The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Category: meta

Big Brother on the High Seas: Using Satellite Technology Against Pirate Fishermen


Image from Greenpeace.

Seafood consumers and distributors have come a long way in the United States to better understand the origins of seafood that lands on our plate. Labeling of farmed vs. wild-caught and import vs. domestic has helped direct seafood purchasing from both a wholesale and individual perspective. There is an increased awareness about locally caught product vs. those with more food miles; whether seafood was sustainably harvested; safety and health issues; and secondary impacts of fishing and gear on the environment and other non-targeted species.

Yet, despite these strides, the majority of the seafood that America eats is imported. In most cases, that fish is not held to the same level of scrutiny, sustainability and traceability required in the U.S. It’s estimated that $23.5 billion worth of fish enter the world market each year from illegal fishing – perhaps 1 in 5 fish caught in the wild. In some regions, as much as 40 percent of the catch is thought to be illegal.

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A few weeks ago, I flew to Kona to swim with some robotic gliders.

Since my reporting happened faster than I expected, I made a quick stop to visit some friends in Oahu. I went swimming a mile off Waikiki I distinctly recall thinking how strange it was that the ocean was not trying to freeze me or rough me up, as it always does in San Francisco. Staring down towards the bottom, some 25 feet deep, I laughed into my snorkel and mask, bubbles and boogers gurgling out. I was happy with how warm and clear minded and relaxed I felt and that I didn’t really have to worry that much about drowning or freezing to death on an average day.

It was, in almost every way, the spiritual opposite of my home beach, Ocean Beach. I love OB, but anyone who really knows her kind of knows she’s, well, kind of a bitch.

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Crew Wanted: The Scuttlefish Ocean Writing Contest

Hello there! I’m looking for a marine biologist and travel writer to fill out our rank. To that end, I’m holding a writing contest. Tell me your best ocean story of either kind–Ocean Science or Travel. And there are some modest prizes for the winning entries.

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