Shark Bait Blog

Environment.. and Scuba Diving.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sustainable Development?.........I don't think so.

(photo - courtesy of California Department of Fish and Game)

The fall-out from the recent revelation that the Japanese Fishing Ministry has been brazenly ignoring quotas set by the CCSBT to preserve sustainable Southern Bluefin Tuna stocks, while the Japanese fishing industry has additionally been fiddling the books for 20 years continues.

The Japanese Fisheries Ministry says that from next year it will be introducing a tagging scheme. However since the issue is accepting quotas and preventing the falsification of documentation exactly how this is anything more than political window dressing is currently unclear.

'Japanese boats exceeded their quota of 6,065 tons by AT LEAST (my capitals) 1,500 tons' -

$22 per kilo*
1000 kilos to the metric ton(tonne)= $22,000
'at least' 1,500 metric tons = $33,000,000
20 years @ $33,000,000 per year= $660,000,000

Those are conservative ballpark figures from details on the web and do not currently take into account that the scale of overfishing may greatly exceed 1,500 metric tons per year.

Tsukiji’s Tuna Auction keeps accurate records of prices and the Japanese Fisheries Ministry keeps less accurate records of quotas and how much they have been exceeded why the delay in releasing those figures?

The Japanese Fisheries Ministry need to spin the story through the 'sustainable development', 'picking on Japan', 'there are worse culprits than us' and 'we have learnt from past mistakes and are now taking steps to rectify the situation' filters and all that stuff takes a while to research. The blame game should go to extra time.

'Since 1997, the CCSBT has failed to reach agreement on the global TAC for its members...............Japan, the final destination for 99% of SBT, has not previously agreed to be limited to its national allocation of 6065 tonnes..............Member governments of the SBT commission agreed in October 2003 that the way to bring major players to the table was to INCREASE (my capitals) the TAC to 14,030 tonnes/year.
Fishing Technology Digest for Asia-Pacific
Issue No. 48 • Kuala Lumpur • Oct - Dec 2004

* - In actuality the tuna price per kilo, depending on the quality can be substantially more. The record for a single tuna is 100,000 yen per kilogram, approx.$840 per kg.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Data File 4 - Unsustainable Commercial Fisheries in International Waters.

(illustration courtesy of Liftarn)

The 'tragedy of the commons' is a metaphor describing the destruction of public resources (the commons) by private interests when the best strategy for those interests conflicts with the common good.
The idea first came to prominence in a book on population by William Forster Lloyd, published in 1833. Garrett Hardin then developed the concept in his 1968 essay "the Tragedy of the Commons" published in Science.

Each individual interest seeks to maximise the benefit to itself because it does not bear the entire cost of those actions and so ignores the costs borne by others which are classed as 'externalities'.

The most successful commercial strategy for an individual private interest is to exploit more than its share of public resources for as long as the benefits exceed the penalties.
Since every rational private interest will follow this strategy, to avoid being disadvantaged by the other private interests, the public resource always gets overexploited.

Nowhere is this better exemplified than the free for all that is currently going on in international waters for global fish stocks; although the actions of globalised corporations (corporations have a legal requirement to put maximising profits for share-holders above all other considerations) provide another excellent example.

There are a two solutions which can prevent this 'tragedy', if efficiently enforced.

1. The creation and enforcement of conservation measures by an authority, which may be an outside agency or created by the private interests themselves, with agreement to cooperate to conserve the resource.
This is the political solution and as a result is often not as effective as it should be or worse, a self interest talking shop disguising the continued unsustainable exploitation of the commons with weasel words and toothless agreements.

2. To convert each 'common' or part thereof, into private property which can be traded nationally / internationally, giving the owner of each an incentive to enforce its sustainability. Failue to do so has a direct and unambiguous financial penalty .
The risk here is of an inequitable hidden transfer of wealth; if compensation for this privatisation is inadequate or non-existant.
This is the commercial solution, which although by no means perfect does have some record of success.

