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Re: [Fwd: Plastics and rubbish drowning Greek ecosystems]


Trevor Kenchington <[log in to unmask]>


Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>


Fri, 3 Oct 2014 10:19:47 -0300





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As an old friend, I should remind you that this is a mailing list for
discussion of the science of fish and fisheries. I fully endorse your
campaign against the policy distortions generated by foundation
funding of an anti-fishing message but that campaign does not belong

If we can stretch the remit of this list to include the social-
scientific study of the general public's responses to fisheries
issues, then I would have to say that the money is only part of the
story. We should also ask why it gets spent disproportionately on
anti-fishing, rather than anti-plastics, messages. I will guess at
two possible answers:

1: Human beings are very good at finding reasons why their problems
are not of their own making. (It's a behaviour pattern all too common
amongst fishermen, to the detriment of fisheries management.) Since
nearly all of us use and discard plastics, we (at least: the great
majority of us) have to focus on some other cause for the changes to
ocean ecosystems that we do not desire. An ENGO which spent its money
telling people that they will see the cause best by looking in a
mirror would not get much of a hearing. Demonizing the tiny
proportion of the population that is involved in commercial fishing
is a whole lot easier.

2: In the world we have all built together, large corporations carry
great power. Too often, public interests only move forward when some
corporation can make money from that advance. There are very large
companies involved in the manufacture of plastics and others that
make free use of those products in discardable packaging. While there
are a few moderately large corporations involved in the seafood
business, there are no really big ones. I'm not going to suggest that
some petrochemical company has had lawyers warn off the ENGOs.
Corporate power is usually far more subtle than that. But I will
posit that the lack of any giant fishing corporations has made it
possible for certain foundation-funded ENGOs to maintain their attack
on commercial fishing over two decades without any effective riposte.

I do not know whether anyone has tested such hypotheses through
actual research. They are far outside my area of expertise. But a
rationale or "scientific" approach to the problem might reveal much
more than simply "following the money" can.

Keep up the good fight ... though perhaps not through this medium!

Trevor Kenchington

On 2-Oct-14, at 9:30 AM, Nils E. Stolpe wrote:

> On 10/2/2014 5:48 AM, Magnus Johnson wrote:
>> I don't quite understand why this doesn't get more press.
> Hi Magnus -
> I suspect it's because, unlike fishing, there aren't any multi-
> billion dollar industry connected "charitable" foundations telling
> reporters, producers, pols and the general public that plastics
> pollution is a serious threat to the world's oceans.
> Best,
> Nils

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