Seaspiracy On Netflix

VMP

Active Member
Another great commentary, from Hakai Magazine, about Seaspiracy's lack of nuance, missed opportunities, misleading claims and harm towards real progress in ocean conservation.

 
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CreekScrambler

Active Member
Another commentary by someone who actually knows what they are talking about.

I’d be willing to argue that the practice of maximum sustainable yield hasn’t exactly worked out well for the British Columbian author’s province. Otherwise, I very much agree that the solution lies in enforcement and expansion of best practices in fisheries management. I just saw the documentary and there were quite a few instances of obtuse argument.
 
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VMP

Active Member
I’d be willing to argue that the practice of maximum sustainable yield hasn’t exactly worked out well for the British Columbian author’s province. Otherwise, I very much agree that the solution lies in enforcement and expansion of best practices in fisheries management. I just saw the documentary and there were quite a few instances of obtuse argument.
Maximum sustainable yield (MSY) is not so much a practice, but a concept that is often used as a reference level for fisheries management (along with other MSY related quantities, such as the exploitation rate associated with MSY). The concept is that there are different levels of exploitation that a natural resource (such as a fish population or stock) can sustain indifinetly. If you harvest nothing, there is no yield, if you harvest them all, there is no yield, somewhere in between is the maximum that can be sustainably harvested, MSY. Problem is that from concept to implementation there are multiple complications, such as problems in how to reliably estimate MSY with insuficient data, overfocus on single species MSY, wrong and not usefull models, environmental/ecological/fishery changes, etc, that challenge implementation of MSY from theory to reality. Yes, in some cases managing to MSY has resulted in some catastrophic fishery collapses. Over time the interpretation and usage of MSY has evolved and it is still a useful concept.
Given this issues, there has been a shift from using MSY as "target" reference point (what you want to achive) to using MSY related quantities as "limits" (what you should avoid and should not be exceeded) for example in US fisheries legislation. Ultimately it depends on what are the management objectives: some international fisheries (and others) still use MSY as a target (some tropical tuna fisheries), other ones specifically try to stay away from MSY (for example North Pacific Albacore) and try to keep the stock at some historical level reference. The issue is not MSY, nor any other individual aspect of fisheries by itself or of exploitation of other natural resources needed to feed humanity ever growing numbers. These are complex problems, we should not expect nor clamor for simple solutions.

There is no silver bullet in fisheries management, neither enforcement alone, nor Marine Protected Areas alone, nor the best science alone can fix it all by itself. Each case is a story on itself and we need to understand the complexities and possibilities of each case, along with having the patience, commitment and integrity to find solutions, imperfect and incremental as they may be, and to do so cooperatively between all stakeholders. As with most things in life, oversimplification, sensasionalization and demonization (such as the ones portrayed in this film) only results in confussion, bias and ultimately lack of meaninful action to solve the real problems we face.
 
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CreekScrambler

Active Member
Maximum sustainable yield (MSY) is not so much a practice, but a concept that is often used as a reference point for fisheries management (along with other MSY related quantities, such as the exploitation rate associated with MSY). The concept is that there are different levels of exploitation that a natural resource (such as a fish population or stock) can sustain indifinetly, MSY is just the maximum that can be sustainably harvested. Problem is that from concept to implementation there are multiple complications, such as problems in how to reliably estimate MSY with insuficient data, overly focus on single species MSY, wrong and not usefull models, environmental/ecological/fishery changes, etc, that challenge implementation of MSY from theory to reality. Yes, in some cases managing to MSY has resulted in some catastrophic fishery collapses. Over time the interpretation and usage of MSY has evolved and it is still a useful concept.
Given this issues, there has been a shift from using MSY as "target" reference point (what you want to achive) to using MSY related quantities as "limits" (what you should avoid and should not be exceeded) for example in US fisheries legislation. Ultimately it depends on what are the management objectives: some international fisheries (and others) still use MSY as a target (some tropical tuna fisheries), other ones specifically try to stay away from MSY (for example North Pacific Albacore) and try to keep the stock at some historical level reference. The issue is not MSY, nor any other individual aspect of fisheries by itself or of exploitation of other natural resources needed to feed humanity ever growing numbers. These are complex problems, we should not expect nor clamor for simple solutions.

