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Nat Geo Blog calls for Cownose Ray cull by making them a delicacy

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National Geographic Magazine is probably still a good magazine in print, but their blogs are a distance shadow. The logic of blogger Jeremy Berlin is pretty flawed. According to him, since all the top predators have been fished out of Canadian North American waters, the way to control the Cownose Ray population growth is by calling for population control by making them a food delicacy. Of course, not addressing the shark overfishing problem BEFORE it became a problem never crossed anyone's mind. A typical reaction to a problem that is short sighted and further brings our biodiversity toward destruction. A disappointment to say the least. I certainly hope their magazine never prints this.

 

http://blogs.ngm.com/blog_central/2011/01/...0110106ngmb-ray

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I like Perrine's reply:

 

Jeremy Berlin’s short and intriguing article in the January issue of NGM, “Eat a Ray, Save the Bay,” left me hungry for more information. What are these “shellfish” that the rays are “gobbling?” Are they, by any chance commercially important species of mollusks and crustaceans that have been in severe decline for years due to over-harvesting and habitat destruction by humans? Any chance that humans have also been “gobbling” these species? And what about the grass beds that the rays are “roiling?” Would these, by any chance, be the same grassbeds that have been in decline since humans first settled around Chesapeake Bay, as a result of pollution, poor watershed management, mechanical destruction by dredging (for some of those unnamed “shellfish”) and boat propellers, etc.? Why is it that “predators like coastal sharks have declined?” Does it have anything to do with the rapacious, cruel, and obscenely wasteful fishery for shark fins to supply a nutrition-free status-enhancing soup ingredient for Chinese celebrations? Have the unidentified “area officials” considered the alternative of rebuilding healthy populations of predators in order to ensure a resilient and balanced ecosystem? When the writer refers to “the observed spike in cownoses, though untallied,” may I presume that the meaning is that there are no reliable population estimates for this species either before or after the sharks and shellfish were both overfished, and certainly not before the entire ecology of the Bay was drastically altered at human hands? Are the “area officials” aware of the life history characteristics of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays), such as extremely low fecundity, slow growth, and delayed maturity, which make them notoriously poor candidates for a commercial fishery? Can they name a single truly sustainable fishery for any species of elasmobranch? May I suggest an alternative to the moniker “Chesapeake ray?” How about “scapegoat ray?” One final question: when did National Geographic Magazine start promoting resource exploitation schemes clearly developed by commercial fishermen and their allies in local government without consulting scientists with expertise in the field? In China, bamboo forests have been destroyed for agriculture and development and pandas are gobbling the remaining bamboo. Can we expect to see panda recipes in National Geographic soon?

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The two edged sword of the internet; great for getting the message out, but also making it impossible to control. All businesses, and clearly media companies, have to deal with this issue.

Allowing anyone to have their opinion under your banner can result in mixed messages at best, total misrepresentation at worst.

Edited by loftus

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According to him, since all the top predators have been fished out of Canadian waters, the way to control the Cownose Ray population growth is by calling for population control by making them a food delicacy.

 

Maybe this was just a typo, but the last time I checked, the Chesapeake Bay waters were under American control, or, is there something you need to tell us up here? :) :)

 

Alternatively, if overfishing in Canadian waters is indeed pertinent to the story could you please provide further background information.

 

Thanks

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Yes Paul it was a bad typo... must be my deep seated obsession to be Canadian. :)

 

As for Canadian overfishing follies, here is one example:

 

http://www.ecologyaction.ca/content/poor-c...tal-group-iccat

 

No country can claim to wear the halo on fisheries management though, as long as there are humans and greed involved. :)

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Yes Paul it was a bad typo... must be my deep seated obsession to be Canadian. :)

If it were not for the winters, my wife and I would long to escape the political vitriol south of 54:40.

Bob

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No worries, Drew. :)

 

Yup, Canada does need to pick up its' game when it comes to conservation and the environment. The current Harper government has shown time and time again, that it is no friend of environmental and conservation issues unless it will provide a direct benefit to business. Hopefully, the next federal election, which should be held shortly, will produce a regime that will properly show more interest in environment and conservation issues.

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