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Fish feeds: the ocean in the news

21 Jun

Because last week was world fisheries day–which may be news to you–there was a splash of fish and ocean-related stories in the news. These stories ride in the wake of the books we looked at in class (The Sushi Economy, Four Fish) as well as the issues The Cove touches on. Many of them adopt a similar shock strategy as The Cove, positing or predicting a tipping point in an eco-related issue. Often the stories, even in the international press, feature LA and its aqua-spheres. Here is one example, from the Independent, the British paper. (Also, notice how the vague use of phrases such as “a major report,” and “a global panel of scientists” leaves mysterious the exact nature and credibility of the sources. As we saw in The Cove, and as you find if you follow the paper/money trail of many organizations that advocate on policy issues, science can easily be spun to be partisan, through selective presentation or cryptic methodology…)

The world’s oceans are faced with an unprecedented loss of species comparable to the great mass extinctions of prehistory, a major report suggests today. The seas are degenerating far faster than anyone has predicted, the report says, because of the cumulative impact of a number of severe individual stresses, ranging from climate warming and sea-water acidification, to widespread chemical pollution and gross overfishing.

The beach, featured in the image below, is Redondo.

Credit: APP/Getty Millions of dead anchovies floating at a marina in Redondo Beach, California, in March

As you write up your plan for the USC area, you might consider: what is the balance of evidence, of shock, of emotional tone, of narrative, that you want as the skeleton of your paper? Ruth Ozeki’s novel, My Year of Meats, tackles similar issues–via industrial agriculture–but uses humor to do so. Does each strategy have different motivations, effects, results in the kind of community it builds?

Factory ships, plus ça change edition

29 Sep

Thursday’s Guardian had a sobering piece that described the conditions on contemporary fishing trawlers that provide fish to the EU. The labor issues, and the metaphor of people trapped in a “tin can,” resonate a lot with The Factory Ship. Also, the “pirate fish” caught outside authorised fishing zones comprise a good portion of the fish caught in the world.

Fishing ship treat staff ‘worse than the fish they catch’

An Environmental Justice Foundation and Greenpeace investigation off west Africa has found that pirate fishing ships that roam the oceans, never docking, are operating beyond the law. Other than stealing fish stocks, the ships are crewed by untrained, illiterate workers housed in dismally unsafe and unhygienic living conditions.

Video–about 5 minutes–here.