Life, Energy and the Unity of Nature; Towards a formula for sustainability.
It was interesting to read the report of comments made by Joey Murrin at the conference on the EU Maritime Green Paper, “Towards a better Future Maritime Policy for the Union” in the April edition. A key point was made that for decades, 50 – 60 % of catch has been discarded over the side dead when that by catch could contribute to future stocks.
Unsustainable Fishing Practices
Inappropriate net mesh sizes, by catch pressure, and unfair competition all contribute to diminished resources. Optimists hope the fishing industry can continue to catch fish in a way that harmonises diversity, abundance, sustainability and added value. Vitally the economic and socio economic well being of coastal communities depends on the sustainability of its natural environment. Understanding how energy is utilised may be the vital missing cog.
Science Festival Edinburgh
Recently I attended a Science Festival Lecture in Edinburgh where an ecologist
(John Whitfield) presented his book “In the Beat of A Heart; Life Energy and the Unity of Nature”. Within is a theory that attempts to explain nature’s pattern and diversity. The biologist’s equivalent of E = MC squared. It was a fascinating presentation and I was left wondering how this theory might be applied to the science of managing fish stocks.
Basically, metabolic rate can be used to understand the dynamics of ecology and habitats by measuring energy use.
Measuring the metabolic rate of fish at different stages of growth and maturity in their natural environment could be used to define an optimal sustainable harvesting strategy. Nothing like a good scientific explanation to illustrate something already known by some!
A real opportunity exists to invest in research to fully understand the dynamics of energy transfer in ecology and how this effects fishery structures in addition to energy use the wider community to achieve sustainability.
Reducing by catch, defining appropriate mesh size and targeted harvesting could be a good starting point.
19 Swanston Gardens