There is no silver bullet in fisheries management, neither enforcement alone, nor Marine Protected Areas alone, nor the best science alone can fix it all by itself. Each case is a story on itself and we need to understand the complexities and possibilities of each case, along with having the patience, commitment and integrity to find solutions, imperfect and incremental as they may be, and to do so cooperatively between all stakeholders. As with most things in life, oversimplification, sensasionalization and demonization (such as the ones portrayed in this film) only results in confussion, bias and ultimately lack of meaninful action to solve the real problems we face.
Bankers make it work just fine with money. It’s a lot harder with living systems.
 

adamcu280

Active Member
Maximum sustainable yield (MSY) is not so much a practice, but a concept that is often used as a reference level for fisheries management (along with other MSY related quantities, such as the exploitation rate associated with MSY). The concept is that there are different levels of exploitation that a natural resource (such as a fish population or stock) can sustain indifinetly. If you harvest nothing, there is no yield, if you harvest them all, there is no yield, somewhere in between is the maximum that can be sustainably harvested, MSY. Problem is that from concept to implementation there are multiple complications, such as problems in how to reliably estimate MSY with insuficient data, overfocus on single species MSY, wrong and not usefull models, environmental/ecological/fishery changes, etc, that challenge implementation of MSY from theory to reality. Yes, in some cases managing to MSY has resulted in some catastrophic fishery collapses. Over time the interpretation and usage of MSY has evolved and it is still a useful concept.
Given this issues, there has been a shift from using MSY as "target" reference point (what you want to achive) to using MSY related quantities as "limits" (what you should avoid and should not be exceeded) for example in US fisheries legislation. Ultimately it depends on what are the management objectives: some international fisheries (and others) still use MSY as a target (some tropical tuna fisheries), other ones specifically try to stay away from MSY (for example North Pacific Albacore) and try to keep the stock at some historical level reference. The issue is not MSY, nor any other individual aspect of fisheries by itself or of exploitation of other natural resources needed to feed humanity ever growing numbers. These are complex problems, we should not expect nor clamor for simple solutions.

There is no silver bullet in fisheries management, neither enforcement alone, nor Marine Protected Areas alone, nor the best science alone can fix it all by itself. Each case is a story on itself and we need to understand the complexities and possibilities of each case, along with having the patience, commitment and integrity to find solutions, imperfect and incremental as they may be, and to do so cooperatively between all stakeholders. As with most things in life, oversimplification, sensasionalization and demonization (such as the ones portrayed in this film) only results in confussion, bias and ultimately lack of meaninful action to solve the real problems we face.
Years ago, when I was doing one of the fisheries modules of my MRes in marine ecology at a famous Scottish university, I asked one of my professors - a bigshot in the Fisheries Scotland quota allotment team - why they used natural mortality of 0.2 in their MSY calculations when they knew it was probably closer to 0.5. "Doesn't calculating your MSY using a lower natural mortality number when you know it's higher mean you're constantly overfishing?" I got a blank stare as a response.

He didn't like the paper I wrote on the subject titled "Stock assessment and management of a hypothetical Gadoid population in the North Sea: Using arbitrary numbers to come up with management advice that will eventually be ignored"
 

VMP

Active Member
Years ago, when I was doing one of the fisheries modules of my MRes in marine ecology at a famous Scottish university, I asked one of my professors - a bigshot in the Fisheries Scotland quota allotment team - why they used natural mortality of 0.2 in their MSY calculations when they knew it was probably closer to 0.5. "Doesn't calculating your MSY using a lower natural mortality number when you know it's higher mean you're constantly overfishing?" I got a blank stare as a response.

Come on! Everybody knows that natural mortality is (not) 0.2! Unfortunately, natural mortality (typically denoted by M) is one of the most difficult to estimate and influential parameters in fisheries science. Famous fisheries scientist John Pope tells a great origin story (tongue in cheek) of using M: 0.2 as a starting point when no other information is available. Story recalled in an equally great paper by Mace and Sissenwine (2002) on "Coping with Uncertainty: Evolution of the Relationship between Science and Management", see picture and link to paper below.

Believe it or not, I had a similar story to yours during my first undergrad fisheries class overseas more than two decades ago! I failed my first homework when instead of using a single value for natural mortality, also for a Gadoid (a hake in my case), I dared to allow natural mortality to vary by age (assuming younger/smaller fish would have higher natural mortality). The professor's written response was: "why you had to complicate the problem, it was such a simple homework as explained in class". Oftentimes thinking outside the box will get you in trouble, I still do but so be it, the world's problems are too complex to be bound by what has been tried before only to conform to what is expected and may not be working. Fortunately, fisheries science is an actively evolving field, nowadays there are many different ways to deal with uncertainty not only on the science (in natural mortality, MSY and beyond), but also in their interplay with management and human dimensions.

