Friday, November 24, 2006

Deep Sea Fishing Treaty

An effort to establish a UN treaty regulating deep sea fishing has been scuttled, and Greenpeace is hopping mad. The are particularly mad at Iceland: "The international community should be outraged that Iceland could almost single-handedly sink deep-sea protection and the food security of future generations," said Karen Sack of Greenpeace International." (Canada appears to be happy with the failure of the talks as well.)

I can see why some folks want the treaty, as they are concerned that the practice "can cause damage to extremely slow growing ecosystems, particularly coral reefs, and also depletes other marine life that is captured by the nets." But I wonder if the treaty approach is really the best way. You have a few countries, including Iceland, that have powerful fishing groups who want to maintain the practice. Is a treaty really going to be effective in these circumstances?

This situation reminds me somewhat of whaling, where there is a ban but nevertheless some countries are able to take advantage of exceptions to keep catching whales. Furthermore, these same countries continue to lobby to get rid of the ban, and

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