We are Doomed, Next Chapter

where_chinese_vessels_fish
Hoocoodanode that China would under-report their fishing by a factor of 12 for the past 11 years. (original study [pdf])

“China is not alone in this,” [fisheries scientist] Zeller said. “Basically, every country in the world underreports its catch.”

He argued that this relates directly to problems of overfishing and the depletion of fish stocks “at the most fundamental level.”

“If we don’t know how much we are actually taking, how can we ever figure out what is sustainable?” Zeller asked. “Countries need to be more transparent and more accountable about their activities.”

The reason the area east west of Africa is so big on the map is that the governments there are ineffectual and corrupt, and that’s the one place where lots of fish are left (but, obviously, not for long).






46 replies
  1. 1
    Schlemizel says:

    Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip,

    it won’t be any one thing but all of them add up in the exact same direction.

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    I can’t believe the title isn’t “So Long and Thanks for all the Fish.”

  3. 3
    red dog says:

    Next time the medical gang says we should eat something it better be sand.

  4. 4
    Walker says:

    Somedays I feel as if a resource (cold) war with China is inevitable.

  5. 5
    c u n d gulag says:

    @Baud:
    DAMN YOU, BAUD!!!

    “What were trees, and polor bears, and fish, Grandpa? And what’s an Arctic and Antarctic?”

    ‘Shut up, Kid. I’m trying to get ready for a “Mad Max” raid! We’re almost outta gas!’

  6. 6
    gvg says:

    Don’t you mean west of Africa? The biggest circle is to the west.

  7. 7
    mistermix says:

    @gvg: Yep, thanks.

  8. 8
    Tim F. says:

    If only I could figure out why the people committing piracy in Somalia all drive fishing boats. You would think they might use those boats for fishing or something. IF THERE WERE ANY FISH.

  9. 9
    Cassidy says:

    So, first we enact a worldwide moratorium on commercial fishing, enforced with Naval gunfire. Next, we get behind this 3D printing of meat. I don’t know if it’s real, but it sounds sciency and it’s on FB; has to be true.

    Third, we confine anyone identifying as conservative, Republican, libertarian, and T&H to FEMA camps. This has no impact on the fish population, but I figure if we’re rying to make the world a better place, why the hell not.

  10. 10
    Evinfuilt says:

    My partner just mentioned that the next time repubs get elected president we could see them get rid of the laws protecting the fish in Alaska. Why have the last sustainable fish zone when someone could make a short term haul’o’cash.

  11. 11
    Punchy says:

    Where does Abe Vigoda fit into all of this?

  12. 12
    jeff says:

    Stealing food from Africa is pretty darned shitty in all regards.

  13. 13
    Tone in DC says:

    Cassidy Says:

    So, first we enact a worldwide moratorium on commercial fishing, enforced with Naval gunfire. Next, we get behind this 3D printing of meat. I don’t know if it’s real, but it sounds sciency and it’s on FB; has to be true.

    Third, we confine anyone identifying as conservative, Republican, libertarian, and T&H to FEMA camps. This has no impact on the fish population, but I figure if we’re trying to make the world a better place, why the hell not.

    I like it.
    They can use the Volkswagen guns. Just to make sure.

  14. 14
    Feudalism Now! says:

    @Punchy: No Barney Miller references, you!

    We will need to learn to enjoy cockroach and kudzu cuisine soon. Fortunately, we have poisoned a significant portion of our stock, so mercury poisoning is a future bonus too.

  15. 15
    the Conster says:

    Veganism is looking not only like the best option, but the only option. I’m going to have to brush up on quinoa recipes.

  16. 16
    Cassidy says:

    @Tone in DC: On the fishing boats or proposed camps?

    That being said, what do we call said camps. I don’t like “FEMA Camps”. I think we can all agree to throw out concentration camps as an option. I’m not interested in re-education. Convenience Camps, maybe? Niceness Camps? Polite Society Camps? I hope you resort to eating one another you heartless fucks Camps?

  17. 17
    Schlemizel says:

    @the Conster:

    Apprently you have not heard – our quinoa fixation is starving native populations. They can’t grow enough so the price has skyrocketed pricing the locals out of the market.

    Given what Monsanto et al are doing to our crops and what we are all doing to the weather even veganism may not be the painless answer people want

  18. 18
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Looks like the government of China will eventually have to put the “Chinese” in “Chinese Food.”

  19. 19
    Cassidy says:

    Time to start building that bunker.

  20. 20
    Nina says:

    @Cassidy: We should let all of them relocate to Freedom Camps, where they can all take turns manning the walls of their fortresses with their personal automatic weapons and being armed on the main streets and nothing bad will ever happen to them so long as every man woman and child in the camp is armed and nobody leaves the compound. Or looks at someone else’s spouse/children/property funny.

