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Deep Trawling.

Written By: - Date published: 9:14 am, May 24th, 2018 - 21 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, capitalism, Conservation, Deep stuff, economy, Environment, food, identity, labour, nz first, Politics, quality of life, science, Social issues, sustainability, winston peters - Tags: ,

You’ve probably heard or read something on the government’s decision to back-track on imposing restrictions on trawling for orange roughy. There was a raft of conservation measures ready to go before the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO), and they’ve been dumped.

The fishing industry has said the measures “were were not based on clear scientific findings or policy”and appealed to fears and insecurities that if the measures had gone ahead,  “livelihoods [would] be lost, food and economic benefits [would] be forgone” .

Some have suggested lobbying by the fishing industry has successfully swayed Winston Peters who, in turn, has leaned on the NZ Labour Party, and so on and what not. And whatever of that may be true, neither the fishing lobby nor Peters are the problem; they are the symptom of a problem.

Orange roughy is a fairly straightforward illustrative example of nature being monetised. And having been monetised, it’s the unnecessary loss of the financial return that takes precedence over the loss of that which has been monetised. It’s perfect financial logic that begets madness. So for example, a few years back, allegations were made that Mitsubishi was deliberately overfishing bluefin tuna and freezing it in order to secure top dollar after extinction had been attained.

And we lay in, and hold in place the foundations such perversities rise up from by the simple acting out of our every day lives.

We willfully adjust and adapt to become healthy functioning parts of this socio/economic milieu that would have us wipe out a world for $, while bemoaning the inability to save a world because $. And we inculcate our children into the ways of the world.

As good parents, we want our children to “get a head start” and “get ahead” in this life. We’re not bad people. We’re good people who have hooked, lined and sinkered ourselves into a particular madness that informs us of what it means to live a good life.

And so the orange roughy will have to go extinct. And NZ dophins will have to go extinct. And we will have to raise average global temperatures well above 2 degrees and bring down a clatter of extinctions – because we are good people trying to lead a good life and do what’s best for us and ours.

I don’t know any way out of this beyond recognising the nature of what we hold in our hands and what we pursue in our heads, and dropping it in the dirt.

Economics wasn’t always this way. Once was, plenty of economic systems revolved around notions of stewardship instead of this current insatiable quest for financial return that spans the world.

And societies haven’t always been this way either. Once was, plenty of societies revolved around notions of community and kinship; not atomised individuals pitted against one another in the context of some supposedly impartial and neutral market forces.

Another world is possible, or should I say this world is possible.

But we need to recognise it to realise it, and stop relegating it to sit below some financial abstraction that will– so we believe – finally prove to be a platform that lifts us all up (at least the worthy and capable of our numbers), and offer back to us a veritable font of milk and honey.

The best of it has been. It was as good as it was going to get at some point in the past. Now it just gets worse before it doesn’t get any better.

And most of us quietly acknowledge at some level that what we’re doing isn’t much cop. Most of us don’t actually want to be doing what we do – not really. But we invent excuses that keep us “cleaved”, and we invent fears and imaginings of bad stuff that will happen if we don’t hang on – as though all humanity and all ingenuity and ability will, by necessity, be dropped in the dirt alongside whatever is willfully dropped.

And this fairly pervasive notion – that in stopping the madness, we’ll be swamped in some kind of madness is…well, it’s just another expression of the madness right there.

So question, criticise and even condemn Peters, the government, the fishing lobby or whatever. But then look deep in the mirror, and who knows, maybe even decide it’s time to break with this suicide pact we’ve been calling the social contract.

21 comments on “Deep Trawling. ”

  1. Zorb6 1

    Wow !,this-
    ‘And we lay in, and hold in place the foundations such perversities rise up from by the simple acting out of our every day lives.

    We willfully adjust and adapt to become healthy functioning parts of this socio/economic milieu that would have us wipe out a world for $, while bemoaning the inability to save a world because $. And we inculcate our children into the ways of the world.

    As good parents, we want our children to “get a head start” and “get ahead” in this life. We’re not bad people. We’re good people who have hooked, lined and sinkered ourselves into a particular madness that informs us of what it means to live a good life.’

  2. Rosemary McDonald 2

    Worthy sentiments Bill, but until you get sufficient individual buy in to make an appreciable difference we are somewhat reliant on our elected officials engaging honourably with regulatory and enforcement measures.

  3. Philg 3

    Well articulated Bill. Thank you for the unpalletable. I wonder what proportion of people are aware but won’t confront it… 5% 50% 90% ? Is there any data which could answer my question.

  4. Brigid 4

    “And having been monetised, it’s the unnecessary loss of the financial return that takes precedence over the loss of that which has been monetised.”

    It is always the argument given by the neoliberalist that to enact practices that are good for the planet, good for social harmony, provide employment rights etc that the consequences will be financial loss.

    But nobody ever replies, “So be it. Find another source for your financial gain that doesn’t damage us all”.

  5. Russell Norman made a good call leaving the Greens to become Greenpeace Executive Director.
    It would seem that there is more ability to raise these issues with some impact and bring them to the public’s attention when one is outside of Parliament.
    I really hope that the issue of the fisheries exploitation and imminent destruction gathers some traction in the Government this time round.
    As we are surely nearly out of time to save both the fisheries and ourselves

  6. beautox 6

    I’m not getting the link between the fishing and tobacco industries…is it because people smoke fish ?

  7. greywarshark 7

    Thinking about how we look on at accidents and unfolding tragedies, as a lot of us do rather than being participants in our society. I came on some good quotes that deep-trawl the workings of our minds. There are matters like fish stocks falling and species likely to go extinct, and continual damaging harvesting from overfishing whitebait to deep sea stuff from the Antarctic, going for rare slow-breeding fish there while at the same time harvesting krill, a valuable food source for
    the large aquatic animals.