Internationally tradable quotas (ITQs) backed by international enforcement, where any ship caught fishing illegally would have its owning company issued with a crippling fine (which should counter the cynical 'flag of convenience' practise), its captain imprisoned and the ship scrapped, would go a long way to dealing with the current unsustainable exploitation of fish stocks in international waters.
Iceland already operate a system very similar to this, combined with an annual scientific survey of all commercial fish stocks within the Icelandic EEZ.

It is also important to realise that ruinous over-exploitation of one 'commons' can have a drastic 'domino' effect on other 'commons'

Over fishing of coastal Africa is now having an effect on land -

'By comparing fish harvesting data to changes in the estimated biomass (weight of living creatures) of large mammals in Ghana, researchers were able to track the relationship between the two resources over a 30-year period. They found that years with poor fish harvests for locals coincided with large drops in mammal biomass and vice versa. This correlation was further substantiated by annual counts of hunters found in nature reserves.'

Monday, August 14, 2006

Freedom of Speech re-instated?..........No. :o)

In an interesting development, the last two comments of mine that were censored by David@Tokyo, have now mysteriously re-appeared.
David has suggested in the past that I didn't know what a 'reload'/'refresh' button was. However since I do and last time this happened the censored comment was there after using the 'reload', then disappeared the next day, before re-appearing after David was upbraided for censorship.......
Perhaps this time Blogger have experienced a technical glitch? :o)

I think we are getting a little closer to the truth now, the comments have just been re-censored, but this time I caught my IWMC comment with only half of the comment displayed and then none of it displayed; so readers are safe to conclude that David is playing games, in the hope of obtaining a debating advantage.
Nice try David but no cigar. :o)

The blue ribbon is a symbol for freedom of speech on the net.

Censorship IV - Update to David@Tokyo's campaign to keep the world safe from 'unwelcome' debate. :o)

(photo courtesy of Geek Philosopher)

David has censored another comment that doesnt fit his anti environmentalist propaganda; he has also moved the blog entry it was posted on from his current list to his archive list....coincidence? :o)


IWC 2006: More on NZ's unsustainable ecotourism

Dolphins could face extinction says expert

One of the most pathetic things I saw when watching the IWC 58 meeting in St Kitts back in June was a New Zealand representative (not sure, but I think it was Mike Donohue from the DoC) taking issue with a report from the scientist mentioned in the article linked above about whether the Doubtful Sound tourism ventures were dolphin watching cruises or Fjord viewing cruises.

Honestly. It doesn't matter what the cruises are for.

What's important is sustainability. Vehicle traffic, regardless of it's intent, appears to be putting the sustainability of this unique dolphin population at great risk.

Eco-tourism advocates should not live in a dream world and think that whale-watching or other activities are environmentally benign.

Conservation should not be confused with doing the Disney thing and "saving" animals from natural phenomenons like predation.

The world is not a zoo. We have to look after it properly.

- David@Tokyo, 15th July 2006


Censored Comment -

David claims that the Japanese whaling fleet should be allowed to kill Minke whales 'sustainably' because they are not an endangered species and the ICR ships are operating within the legal framework drawn up by the IWC.

David also claims that Bottlenose Dolphins should be protected from non lethal ecotourism because allegedly he believes it is not 'environmentally benign'; but Bottlenosed dolphins are not an endangered species either, the ecotours are operating within a legal framework drawn up by the New Zealand Department of Conservation and the Doubtful Sound dolphins can and will move, if they dislike the attention. Harpooned Minke whales on the other hand.............

How can David hold two conflicting viewpoints at the same time?
David is a supporter of the New Zealand political party ACT and here is what Wikipedia has to say about ACT -

'Critics of the party point out that ACT is more interested in scoring political points and gaining media exposure than in participating in constructive dialogue...Many of its rank-and-file members are also perceived to have more in common with neo-conservatism than classical liberalism'

David has on several occasions in the past mentioned the Japanese Fisheries Ministry's support for a lowering of its Tuna quotas as a demonstration of its good faith over 'sustainable' exploitation. Indeed David repeatedly claims that 'sustainability' is his only concern.
Turns out that environmental NGOs concerns are correct.

It appears that quotas mean absolutely nothing to the Japanese Fisheries Ministry apart from convenient propaganda tools; whether they ask for them to be lowered, raised or stay the same, business will continue as usual regardless...unsustainably!