  21. 21

    @Cassidy:

    That being said, what do we call said camps.

    Extermination camps. Let’s be honest.

  22. 22
    Cassidy says:

    @Roger Moore: Well, tbh, I don’t want to kill them. I just want them sequestered away from everything. I won’t be heartbroken if they start offing each other, but that’s on them.

  23. 23
    GregB says:

    Maybe North Korea is going to do the planet a favor.

    I’ll be here all week, try the seal!

  24. 24
    The Moar You Know says:

    I have a close relative, NGO guy, working in the field now known as “food security”, a term that, if it doesn’t cause your nether sphincter to tighten uncontrollably, should.

    The world is going to be in very very deep shit soon as regards food, and fish is pretty far down the list of potential problems. Most of North America is in a pretty good position for now, but we are at grave risk from our monoculture-oriented farming practices. “One virus away” as my relative likes to say.

    The core of the problem worldwide is pretty much what you’d expect – water.

    Veganism and farmer’s markets won’t even come close to addressing the scope of the problem. Mandatory birth control and a worldwide version of China’s “one child” policy might do the trick in time. Of course, the odds of this actually happening are literally zero.

  25. 25
    kerFuFFler says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Mandatory birth control and a worldwide version of China’s “one child” policy might do the trick in time.

    Mandatory birth control ain’t pretty, but at least China was not burying its head in the sand about the realities of overpopulation. Though many argue that birth control will be adopted eventually in “developing” nations as the standard of living improves, I don’t think it is reasonable to think that will happen fast enough to forestall catastrophic population growth.

    Birth control should be a central plank in our foreign aid, not something that gets defunded because some agencies say the word ‘abortion’ out loud.

  26. 26
    The Moar You Know says:

    our quinoa fixation is starving native populations. They can’t grow enough so the price has skyrocketed pricing the locals out of the market.

    @Schlemizel: And the truly fucked-up thing about the quinoa farmers is that they can’t grow anything else at that altitude. The farmers sell off all the quinoa, so they make some money, but then everyone in the village is fucked because there’s nothing to eat.

  27. 27
    Lee says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    I read an article just recently that was a small ray of sunshine on that topic.

    It seems that birthrates in some of the 3rd world countries are dropping as they are slowly raise their standard of living (which is expected). So maybe working on the poverty problem with a little more effort could help.

  28. 28

    @Lee: Not only that, but it helps that each child actually has a change to grow up, grow up to be something other than a beggar, and that women being valued means that each child is worth more. Which means that there are fewer kids per woman. Anyway, given a real choice, it really does even out populationwise. One woman has 10, another has 2 or even one. Without draconian rules.

    Check out urban agriculture for a ray of both hope and chances for earth healing as well.

  29. 29
    Lurker says:

    @Cassidy: I would propose we call it ‘Rand Camp’

  30. 30

    @kerFuFFler:

    Mandatory birth control ain’t pretty, but at least China was not burying its head in the sand about the realities of overpopulation.

    Which is about what my Chinese coworkers say about it. They weren’t thrilled about being limited to one child, but they view the one child policy as a least bad solution to a real problem. It’s fair, at least on paper, and it lets everyone have a chance to be a parent. It’s amazing what people will accept when the alternative is death by starvation.

  31. 31
    Gindy51 says:

    @Evinfuilt: One oil spill from those drill platforms and it will be all over but the dying.

  32. 32
    jayjaybear says:

    @Cassidy: Heinlein had the right idea. Call them “Coventry”.

  33. 33
    feebog says:

    Just returned from a 10 day trip to China. Their “one child policy has now come around to bite them in the ass. Too many old people living longer, and not enough young people to support the pension system. They have 1.3 billion people to feed and are just now moving into more modern agricultural means of growing crops. One of the big pushes now is to move towards commercial agriculture and move the small displaced farmers into urban areas. The problem with that is that they have no jobs for those farmers and the farmers don’t have the right job skills even if there were jobs.

  34. 34
    Elie says:

    Meanwhile, the swine flue, avian and or other viruses are rolling the DNA and RNA combos that will do the trick for a massive human pandemic of some sort. Just a matter of time…lots of population density and intimate contact with all sorts of animal virus genes along with degraded natural mechanisms to stop disease amplification.

  35. 35
    Jasmine Bleach says:

    @feebog:

    I don’t understand what you mean by the “one child policy has now come round to bite them in the ass.” It sounds like it’s working well to me. They need fewer people, and it seems they have succeeded.

    Hell, just about all countries need fewer people! I wish that would start happening everywhere.

