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Subject: Re: [Fwd: Plastics and rubbish drowning Greek ecosystems]
From: Trevor Kenchington <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date: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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