1618854110237.png
https://www.researchgate.net/public...e_relationship_between_science_and_management
 
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adamcu280

Active Member
Come on! Everybody knows that natural mortality is (not) 0.2! Unfortunately, natural mortality (typically denoted by M) is one of the most difficult and influential parameters to estimate in fisheries science. Famous fisheries scientist John Pope tells a great origin story (tongue in cheek) of using M: 0.2 as a starting point when no other information is available. Story recalled in an equally great paper by Mace and Sissenwine (2002) on "Coping with Uncertainty: Evolution of the Relationship between Science and Management", see picture and link to paper below.

Believe it or not, I had a similar story to yours during my first undergrad fisheries class overseas more than two decades ago! I failed my first homework when instead of using a single value for natural mortality, also for a Gadoid (a hake in my case), I dared to allow natural mortality to vary by age (assuming younger/smaller fish would have higher natural mortality). The professor's written response was: "why you had to complicate the problem, it was such a simple homework as explained in class". Oftentimes thinking outside the box will get you in trouble, I still do but so be it, the world's problems are too complex to be bound by what has been tried before only to conform to what is expected and may not be working. Fortunately, fisheries science is an actively evolving field, nowadays there are many different ways to deal with uncertainty (in natural mortality, MSY and beyond), both on the science, management and human dimensions.

View attachment 278869
https://www.researchgate.net/public...e_relationship_between_science_and_management
I will say that my "progressive west coast" mentality did not jive with the famous Scottish university and their bigtime professors. They'd been doing things their way since before the wheel and they were not happy when some young asshole American started asking questions and thinking outside the box.
 

nwbobber

Active Member
I watched this a week ago, and I have to say that while I am concerned about many of the harvest practices in the commercial fishing and whaling industries, my BS meter was pegged several times watching the film. I know for a fact that the dolphins killed in the cove in Japan are indeed sold for food in Japan, BS meter pegged on that one. Then the dishonest way they got access to facilities for filming and interviews is something that makes it difficult for me to believe in their honesty broadly.
I did not know these were the same people responsible for "cowspiracy", but that also was full of false claims and inferior science.
It's too bad they didn't stick to the truth, there are plenty of issues in this industry that need to be changed, and that don't need to be exaggerated or misrepresented to illustrate it. I believe this film will do damage to the credibility of everyone who would like to encourage that change.
 

S.O.S.Canada

Active Member
Another great commentary, from Hakai Magazine, about Seaspiracy's lack of nuance, missed opportunities, misleading claims and harm towards real progress in ocean conservation.

Thanks for the link. I was not aware of that publication but have read a fair bit since checking it out.
The Codfather article seems an accurate indicator of just how easy and common it is to manipulate numbers and thwart enforcement in the industry.
Just picturing all the Codfathers worldwide operating with total impunity out of places with no rules or oversight at all... probably way more effectively for way longer too...
 
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CreekScrambler

Active Member
I watched this a week ago, and I have to say that while I am concerned about many of the harvest practices in the commercial fishing and whaling industries, my BS meter was pegged several times watching the film. I know for a fact that the dolphins killed in the cove in Japan are indeed sold for food in Japan, BS meter pegged on that one. Then the dishonest way they got access to facilities for filming and interviews is something that makes it difficult for me to believe in their honesty broadly.
I did not know these were the same people responsible for "cowspiracy", but that also was full of false claims and inferior science.
It's too bad they didn't stick to the truth, there are plenty of issues in this industry that need to be changed, and that don't need to be exaggerated or misrepresented to illustrate it. I believe this film will do damage to the credibility of everyone who would like to encourage that change.
It’s no great mystery why that cove in Japan is uptight about filmmaking in the area....there was already a damaging documentary some years ago that this bunch failed to acknowledge.
 

Chris Bellows

Your Preferred WFF Poster
Hard to believe sport fishermen sticking up for commercial fishing (enemy of my enemy I guess). I remember the days of Canadian halibut fishing out of Neah Bay for the charters where for decades a sport fishing fleet went out to the Long Hole and caught easy limits of chicken halibut and large lingcod. Vaporized in an instant when Canadian draggers fished the area. A truly sustainable fishery destroyed.

Sport fishing is sustainable, there's only a handful of commercial fisheries that can be described the same way. Honestly, those few examples don't matter because of the massive mislabeling and fraud found in seafood markets in the USA.

I'm just glad that someone is attacking the greenwashing that is "sustainable" seafood. I haven't eaten fish I haven't caught myself since the early 1990's, when I didn't know any better (that might be a bit of a fib since I might have had a couple fish filets in my junk food years :) )
 

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