    Now, yes, I do realize that in the short term (and we’re really talking just one generation or so), that maybe the younger folks or the government won’t be able to fully support such a large population of old coots–but then again, it just means the old coots will be supported by less, not nothing. Maybe everybody has to do with a bit less (not a bad thing at all in my opinion–at least for the middle and upper classes of society–we have to get out of this consumption society for the world to survive–see fish story above for just one example).

    I know this goes against all idealistic ideas of capitalism, where you need to GROW, GROW, GROW, faster and faster and ever faster. But the thing is, this isn’t about money at all, and if you’re looking just at the money (OMG!!! We can’t fully support the pension system!), you’re being extremely myopic in my view. We should be focusing on having FOOD, and WATER, and ENERGY for future generations, and having fewer people living on this planet (or at least leveling off the population) is pretty much a necessity for it. My hat is off to China and Italy and wherever else the population is leveling off or dropping. I consider that a huge success.

    And, yes, I understand there is some short-term economic pain associated with that. But, that’s minor compared with the alternative future.

  36. 36
    bourbaki says:

    @feebog:

    You must have missed out on the fact that China has extremely insufficient social insurance — i.e., most people don’t get a pension. This means they either had to save enough during there working life (which is why consumption is so low in China relative to its GDP) or be supported by there children (or even grandchildren the “4-2-1” problem).

    Given how quickly the Chinese economy has been growing — due to enormous gains in productivity — if they had something like Social Security in place they would have no trouble absorbing the aging of society.

  37. 37
    Trollhattan says:

    @Evinfuilt:

    From your partner’s lips to Voldomort’s ear. Apologize for the Daily Caller link, but here’s how they plan to get started.

    New EPA chief must end political attacks on Pebble Mine

    Poor, dear Pebble Mine. He never hurt anybody, but the bullying DFHs are being so MEAN.
    http://dailycaller.com/2013/03.....bble-mine/

  38. 38
    Redshirt says:

    Far likelier than a Cold War with China will be a revolution in China. For many reasons, but prime among them is the age differential, as mentioned above, but even more so, the imbalance of men and women among the younger generations. There’s too many men, and this ALWAYS spells trouble.

  39. 39
    EJ says:

    @Tim F.: Modern Somali piracy started out as a sort of private militia to replace the defunct Somali coast guard and protect local fisheries from Chinese and other fishing fleets illegally exploiting them.

    The switch to full-time piracy came later, though I bet that’s the reason the Chinese still stay away.

  40. 40
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Lee:

    It seems that birthrates in some of the 3rd world countries are dropping as they are slowly raise their standard of living (which is expected). So maybe working on the poverty problem with a little more effort could help.

    Well, birthrates are dropping, but their use of resources is increasing. One middle-class American, after all, can use as much food, oil, gas, water, etc. in one year as 50 poor Africans. So once all those Africans and Asians get used to — and demand– American levels of consumption….

    Look, all I’m saying is we better find another habitable planet, and soon.

  41. 41
    Redshirt says:

    As for food security, the following developments are necessary to stave off disaster:

    1. Improved water extraction. I’m thinking primarily desalinization and reclamation.
    2. Improved irrigation, both in long term distribution and in the fields.
    3. Genetic engineering designed to not only improve yields/resist pests, but also to introduce separate genetic lines to guard against a single disaster.
    4. Indoor agriculture/aquaculture. Think of a skyscraper in NYC that is farming fish.
    5. An increased emphasis on vegetarian diets.

  42. 42

    1) Encourage home gardening, composting, land reclamation and local food production. Reduces carbon footprint of food production and helps renew soil.
    2) Eat lower on the meat scale. More chicken, pork.
    3) Desalinization.

  43. 43
    Maude says:

    @CarolDuhart2:
    There’s concern that the Dead Sea is going to be drained by desalinization. I read that a few months ago. It would be a shame to lose it.
    Drought is a serious problem that is not able to be fixed readily. There has to be a source of water in order to irrigate.
    The US is moving along nicely on irrigation for food crops in the growing states. Landsat 8 will help measure the water use. In the growing crops state, irrigation is 80% of water use.
    I need to stop reading stuff.

  44. 44
    ruemara says:

    @Schlemizel: My current article is on sustainable seafood. Veganism and vegetarianism are not as low-impact or sustainable as you’d believe. How many tofu and seitan trees have you seen? Food is going to be a crazy set of balancing acts and woe betide if we ever have a conservative majority in America’s Congress for the next 10 years.

  45. 45
    Redshirt says:

    @ruemara: The vegetarian diet makes sense only in skipping several steps in the meat diet – the animal. Grow crops, eat the crops, as opposed to grow crops feed animals eat animals.

  46. 46
    Xantar says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Actually from what I’ve read, the quinoa farmers themselves are doing fine because they always set aside 10% of the crop for themselves regardles of the price. The problem is all the non-farmers in the country are getting priced out by international demand.

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