Good reason for the IWC to treat the Japanese Fisheries Ministry delegation's disingenuous 'sustainable' pro whaling propaganda with justified skepticism.

- Lamna nasus

Censorship III -

David@Tokyo, who recently tried to portray himself as a champion of democracy on Wavemakers Blog is still unable to meet democratic standards on his own blog. :o)

(image courtesy of Wikipedia)

'Instead of making up excuses for things to try to twist the world in your favour, first decide on your principles.
Do you really believe in democracy, or don't you?'
- David@Tokyo, 14th July 2006

David's comment reminded me that I had been most remiss and had not actually posted the justification for my criticisms of the IWMC (David's favourite 'greenwashing' NGO) in response to David's challenge on his blog.
I had posted it on my own, with a link since I was sure that David would immediately censor the comment if it was posted on his blog. After his comments on Wavemaker's blog however, I thought I would give him the benefit of the doubt.
Needless to say it has been censored and there is no record of it or the fact it has been censored on David's blog.
Go David! Champion of freedom and democracy! :o)

So here is David's challenge and my censored response for anyone who hasn't read / doesn't have time to read the full unexpurgated debate -

Deleted again.

> Which fact about the IWMC did you believe inaccurate and why? -

Read what you wrote again (it's at your blog). Then justify every single one of those "facts" you stated about the IWMC with evidence.

You will not be able to do so, because your post included verifiably false information. Ann and I discussed the lies for which your post was deleted. When I showed counter-evidence to Ann previously, she agreed that her attribution of the position in question was not correct. You have either failed to see this exchange, or you ignored it.

You are welcome to search the comments on my blog (on your own time) to find it.

I simply refuse to deal with such nonsense more than once. If you would grow up and actually not post verifiable lies, you'll not find your posts getting deleted. Behave like an adult - simple as that. I'm looking for discussion here, not endless tirades of nonsensical abuse.

In the meantime, until you show that you have some integrity by acknowledging the verifiable lies that you have posted with regards to IWMC, you are banned indefinitely, and you are also banned without further response. I simply don't have time to waste on you, if this is the way you intend to behave. My time is better spent on people with integrity. It is not my goal to communicate with those people who demonstrate that they have no integrity.



Censored Post

Why is David so upset about my comments about IWMC? Well it appears that Eugene Lapointe and his organisation are something of a touchstone for David and indeed many adherents of the discredited 'sustainable development' theory.

The IWMC is a greenwashing lobby organisation which has recently decided to broaden its scope by appealing to the gun lobby in the USA, a very valuable source of revenue, just ask the NRA.

On the IWMC website there is an 'IWMC Forum' –

This forum claims - ’The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and participants in the IWMC Internet Forum do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of or official policies of IWMC World Conservation Trust.’

However since the only way to be published on the forum is via IWMC and since the forum specifically states it is only for ‘friends and supporters’ clearly anything published has the approval of the IWMC –

So when in June 2006 the article mentioned below was given headline billing on IWMC’s homepage, any suggestion that it is not IWMCs express intention to raise its profile with the pro-gun lobby is laughable.

'Why gun bans don’t work…and what to do. However well-intentioned, gun bans are likely to get the opposite results of what they are intended to achieve. To stop them, the shooting/hunting community needs to get pro-active.'
By James A. Swan, Ph.D.
Author of "In Defense of Hunting"

It is worth noting that using its usual political spin, the IWMC is making a link to 'hunting' to justify this new angle. However since the majority of the article concerns itself with hand guns in San Francisco........

I had a particularly good laugh at this piece of historical revisionism -

'The well-armed Swiss militia dissuaded the Nazis from invading in World War II'

The combined might of the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe was deterred by some well armed Swiss policemen?! RAOTFLMAO.

So thats the gun part of my comments about the IWMC covered, now for the rest.

