In the New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert writes about the crisis of overfishing.
If the Atlantic bluefin tuna were the first species to be fished into oblivion, its destruction would be shameful. But, of course, its story has become routine. Cod, once so plentiful off the coast of Newfoundland that they could be scooped up in baskets, are now scarce. The same goes for halibut, haddock, swordfish, marlin, and skate; it’s been calculated that stocks of large predatory fish have declined by ninety per cent in the past half century.
Meanwhile, the Boston Herald reports (poorly) on the “Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament” in Martha’s Vineyard.
James, who’s headed the Monster Shark Tournament since 1998, said the tournament has gained worldwide recognition.
“It’s a diverse mix - from neurosurgeons to pipe fitters, people with modest incomes to big players on Wall Street. What they all have in common, though, is the love for fishing, love of the ocean, and they love boating,” he said.
I would suggest that they have some other things in common: the enjoyment of a perverse thrill from killing another animal, a selfish determination to pursue their bloody pleasures at the expense of future generations, and an inexcusable, probably deliberate ignorance about the environmental impact of their actions.
The operators of this event, the Boston Big Game Fishing Club, talk a lot about how participants in this event love the ocean and how fishermen are such great environmentalists. In some contexts this argument is true; there are hunters, for example, who are serious conservationists.
Yet I’ve never seen a whit of evidence that shark fishermen do anything to actually protect and preserve the species they enjoy killing, and until they actually do something, you have to consider their alleged good intentions with profound skepticism.
Truth is, these people get off on killing a big animal. They call it “sport,” because that makes it sound better. But really, it’s just slaughter for fun.