Editorial 97

Trim and Fudge!

The world’s public has being bombarded by the media about the concerns regarding global warming to the point that most have become blas’ about it. Most realize that it will not affect their life style much over the next 50 years so why panic! Let our children deal with it, we’re having far too much fun to stop now!

But what most of us do not have to ponder if it is real or not is the plundering of the oceans fish stocks. For example, all my diving mates who have been around for a while are concerned at what they have witnessed in their lifetime which, in reality is less than a blink in time when you consider how long the oceans have existed.

In just a few years, with the assistance of fantastic technology, man has virtually vacuumed up most of the once common fish species to a level that their commercial sustainability is under threat.

Currently in New Zealand there is a conflict of opinions between the recreational fishermen and commercial fishing interests on the amount of fish each group can take. It has got to the point that both parties are fighting it out in the High Court in a landmark case on the allowable commercial take for kahawai (in Australia commonly called salmon) to make their point.

Commercial quota verses a fisherman’s daily limit.

Reading the debate in national newspapers is like reading about two spoilt kids fighting in a lolly scramble.

They should both look around and take heed of what has happened to fish stocks in other parts of the planet.

Recently the European, International Council for the Exploration of the Seas has called for a total ban on cod fishing plus a 15% cut in the total allowable catch by commercial fishermen.

This is after scientists who monitor the cod fishery advised government to ban cod fishing in European Union (EU) waters or risk exterminating cod as a commercial species. Scientists now calculate that by 2048 the world’s fish and seafood populations will collapse!

Sadly this type of advice and outcome is all too familiar around the fishing nations of the world.

Governments just do not seem to have the political will to take action until the results of their inaction are rammed down their throats!

I would suggest that the New Zealand and Australian governments would be reluctant to dramatically reduce the total fisheries taken by all parties concerned that would be political suicide! Like global warming, action will finally be taken when vested financial interests realize, if they wish to be in the same business long term, some hard decisions have to be made.

We have the tools and the people to provide the information on what is happening to the world’s fish stocks and the health of the oceans, but who will be listening is the big question!

I suspect the trimming and fudging will continue!

Stop press: As we go to press the EU, Russia and South Korea have blocked measures to protect fragile ocean ecosystems at an international conference in Hobart, Australia. Representatives from more than 25 governments met to discuss ways to safeguard marine resources in the Southern Pacific and to establish a regional fisheries management organization.

New Zealand’s Fisheries Minister, Jim Anderton, expressed disappointment in the measures being blocked and commented that the Northern Hemisphere countries had a poor record of managing their own fisheries, and seem set on continuing this in the South Pacific waters.

The lolly scramble continues!

Commercial whaling

Commercial whaling has once again been in the media. Iceland have resumed the hunt after two decades despite the International Whaling Commission’s 1986 moratorium.

It joins Norway in sanctioning full-blown commercial whaling. It is of interest that they are exporting the meat to Japan.

It is recognized that Japan has a huge surplus above their domestic market requirements. The question pops into mind – why?

As we all know China is developing at an extraordinary rate and has a huge population (1,306,313,812 and counting!) to feed.

Is Japan positioning itself for a whaling food bonanza worth many millions of dollars?

Diver Deaths

The North Canterbury Court on Monday 13 November held an inquest into three divers’ deaths that occurred off Motunau Island which is north of Christchurch, New Zealand.

The coroner, Mr David Crera’s findings are expected to be released in the new year. As soon as they are made available to the public we will have his full findings posted on


click on News and scroll down to Coroner’s Reports.

These reports are made available in the interests of diver education and safety.

Reading these reports can only improve your diving practices.

The Dive New Zealand /Dive Pacific team wish to thank you, our loyal readers and our advertisers, for their loyalty and support during 2006.

We look forward to bringing you articles of international standard and providing your business with the channels to expand during 2007.

We wish you all a fantastic Christmas with family and friends and for many a holiday break to enjoy the southern hemisphere’s summer.

Get wet and enjoy!

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