Monday, November 22, 2010

Whale Rider/Whale Killer Tag Team

Sealord has welcomed last week's decision that labelled the commercial fishing of Antarctic toothfish as "sustainable".
Sealord's one of three NZ companies that have caught the deep-water toothfish in the Ross Sea since 1996, grabbing its share of $18-million annually. The fishery got a thumbs-up from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which means the fish now has an eco-label and can fetch premium prices.
But the MSC decision contradicts the opinion of the international body which manages all fishing in the waters surrounding Antarctica. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources considers toothfish an exploratory fishery, meaning not enough is known for it to be considered commercially sustainable.
Sealord says it's a good well managed fishery, and adds toothfish is very popular in the USA ( this means what exactly?).
It should be noted that toothfish are slow-growing and live to about 24 years. Females don't reach breeding maturity until around the 10yr. mark. If Sealord goes in hard with its longlines, the next generation of toothfish may not even make it to maturity.
Conservation groups strongly opposed the toothfish fishery being declared sustainable. In 2010 Greenpeace added the species to its seafood 'red list'. This is a list of fish commonly sold in supermarkets around the world, which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries. It considers toothfish to be threatened and says it makes no sense for it to be MSC-certified. Greenpeace feels this signals the beginning of the end for the species.
A maori consortium, Aotearoa Fisheries, owns a 50% shareholding in Sealord (you may know some of their other trading brands like Moana Pacific, Kia Ora Seafoods and Pacific Marine Farms). The other half of Sealord is owned by Japanese company Nissui, a major shareholder in Japan's Antarctic whaling fleet!
Antarctic toothfish - an ugly lil suckerBy logical extension, you may very well think that the Japanese are doing all they can to completely rape the Southern Ocean, by -
(1) illegal hunting in waters where all commercial whaling is banned (ahhhh, but of course it's not commercial whaling - it's only "lethal research" with meat being sold to fund more research! Silly me!).
(2) preparing to strip-mine the antarctic toothfish via Sealord.
You may also very well think that it's a little incongruous for maori, supposed self-appointed guardians of the environment, to be working in partnership with whale butchers.
You may very well think that. I couldn't possibly comment.

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