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bloombergopinion137 karma

That will differ from region to region but for Alaska, I would say the biggest thing is reorienting fisheries management away from overemphasizing production toward what I would call an ecosystem approach.

In other words, success isn't defined just by catches but by population stability and the health of related systems - including, in this case, the people who depend on subsistence fishing. Setting and maintaining hard caps on bycatch, including species that aren't currently covered like chum salmon is necessary.

Also, our understanding of climate change's impact on Alaska's fisheries remains at an early stage; suggesting we err on the side of conserving fish populations until we have a better understanding. That's the sentiment expressed in the piece by David Bayes, the sport-charter captain: When the road fills with potholes, you can't just keep speeding along at 75MPH. -- LD

bloombergopinion43 karma

Snap! I worked as a fishmonger when I was a teenager and, like you, I prefer wild fish where available. This trip has accentuated that. -- LD

bloombergopinion29 karma

We've been consuming seafood since time immemorial (Alaska Native people have for at least 10,000 years) so there is a responsible way to consume seafood and has been for a long time. Our present difficulty is that, as we've seen with other natural ecosystems that have been abused (eg, the atmosphere) our economic interest skews toward harvesting/consumption, rather than sustainability/conservation. Fish is also a healthy protein to eat (and less resource consumptive than, say, beef) so we shouldn't just abandon it. -- LD

bloombergopinion22 karma

Alaska has actually been, in some ways, a good example of well-managed fisheries relative to the rest of the world. For example, Alaska's relative lack of industrialization has helped preserve salmon runs there that have been lost or damaged in, say, New England or California (eg, lack of dams on rivers).

The problem now is that it must reconfigure its approach as the environment changes there, and that includes rethinking regulation of its biggest earning sector, the pollock trawl fishery. We have seen wild fisheries collapse in many instances over the past couple of centuries, always because we have either changed the habitat, usually via industrialization, or overfished, particularly as boats became bigger and more powerful after the 1950s.

The broad lesson is that wild fisheries, like any resource that is 'mined', have natural limits and those limits are shifting as climate change alters the environment. -- LD

bloombergopinion19 karma

Purely a matter of taste and minimizing the risks associated with aquaculture, including potential use of antibiotics to counter disease; though I recognize not all fish farms use the same methods. -- LD