Science Cafe New Hampshire had its first monthly discussion of the fall season last night in Nashua. the topic was fishing and fisheries, with marine fisheries experts from UNH Sea Grant and a Fish & Wildlife expert who’s based at the federal fish hatchery in Nashua.
I’ve gotten pretty depressed about the state of the world’s oceans, and to a lesser extent the state of our rivers and lakes, but the panelists were more upbeat. When I moaned that I feared our grandchildren would face a world where the main available seafood was jellyfish, Erik Chapman said no, no, no, pointing out that he’s been at sea that day only 10 miles off Gloucester, Mass., and seen large schools of dolphins and lots of groundfish. (I can’t take notes and moderate at the same time, so no quotes, alas.) There’s plenty of hope, they all said.
But there are plenty of problems, too, especially overfishing – both at sea and on land – and the changing climate, which is warming waters and sending many species further north. Since we’re at the southern end of the range for both cod and Atlantic salmon, that doesn’t bode well for these high-profile species.
David I guess it would’ve been more circumspect about any cheery news that I heard about our oceans. Overfishing is a huge problem and if someone said that they had seen plenty of fish and or dolphins. I guess I would want to know what they were comparing this positive picture too. As far as our fresh water resources here in New Hampshire, I agree our waters are in better shape than they were 40 years ago. However consuming freshwater fish is now considered to be a unhealthy choice because of the high mercury content in many of our most popular game fish.The other comment I would add is that our hatcheries in New Hampshire should be evaluated on how sustainable their practices are for producing trout and salmon. Does it really make sense to take large quantities of ocean fish grind them up into feed pellets to feed to trout that we then stock into our freshwater rivers and lakes.