III. World Fisheries in Decline
Until rather recently the oceans were commonly thought of as possessing vast potential for further exploitation. In reality all of the significant productivity of the sea is restricted to the upper 100 meters or about 0.025% of the average depth. The average density of life in the deep sea is low and it is slow growing and slow to replenish. The major fisheries are all exploited at or beyond their maximum sustainable yield and large unexploited ones do not exist. Catches are generally declining. Seafood is more and more becoming high priced gourmet food and increasing price is tending to sustain effort in the face of declining yield.
Our planet and its resources are finite and we are beginning to encounter its limits. With few exceptions, economists, business people and politicians universally subscribe to the belief that never ending economic and population growth are desirable for prosperity. This belief bears no relation to what is actually happening in the real world.
The United Nations,
Human Development Report,
ranks 162 countries
Finfacts Survey by William M. Mercer† is also revealing. This
survey ranks overall quality of life for major cities around the
world. It is based on an evaluation of 39 quality of life criteria
for each city including political, social, economic, and
environmental factors; personal safety and health; education;
transport; and other public services. It is conducted to assist
multinational companies in assessing international hardship
allowances for their expatriate workers. Here are the top ten:
It is clear that neither economic prosperity nor quality of life have anything to do with population size or density. If anything, the correlation is negative and if one were to include psycho-spiritual parameters in the evaluation it would undoubtedly be highly so.
For more on this and other topics of current interest see the Weblog item on the Golden Dolphin website.