Return to the archive index.
This blog does not have millions of visitors. It could probably be hosted on an old Casio calculator with the calculator having enough computing power left to run a full scale global climate simulation. However. Frankly dear visitor, I don't care that much about the visitor numbers. Sure, it's grand to have your message read. Yet first of all though I'm writing my posts for the small incrowd of regulars who frequent this blog. That said, I do write to be read and every time someone learns something from one of my posts I get a little boost in happiness :)
Yesterdays post on the European Union fishing TACs and quotas turned out to be a fruitful one. Some hours after being published I received an email from Mark, a fisherman (smart guy with lots of education, and an interest in everything fishy) working on the Dutch fleet, and crew member of the first trawler I ever went on. Apparently he has been quietly following my blog for over a year now. Only yesterday he felt the urge to say hello. Why so? Because that EU fisheries documents was new to him. A simple list of who is allowed to catch what and where, that every fisherman knows, but not in its original context with bilateral treaties and all. Now if even people working within the industry, people who actually make an effort to learn, have difficulties getting the big picture it shows that we have a long way to go.
So, i can save seas?!. Yes you can. All what is needed is for you to actually want it and spend some serious time informing yourself. It ain't easy diving into it. While the basics are crystal clear a real understanding takes time and effort.
(the image is showing Periko-Karel, my very own feline)
The best thing of the internet is that important information (legislation, LOLcats, news) is easily accessible directly from the source. It's a privilege. Yet we often forget to use that privilege and satisfy ourselves with second-hand sources; news articles and write-ups from others. It takes an 'aha!' moment to realise that again. I had such a moment this evening when my girlfriend Juliette (who, incidentally, wrote a very interesting dissertation on international law in the Arctic region, which I hope she will put it online) asked the simple question "which european countries have the biggest fishing quotas?". With much regret I had to admit to not knowing the answer right away.
I did, however, have a Firefox bookmark to the European Commission Fisheries page with the TAC (total allowable catches) for all stocks and the quotas (parts of the TAC) given to various member states, the community and third countries. Well wait, no. I did not. It seems the European Union, whom I cherish and love, decided upon overhauling some random parts of its website and thereby rendering the 50-odd bookmarks I carefully crafted useless. At least my tax money kept some starving web designer entertained :-)
Not all is bad though! Our lovely union did something decent as well. Even though their website and human rights activities are not top-notch their info certainly is. After some browsing I arrived at the document I was looking for.
That is indeed a mouth full. A surprisingly readable document though, outlining the entire common fisheries policy for 2008. Over 200 pages of text, stats and tables, but in it more information than even a thousand news articles can give. As with all EUR-Lex documents the HTML versions have lost all formatting. The PDFs however are more than readable.
In its aim to create an open flow of information to as many people as possible the commission also commissioned a fancy flash viewer for this data. It's fancy in a useful and pleasant way. Now if only the EU's local webdesign guy can fix the EUR-Lex HTML view and teach the webbies to stop breaking links the world would be a better place.
Greenpeace is doing a series on fisheries in the Pacific featuring students, fishermen and other inhabitants of the Solomon Islands.
It's an interesting way to get some info out and it's good to see non-scientists locals involved. That said, a public token of agreement from the occasional scientist wouldn't do Greenpeace harm either. I believe they should put more effort in that. It would surely earn them some respect and goodwill from powerful stakeholders.
As of now they have two videos online. The first one features a sympathetic guy (his name isn't mentioned) discussing the change he wants to see. The second video (embedded here) focusses on a female student (again no name) discussing foreign trawlers and the importance of the fish for the Solomon Islands economy.