The IWMC's president Eugene Lapointe is a former CITES dismissed Secretary General.
Lapointe (a French Canadian lawyer) was fired from CITES in 1990 after being found campaigning against a ban on the ivory trade.
In a very strange postscript to this sacking, a tribunal of three people awarded financial compensation to Lapointe for a 'capricious and abitrary' dismissal; yet Lapointe was not re-instated.
It would be extremely interesting to locate more information on this tribunal but Lapointe appears to be the only person on record regarding its findings.
In his book, "Embracing the Earth's Wild Resources" Lapointe notes that an official at the US State Department when asked about the campaign to remove Lapointe from office commented "Our actions were motivated by the necessity of protecting valuable species such as elephants, whales..."
Well DAH! Lapointe was abusing his position as Secretary General of CITES, an organisation designed to protect endangered species in order to exploit them!

Lapointe now advises Japan, Norway, China, Canada and many industries on how to legally avoid animal trade legislation.

His organisation actively supports Whaling, Sealing, the Ivory trade and Shark finning; as listed on the IWMC website

Lapointe admits that he has been at the forefront of resistance to eliminate the secret ballot in CITES. Despite the fact that a secret ballot is beneficial in protecting the man on the street during elections; it is open to huge abuse in international political organisations where transparency becomes a much more important issue. After all if the scientific argument for 'sustainable development' is so incontravertable there is no reason for any nation to vote for it in secret.

Since Lapointe is an Ex Secretary General of CITES, you would expect his organisation to demonstrate a mature and statesmanlike approach to politics?
In which case you would expect wrong! :o)

MOST TIRESOME SPEAKER New Zealand's didactic Commissioner Sir Geoffrey Palmer. Blah blah blah.
-IWMC, 2004

IWMC intends to do its part to see that the obstructionist tactics of do-nothing delegations and their NGO colleagues do not carry this or any other day.
- IWMC, 2003

You might also expect the IWMC to be in favour of scientific research to back 'sustainable development'?
Wrong again I'm afraid! -

The United States plan to research its bowhead stock structure, thereby delaying any tough decisions on its quota for years.
- IWMC, 2004

Although funding details for the IWMC are far from easy to come by, IWMC receives some funding from the World Conservation Trust Foundation.
WCTF is a corporation registered in Canada
WCTF's President is...Eugene Lapointe.

Lapointe is on record as saying IWMC funding comes from Japan, Norway, China, Canada, and "two small European countries."

Oslo Dagbladet reported on 24 May 2000: "Before the CITES meeting in Nairobi on the trade in endangered species in April, the Ministry of Fisheries and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave large sums of money to Norwegian and foreign lobby organizations in order to ensure a majority for commercial whaling. Some of the lobbyists have very dubious reputations."

"IWMC, an American organization with a questionable reputation and strong economic interests, received 50,000 Norwegian kroner ($6,250) from the Ministry of Fisheries," the newspaper stated. A March 2000 letter from the ministry to IWMC head Eugene Lapointe stated that the government funds were "to carry out activities related to CITES COP 11 and IWC 52 as described in your application to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Support from other Norwegian sources will be allocated separately."

Eugene Lapointe is also on the National Advisory Board of the National Wilderness Institute, some of the funding sources for this organisation will give readers an idea of the corporate sources likely to be contributing funds to the WCTF and the IWMC.

National Wilderness Institute Foundation Grants -

Mobile Foundation - $5000 - 1996

Monsanto Fund - $1000 - 1996

Mobile Foundation - $5000 - 1995

Monsanto Fund - $1000 - 1995

Mobile Foundation - $10,000 - 1995

National Wilderness Institute Corporate Grants -

Chevron - $5000 - 1996

ExxonMobil - $15000 - 1995

Chevron - $5000 - 1995

Chevron - $5000 – 1994

The real reason David does not offer a link to his insubstantial defence of IWMC with Ann is because he couldn't find it on his own blog since it was never there. David has forgotten that he actually had that discussion with Ann on someone else's blog and she was not in total agreement with him.

- Lamna nasus





Sunday, August 13, 2006

Data File 3 - The Canadian Seal Hunt.

(photo courtesy of AP Photo/IFAW, Stewart Cook, HO)

A 'raggedy-jacket' harp seal pup shot by a seal hunter.
Harp seal pups start with white fur and molt over a period of a few weeks. This pup is so young, it is only just beginning to molt. It is illegal to hunt 'whitecoat' pups but the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans allows pups just starting to molt to be killed (12 to 14 days after they are born).

