Sunday, January 11, 2009

Is Pole and Line Fishing Environment Friendly?


MIFCO tuna cans proudly display the slogan 'Dolphin Friendly.' What it means is that the cans contain tuna caught by pole and line fishing, which does not harm dolphins. That may be true. But is the method 'reef friendly' too?

As we all know pole and line fisheries depends on live bait harvested from reefs. The process is not entirely harmless to the reefs, with delicate corals prone to damage at the hands of careless boat crews. For this reason in fact most tourist resorts strongly resent bait harvesting in their vicinity.

The risk has increased in recent years with the arrival of large fiberglass boats and the increase in fish catch to over 150,000 metric tons per year. Unfortunately despite the advance in technology these boats still depend on live bait harvested from the same reefs.

The sustainability of live bait harvesting is also under question with the increased number of fishing vessels, many of which use strong lights to attract huge quantities of bait. Perhaps we may learn a few lessons from the experience of others. A research report from the neighboring Lakshadweep Islands says, "Islanders still practice traditional pole and line fishing methods for tuna. Additionally, various stresses and the increased harvesting of live bait (for tuna fishing) within lagoons have resulted in the decline of bait fish and additional stress on the reefs."

The question is how long this can go on unregulated before bait species disappear like the sea cucumber did some years back.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pole and line is our tradition we must never let it down

Anonymous said...

Reefs are more important than fisheries. So if they can't catch fish without destroying reefs ban fishing.

Anonymous said...

"Ban Fishing".. "Ban Tourism".. our voices.. hmpft.. is there any other source of income?

Abdullah Waheed's Blog said...

To anon 1:50 PM,
We don't have any sources of income other than fisheries and tourism. That is why conservation and sustainability are vital for both these industries.

Ahmed Shareef said...

Fishermen dont catch tuna at reef, instead they head to open ocean. So, pole and line fishing of tuna is not a threat to reef. Our ancestors did that for thousands of years and still fishing remains constant or even better. Obviously a good gesture! But, I am concerned of the super bright lights you have mentioned that they use to catch bait fish. I cant think of any way it can be environment friendly, as schools of bait fish is cleared into the boat within minutes, nevertheless its size. I really feel that we will get to pay a price for wiping those schools so lazily unlike what our ancestors did.

ismail said...

Needs to do a research on the effects of harvesting live bait from the reefs. Cannot we breed the fish used as bait? Are there alternatives to live bait? I think the experts need to address these questions.

Anonymous said...

they use lights to attract the bait fish...so no reef is broken during the process...
about extinction of bait fish...its been years, since the same process is being practiced...still the bait is available...i don't think there is anything top worry about pole n line fishing

Anonymous said...

God created the earth and the ocean so that we the noblest of His creations can live a happy and rewarding life and after harvesting the earth and its waters we could spend time praying to Him and being grateful.There will always be dolphins and tuna and reefs and so on . If any of what we see here now disappears again it is no big issue. How many thousand of species including fishes,animals human like beings and plants and trees have been created and undone over the course of time. This is part of a natural process. We the small beings that we are should not needlessly worry.
Our tuna stock and our bait and our reefs if they 'die off ' or are depleted it is part of God's bigger design.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9.50 am:
How simplistic...hehe

Anonymous said...

I was a dinosaur millions of years back.All of my kind got wiped off the earth.There were lots of different species then. Even then there were among us who predicted our demise.In fact, we took a lot of 'environmentally sound measures to ward off a catastrophe. We even thought the measures we took were working.Then one fine day a big rock came from outer space and hit the earth so hard we and many other species got exterminated. Moral. There is just nothing you can do when the time comes,we will all have to go.
PS. I am the only surviving dinosaur.How I survived and where I now reside is another story.

Anonymous said...

LOL.. SOME JUICY COOMENTS. KEKEKE