Fishing and whaling

The BBC has the story about the worldwide decline of fish stock. The story doesn’t say so, but the problem is mainly one of open access and lack of well-defined property rights.

One encouraging trend is the revival of aquaculture. In Europe it was common to breed fish in ponds from the Middle Ages till the 19th century. Faster and cheaper transport made sea fish available even far inland, and this lead to a decline of aquaculture. There is now a rapid growth in fish farming, especially in China. Fortunately, the species mostly farmed by the Chinese are herbivores such as carp. Unlike trout and salmon they don’t need a diet of fishmeal.

Aquaculture is not without problems. But if more fish are available at prices more people can afford, that is good.

Also on BBC,

The UK’s marine affairs minister, Ben Bradshaw, summons Iceland’s ambassador to London, and the US ambassador to Reykjavik protests against Iceland’s resumption of whaling.

“This united action shows the depth of feeling and concern not only in Britain but all over the world about this cruel and abhorrent activity,” said Mr Bradshaw.

“Today’s protest leaves Iceland in no doubt about the strength of feeling against its decision to side-step an international agreement to stop the killing of whales.

“It has done great damage to its reputation and image.”

This protest comes from a minister who has presided over the destruction of UK fish stocks and the UK fishing industry. In contrast to UK, Iceland has some of the best managed marine resources in the world.

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