The Canadian Seal Hunt is a thinly disguised effort by the Canadian government to excuse subsidising the politically powerful Canadian fishing community. It also negatively impacts on the economic benefits which should be available to sustainable First Nation hunting.

The pro Seal Hunt lobby have picked up on the new trend by commercial operations and their supporters of attempting to 'greenwash' unsustainable harvesting of natural resources. This is achieved in part by using the disingenuous propaganda that the commercial industry are performing a vital 'environmental' service to protect one or more 'really' endangered species, supposedly 'threatened' by the species they are exploiting.

Needless to say this kind of propaganda is a complete fabrication and has no scientific basis. It also usually disguises the fact that the commercial industry in question is the real culprit for the 'really' endangered status (by unsustainable over harvesting) of the species they now claim to be trying to 'protect'.

This 'greenwashing' theme will recur in other Data Files, notably my Whaling Data File (when I have completed it).

The Seal Hunt lobby have disingenuously tried to 'greenwash' their operation twice over.

First, by blaming harp seals for the lack of cod in Canadian waters; however it was the Canadian commercial cod fishery not seals that caused the decimation of cod populations in Canadian waters. Even the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans has officially stated that the Seal Hunt is not a cull to protect cod stocks.

What do harp seals eat?
In the St. Lawrence River they eat capelin from December to February, prior to the pupping season. Lactating females and moulting harp seals feed infrequently, although mothers forage intensively on capelin in the St. Lawrence River after weaning their pups.
Atlantic cod, including the northern cod stock, is a minor component of the annual harp seal diet.
- Wallace, S.D and J.W. Lawson. 1997. A review of stomach contents of harp seals (Phoca groenlandica) from the Northwest Atlantic: an update. IMMA Technincal Report 97-01. 99pp.

The pro Seal Hunt lobby's second 'greenwashing' allegation is that harp seals are outcompeting walruses for food. This propaganda is as false as the claim about cod.

(photo courtesy of Geek Philosopher)

What do walruses eat?
Walruses prefer molluscs, mainly bivalves such as clams. They suck bivalve animals from the shells. Walruses also eat many other kinds of benthic invertebrates including worms, gastropods, cephalopods, crustaceans, sea cucumbers, and other soft-bodied animals. Walruses may occasionally prey on fishes such as polar cod.

Walruses may eat the remains of young seals when food is scarce.

There are some rare but habitual seal-eating walruses. Their diet consists mainly of ringed and bearded seals. These are usually male walruses, recognizable because they are usually larger than other males with powerful shoulder and chest muscles. Their skin may become grease-stained from the blubber of the seals.

So the allegation that harp seals compete with walruses is clearly untrue.

To return to the cod allegation, here are the comments of Doug Sweetland a Canadian Inshore cod fisherman, who is still a politically active lobbyist for the Canadian Inshore cod fishing industry.

'Doug Sweetland is even-handed in dishing out blame. "Everyone contributed to the decline of the cod. The main culprits were the draggers because of high grading".
High Grading is where fishermen keep catching fish and throwing away the ones they don't want until they have achieved a hold of premium-size fish.
"The plant in Catalina employed 1,500 people. They were getting so much fish in the mid-1980s that they said 26 inches (65cms) is the smallest fish we want. You know where the rest was going - over the side dead. That destroyed a million pounds of fish to get 400,000lb (180.000kg)."
Doug remembers how quickly the end came.
"In the winter of '92 there was good cod. Within three months there was nothing. The offshore fishery had shot itself down."
- Doug Sweetland, Newfoundland cod fisherman refering to the Canadian Cod Fishery between the mid 1980s and 1992, from The End of the Line by Charles Clover.

Readers will notice that Doug Sweetland doesn't mention harp seals at all.

The false allegation that seals are a threat to fishermen continues to hound them, even when the seal species in question is a seriously endangered one.