    The problems we face today, violent conflicts, destruction of nature, poverty, hunger, and so on, are human-created problems which can be resolved through human effort, understanding and the development of a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. We need to cultivate a universal responsibility for one another and the planet we share.
    Dalai Lama

    We illustrate and subvert our problems with satire such as in Red Dwarf. I found some interesting scripts from this humorous tv show, out in space; satirical in a Douglas Adams way.

    This one would be handy for politicians under scrutiny. It is all about establishing the difference between guilt and culpability
    and is a defence by Kryten the mechanoid to be presented before the Space Justice Computer.

    Rimmer: You’re going to try to prove that I was innocent of negligence on the grounds that I’m a half-witted incompetent?
    Cat: Man, there ain’t a jury in the land that won’t buy a plea like that.
    Kryten: Not a half-wit, exactly — more a buffoon.
    Rimmer: (Thinks about it. He’s quite impressed.) Right, I see. But how would you even begin to build such a case? Where would you conjure up the evidence?
    Kryten: Sir, providing I can have completely free access to your personal data files, I think I can come up with the outline of a winning case by lunchtime.

    Kryten: The mind-probe was created to detect guilt, yet in the case of Arnold Judas Rimmer the guilt it detected attaches to no crime. He held a position of little or no authority on Red Dwarf. He was a lowly grease-monkey, a nothing, a piece of sputum floating in the toilet bowl of life. Yet he could never come to terms with a lifetime of under- achievement. His absurdly inflated ego would never permit it. He’s like the security guard on the front gate who considers himself head of the corporation. So, when the crew were wiped out by a nuclear accident, Arnold Rimmer accepted the blame: it was his ship, ergo his fault. I ask the court: look at this man. This man who sat and failed his astronavigation exam on no less than thirteen occasions. This sad man, this pathetic man, this joke of a man…
    Rimmer: (Discreetly) Kryten. You’re going over the top. The computer will never buy it.
    Kryten: Trust me, sir. My whole case hinges on proving you’re a dork.


    This one is a script that would suit the style and preoccupations of many in National. it might amuse some people who are tired of reading about fact stranger than fiction. Why not try the opposite as a break in transmission? Then refreshed and returning to real life, people can take charge of their lives as is possible, and start influencing what the [……., fishing business – insert the relevant sector and firm] is doing to harm our present and close down our future.

    Quotes about our connectedness by Thomas Merton and how we may realise it so we act within our capacity mindful of our actual goal, for ourselves and as part of our human group.

    • Puckish Rogue 7.1

      Sorry but i couldn’t resist:

      • greywarshark 7.1.1

        Thanks PR
        I feel that someone else put that up earlier but I didn’t look at it. Obviously it got into my subconscious. Clever isn’t it.

        • Puckish Rogue

          Red Dwarf was/is one of my favourite programs ever…well maybe not the last couple of seasons

          Just to out myself I once went to a costume party dressed as Rimmer

  8. Korero Pono 8

    Bill, it is depressingly sad that what you say is as honest a truth as I am going to hear today. No dressing it up to make it more palatable to the masses. Sadly the indoctrinated masses probably don’t understand how every single facet of their lives is nothing more than a commodity to people who could not care less.

    Their (the profiteers’) sole focus is accumulating wealth to fulfill their unsatiated greed for power. Unfortunately Governments of all bents are compliant to these whims, whilst selling us the lie that we will some how benefit from these profits. Meanwhile, they’re stealing the future from humanity.

    Nothing beyond an out and out take over (read revolution) by the people will stop this madness. Sadly all the ‘nice’ compliant people want to uphold this illusion of safety that’s been created around us.

  9. johnm 9

    The annihilation of Ocean life and the degraded Oceans. It’s now our survival on the line.

  10. Rosemary McDonald 10

    Discussed this over lunch with a Young Person.

    There is an appetite for an electoral system whereby all political Parties are funded by the state to an agreed limit, and no ‘contributions’ by groups or individuals are allowed. If politician is found to have been ‘sponsored’ by an group or individual they are permanently branded as the property of that sponsor.

    So we all know who owns them.

  11. tc 11

    “Now it just gets worse before it doesn’t get any better…”

    100% Bill, that pesky science has been pointing to the collapse of ocean species for decades now.

    Misubishi are rumoured to have a million tons of deep frozen tuna stockpiled for the inevitable.

  12. saveNZ 12

    Agree 100%. Great post! In particular,

    “Orange roughy is a fairly straightforward illustrative example of nature being monetised. And having been monetised, it’s the unnecessary loss of the financial return that takes precedence over the loss of that which has been monetised. It’s perfect financial logic that begets madness.”

    It’s happening not just with the oceans but also on land, air all around us, the privatised and motetisation of nature which should sit above and be protected above everything else in the decision making tree but is instead is considered well behind money, short term neoliberal economics, politics etc.

    Our kids are going to inherit a not just a fucked up planet, but also before that educated and indoctrinated in fucked up priorities.

  13. saveNZ 13

    Auckland University are also closing down it’s specialist libraries too in art, music, architecture and planning. To save money apparently, but most of these decisions tend to be ideological and reflective of management ideology.

    In NZ we should not need anything else in our lives that are outside of money and making a profit..

    Thatcher via Rogernomic legacy lives on.

  14. Robert Guyton 14

    We have met the enemy and he is us.

  15. Antoine 15

    I wish we had a Government that would end bottom trawling in NZ waters and significantly cut back all commercial catch at sea.

    (And they could outlaw whitebaiting while they were at it)


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