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Subject: Re: The Ocean is Starving!
From: Patrick Schneider <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 8 Mar 2000 15:32:55 +0100

text/plain (81 lines)

Dear Debbie,

first of all, you should be careful with the use of expressions like
"logical sense". As your statements are mostly based on assumptions,
rough approximations and generalizations, talking about your
considerations (?) to be logical is not appropiate. Apart from that, I
can not find *what* it is really what you refer to as being "logical".
You don't define the statements you compare in a logical system, nor do
you declare on which logical theory you base your comparisons.

Just one example for one of your vague assumptions: What you call the
"SUM TOTAL OF LIFE", do you have any measure for that? Or at least any
definition? You can not talk about a decline of something, if this
"something" is not defined. And even if you have a definition for it, I
doubt very much you have a measure for this "SUM", in order to verify
(to some extent), your argument.

Apart from this formal deficiencies in your argumentation, I think one
main flaw in your construction is, that it is based on the assumption
that the limiting factor of fish "growth", i.e., of the increase of fish
biomass, is the production of protein through nitrogen-fixation.

Your argumentation implies, that fish biomass can only grow to the
extent as protein is *added* to the system. This in turn implies, that
the fish always eat, at every given moment in time, all the plancton
available to them. If not, there growth would not be directly dependant
on the "input".

I'm no expert in this field, but do you have any evidence for this being
so? What if there's much more plancton as the fish can eat, and the
limiting factors are others, like the "accessability" of these resources
to the fish, where I understand "accessability" as an expression for the
sum of several factors limiting the immediate availability of food for
the fish. In my opinion, this would be a much more adequate description
of the situation that we can find in the oceans, than what you describe.

If this is correct, than we can assume a certain "buffer" system, which
allows for the recovery of stocks within relatively short time,
independant from the "slow adding of protein" which you describe, and
what can actually be observed, under the given conditions. I think all
what you've said is pretty much depending on this point.

Also, I don't understand why plancton abundance should decline through
fisheries. As the plancton is eaten by some fish (and whales), there
should be an increase rather than a decline, when fish abundance
decreases. On what findings do you base the opposite assumption?

With respect to your conclusion - which is even more general as the
whole argumentation - I would be interested in knowing to what you refer
with "Feed the Fish"?

Best regards,

Patrick Schneider                     Tel. +34-932 216 416
Instituto de Ciencias del Mar - CSIC  Fax  +34-932 217 340
Dpto. Recursos Marinos Renovables
Desp. 137                             e-mail:
Paseo Juan de Borbon, s/n             [log in to unmask]
08039 Barcelona                       [log in to unmask]
"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is
because he hears a different drummer.  Let him keep step to the
music which he hears - however measured or far away."

-- Henry David Thoreau

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