‘Furthermore, I am reminded from my work on endangered Mediterranean monk seals that as long as seals and fisheries overlap, someone will want to remove seals from the system. Today, only some 500 Mediterranean monk seals exist in the Mediterranean and in the Northeast Atlantic off the coast of Northwest Africa. They are one of the most endangered of all seal species. Yet fishers in the Mediterranean still kill them because they perceive them to be competing with them for their livelihood.’
- David Lavigne, PhD

Common sense points out that for thousands of years before industrialised commercial fishing methods were introduced (in the 1950s) there was clearly no threat to what where vast cod stocks from their natural predators; who actually demonstrate what genuine ‘sustainable harvesting’ means.

(illustration courtesy of NOAA)

Why is the Canadian Seal Hunt so important to the Canadian fishing industry?
Very simple, for political reasons the Canadian government only requires people in the fishing industry (which includes Seal hunters) to work for 14 weeks of the year to qualify for employment insurance benefits, other Canadians have to subsidise them for the rest of the year. Individual seal hunters only earn approximately $1000 from the Seal Hunt itself.

Larry Tremblett - Ex Inshore cod fisherman,
'He makes enough in the 14 week spring season for crab to qualify for employment insurance...which the government pays for the rest of the year.'

Doug Sweetland - Ex Inshore cod fisherman,
'catches crab. lobster, and lumpfish to qualify for his EI.'

Ransom Myers - Ex Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans,
'With employment insurance it is not inconceivable that a couple can make C$60,000 (£25,000) a year, spending 14 weeks catching or processing crab or other fish.....for fishermen all business expenditure is allowable against tax........' Myers says you won't hear a peep of criticism of this state benefit system coming from the DFO's big, modern building in St. John's. 'For an academic in Newfoundland to say anything against employment insurance is totally unthinkable. It's not even discussed'.
- first person interviews from The End of the Line by Charles Clover.

St. John's, Newfoundland - 'Former employees in Harbor Breton haven't worked for more than two years, except for projects to extend their employment insurance claims.'
- Tara Brautigam, The ChronicleHerald, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 22nd May 2006

"It's sad to say when you [have] to talk about EI with a million-dollar boat, but you know, that's what's in the fleet, people with million-dollar enterprises just looking to break even,"
- Dwight Spence, fishes from Port au Choix for shrimp and snow crab
CBC News. 24th April 2006

Canadian Employment Insurance (EI) Fishing Benefits -

'EI is especially important in the Atlantic provinces, which have higher rates of unemployment. Many Atlantic workers are also employed in seasonal work such as fishing and go on EI over the winter when there is no work. There are special rules for fishers making it easier for them to collect EI.'
- Wikipedia

'The purpose of the proposed regulation amendment is to put in place a pilot project designed to test the labour market impacts of DECREASING (my capitals), for new entrants and re-entrants to the labour force who have access to employment programs established under Part II of the Act, the number of hours of insurable employment required in order for them to qualify for benefits.'

'The Government of Canada will increase the duration of parental benefits'

(hooded seal illustration courtesy of NOAA)

To give readers an idea of the large number of voters in receipt of these benefits and therefore the massive sums involved -

'fishing benefits paid $217.0 million' - 2000

'fishing benefits increased 8.6% to $235.6 million' - 2001

'fishing benefits increased by 4.8% to $246.9 million' - 2002

Interestingly in 2003, 2004, 2005, someone in the Canadian government appears to have decided that providing the fishing benefits figures so straightforwardly in the Executive Summary was politically imprudent and so it stopped doing so; however the figures are still there, just better hidden.

Fishing benefits paid $274.3 million - 2002 to 2003

Fishing benefits paid $298.1 million - 2003 to 2004

Fishing benefits paid $293.2 million - 2004 to 2005

- Canadian Department of Human Resources and Social Development,
2005 Monitoring and Assessment Report, Annex 2

The Pro Seal Hunt propaganda suggests that the hunt is only designed to keep Harp Seal numbers at their existing levels, this is also untrue.

"When such hunting pressure last occurred, the harp seal population declined rapidly by over 50 percent," said Harris. "Given seals only reach breeding age at about five to six years old, it could be too late to intervene by the time the impacts of current hunting levels are understood."
- Professor Stephen Harris of Bristol University
'Harp seal populations in the northwestern Atlantic: modelling populations with uncertainty'

'Harris notes that the current DFO population estimate for harp seals relied on a very small sample size. Less than two percent of the breeding site was evaluated to extrapolate the population.
Harris points out that several other Canadian fisheries, such as the cod fishery, have collapsed over the years as a consequence of many variables, including environmental change and mismanagement. The harp seal management plan does not apply a precautionary principle, Harris says, and so threatens the survival of seal populations.

