NoRightTurn: Nats veto last ocean

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, October 12th, 2011 - 12 comments
Categories: food, sustainability - Tags:

NZ vetoes the last ocean

The Ross Sea is the last significantly unexploited ocean on the planet. It is free of pollution, invasive species, mining and overfishing. Currently, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, the international body in charge of Antarctica’s marine resources, is planning a series of marine protected areas to keep it that way. But there’s a fly in the ointment: New Zealand:

New Zealand is set to veto any attempt to completely protect the world’s last unexploited ocean – so a lucrative fishing industry can continue operating.An official New Zealand document leaked to Fairfax reveals Wellington, backed by the US, does not want the whole 650,000 km2 Ross Sea declared a marine protected area (MPA), despite a 25-nation convention saying it is “of high global importance”.

Maps in the document written by the Ministry of Fisheries show a large area of the Ross Sea is excluded from a marine park. It means the fishing industry can keep taking toothfish, discovered by New Zealand in 1996, worth $18 million a year.

And so National pisses away a bit more of our environmental reputation, in order to protect the “right” of a few to make money by ruining our last pristine marine environment and fishing a species to extinction.

12 comments on “NoRightTurn: Nats veto last ocean”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    This is pretty much exactly the same thing that the Japanese government is doing with the whaling in the southern ocean – protecting a tiny industry that benefits only a few.

    I guess toothfish aren’t charismatic mega-fauna, though, so they don’t count.

  2. Blighty 2

    our mission, then, is clear. Create and produce a hit cartoon show staring Tony the toothfish.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    How much money are iwi fishing interests making from this decision.

  4. Angela 4

    Greed and power trump common sense and rob our race’s future. Human nature?

  5. Afewknowthetruth 5

    One bright spot on the horizon: as Peak Oil bites increasingly hard, fuel to run fishing boats will become increasingly expensive, taking fish off the menu for most people.

    On the other hand, the desperation of the elites to maintain the petroleum economy could see deep-sea drilling in the Antarctic region.

    Either way, the next generation is screwed.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      I’m pretty sure the fuel cost as a proportion of the total cost of fish in the supermarket is pretty low.

      Just like doubling the price of uranium only increases the cost of power from nuclear plants by about 7%.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Just like doubling the price of uranium only increases the cost of power from nuclear plants by about 7%.


        wtf kind of calculation is this?

        I’m pretty sure the fuel cost as a proportion of the total cost of fish in the supermarket is pretty low.

        OMG seriously??? Have you even looked at the input-output tables for the fishing industry world wide???

        Let me clue you in: rich people will still be able to afford all the electricity they want and all the fresh fish for dinner they want. Poor people will slide further into energy poverty and further into hunger/low quality food.

        And then at a certain point, the system will break down because it will become uneconomic to run a trawler at any price, or run a nuclear power station at any price.

        Around that time you will also see the “law” of price-supply curves fail.

        • Lanthanide

          “wtf kind of calculation is this?”

          One to show that although the cost of an important part of a business may increase, the overall cost of the product doesn’t actually increase that much?

          “OMG seriously??? Have you even looked at the input-output tables for the fishing industry world wide???”

          No, if you could find a website with this data, I’d be interested in seeing it.

          My statement very carefully included the words “in the supermarket” for a reason. The most energy inefficient part of getting food from the farm to the dinner plate is the part where the customer drives their car from their house to the supermarket and back again.

          The fuel cost that goes into getting an individual fish to the supermarket is likely to be only a few cents, say 30 cents out of a sale price of $10. If you double the price of fuel, the fuel component goes from 30 cents to 60 cents, and you fish costs $10.30 to buy instead.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    Not surprised. This government will everything they can to prolong the rape of the environment for profit.

    • Tigger 6.1

      And lick the boots of any nation it wants to impress. Ugh, this is nasty stuff, not my government. Mate, where’s my country?

  7. Cin77 7

    Sadly, this news does not surprisse me.

  8. Jasper 8

    The life cycle of a toothfish

    Year 1: Born
    Year 18: Maturity
    Year 35: Breed
    Year 50: Die

    Total numbers of toothfish? Who knows. There is a lack of data so Unknown.

    Who knows, we’re probably fishing the last few thousand right now.

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