quantity harvested, the surviving fish would grow up and with each female spewing out a million eggs, in 5 years, the fish would return. It hasn’t The smaller fish the Cod ate for food are now eating most of the cod eggs.

So the Alaskan Pollock has replaced most domestic fish consumption. Hoping to avoid the cod mistake, the Pollock Fishing is tightly controlled. The main premise is that fishermen will only be allowed to catch 1/7th of the population in a year. The fishing season is split into four pieces. Each fishing boat has a catch limit, and when it is reached, they go home.

Alaska Pollock basics

The annual catch is about 2.7 billion pounds. That’s a lot of fish, until you realize there are about 7 billion people. Here is an hour long documentary of how Pollock fishing works on a huge factory ship.

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7 Responses to Science and the Filet O’Fish

  1. briand75 says:

    What scares me the most about issues like Cod is thinking about issues like white tail deer. They are overpopulated in almost every area they exist. Anytime man places artificial restrictions to “protect” a species, there is ultimately disaster around the corner. Left alone, nature adapts to the predatory human race as much as possible.

    I hope that Cod recover. Cod was the food of the world for so many years. Technology came along and gave the fishermen too much advantage and the entire planet ended up fishing them almost out of existence. Restrictions on fishing Cod shouldn’t be necessary – can’t folks learn to take only what is needed? I guess not – money is involved and human greed follows like a shadow. I hope there is time to save the Pollock.

  2. Parrott says:

    I watched that video on the Alaskan Pollack, way before the election, it was good.

    November 10 ring a bell anyone? Anyone ? Bueller ?
    41 years ago the Edmund Fitzgerald sunk in Lake Superior. ‘Big Fitz’ . You all know Gordon Lightfoot’s song. Anyhoo, the Arthur Anderson is also a ‘Laker’ which happened to be following ‘Big Fitz’ that fateful evening. Interesting thing the ‘Arthur Anderson is still hauling talconite pellets and limestone today. I checked
    marine-watch and Arthur Anderson is in the lower part of Lake Huron headed south.
    Pretty wild.

    • TheChairman says:

      Yep, she still pulls into port here (Rogers City) to load calcite. It’s easy to spot the old freighters with the characteristic pilot-house at the bow, whereas newer ships have the bridge set near the stern. Hard to believe she was built in 1952!

  3. Fred Stiening says:

    Booo… YouTube pulled the video. Perhaps it was fake! More likely a copyright issue 😉

    Video link updated…

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