The 2006 hunt quota of 325,000 harp seals, as well as 10,000 hooded seals and 10,400 grey seals (the TAC over the last 4 years are the highest kill levels since the 1950s) depresses the value of the additional 10,000 allocation to aboriginal hunters but that does not appear to be a genuine concern for anyone benefiting from the welfare subsidies available through taking part in the larger hunt.

While Greenland has a seal hunt, the Greenland government ordered its publicly owned tannery, Great Greenland, to stop buying Canadian seal pelts as of January 1, 2006 because of its opposition to the Newfoundland seal hunt.
- Environmental News Service 28 May 2006.

(Grey seal photo courtesy of Erik Christensen)

The Pro-Seal Hunt propaganda likes to points out that these seals are not 'endangered'.
Sustainability is about making sure that animals do not become endangered, not waiting until they are!

The Canadian fishing industry (like many other nations' fishing industries) has had ample opportunity to join forces with environmental NGOs to highlight the unsustainable nature of modern industrialised fishing practies and to lobby for improved fishing practises and draconian legislation efficiently enforced, to protect their fish stocks.
That the Canadian fishing industry prefers to create another unsustainable industry to assist them in qualifying for welfare benefits, informs readers exactly how little some of these communities value their traditions and culture.

Data File 2 - Intensive Agriculture and its effects on 'Wild' and Agricultural BioDiversity

(photo courtesy of 'Tarquin')

Intensive agriculture reduces biodiversity –

'It is now widely accepted that changes in farming practices are the root cause of the large declines that have occurred in populations of most specialist farmland birds'

'Above ground, natural enemies and pollinators are essential for profitable and sustainable agriculture. Many modern agricultural practices (eg, monocultures, poor crop rotation, pesticides and heavy machinery) reduce biodiversity to low levels and trigger even greater adverse responses (eg, pesticide treadmills).'

'The industrial agriculture system consumes fossil fuel, water, and topsoil at unsustainable rates. It contributes to numerous forms of environmental degradation, including air and water pollution, soil depletion, diminishing biodiversity, and fish die-offs.'
- Abstract from 'How Sustainable Agriculture Can Address the Environmental and Human Health Harms of Industrial Agriculture.'
Authors - Leo Horrigan, Robert S. Lawrence, and Polly Walker
Published in - Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 110, Number 5, May 2002

'Among the key findings emerging from all countries involved in this project is that intensive agriculture can significantly reduce soil life forms and therefore its fertility and productivity,” said Mr Huising.

'Yet, the loss of biodiversity is alarmingly high worldwide. Up to 60,000 plant species could be lost by 2025 if the present rate of extinction is maintained. The FAO has estimated that, since 1900, about three-quarters of the genetic diversity of domestic agricultural crops has already been lost.'

'These locally diverse food production systems are under threat and, with them, the accompanying local knowledge, culture and skills of the food producers. With this decline, agricultural biodiversity is disappearing and the scale of loss is extensive and with the disappearance of harvested species, varieties and breeds goes a wide range of unharvested species.

* More than 90 per cent of crop varieties have disappeared from farmers' fields;

* Half of the breeds of many domestic animals have been lost.

* In fisheries, all the world's 17 main fishing grounds are now being fished at or above their sustainable limits, with many fish populations effectively becoming extinct.

The genetic erosion of agricultural biodiversity is also exacerbated by the loss of forest cover, coastal wetlands and other 'wild' uncultivated areas, and the destruction of the aquatic environment. This leads to losses of 'wild' relatives, important for the development of biodiversity, and losses of 'wild' foods essential for food provision, particularly in times of crisis.'

'Modern intensive agricultural grasslands are very different from the grasslands of even 50 years ago. At this time, many other plants, including different grass species, grew in the fields. Not only were these grasses of low yield but they were also of less nutritional value to livestock. Because the modern grassland contains few plant species, its biodiversity is much reduced.'