Ocean Film Fest 2011: Plight of Cod In The Baltic Proves The Complicated Politics of Sustainable Fishing


Image via Vimeo video

How can we both fish sustainably and profitably? The balance seems to slip through our fingers more often than not. It's either the difficulty of getting accurate projections from scientists, or bad political policies, or fishermen that decide not to abide by regulations -- or follow the poorly thought out regulations only to witness their disastrous effects. Such is the case of cod in the Baltic Sea. Fished to the brink, scientists and fishermen want to turn the story around, yet there is a surprising mix of problems that make fishing bans look as pointless as no regulations at all. In a fascinating documentary, For Cod's Sake, learn why getting large numbers of healthy cod back in the Baltic has been a difficult journey.

The entire 50-minute film can be watched on Vimeo -- definitely click through to view if you've got some spare time; it's a great film.

Which is more frustrating to watch -- fishermen who ignore bans altogether and continue to catch cod as "bycatch", or fishermen who follow the bans only to pointlessly kill the fish they catch that put them over quota that they then must discard, dead, back into the sea? It's hard to say.


Cod boats waiting ashore after a fishing ban. Image via Vimeo video

This story of cod in the Baltic, however, is a lesson we can learn from in other fisheries as well. While the details may change -- such as how regulations may need to be formed including the method of fishing, the time of year and length of season, the areas where it can take place and so on -- the overarching story is clear. Paying close attention to what is happening under the ocean and working closely with fishermen, scientists and politicians is an absolute must. Of course, this collaboration is also the most difficult thing to ask, and to accomplish.


Image via Vimeo video

The proof of that is played out in the status of cod in the Baltic right now.

For more information, check out Save our Baltic Sea, which states, "Fishermen, 
scientists
 and
 politicians 
have
-
all
 in 
good
 faith
-
done 
their best
 to 
wipe 
out 
the
 Baltic
 Sea cod.

 Fortunately,
 recent
 environmental
 conditions
 have
 -
 by
 chance
 -
 led
 to
 more
 cod
 in
 the
 Baltic.
 And
 the
 European
 Union
 proclaims 
it
 wants 
to 
save 
the
 species.

 But
 ironically, EU 
regulations 
force 
fishermen 
to discard 
thousands of
 dead
 cod
-
every 
day.
.. So 
is 
the
 cod 
really
 back
-
or 
is 
a 
wipe out
 still
 imminent?



"In
 a
 broader
 sense,
 For
 Cod's
 Sake
 depicts
 the
 seemingly
 unsolvable
 conflict
 between
 mankind's
 legitimate
 need
 to
 harvest
 the
 fruits
 of
 nature
 and
 at
 the
 same
 time
 preserving
 these 
fruits
 for
 generations 
to
 come.

"

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More from Ocean Film Fest 2011
Ocean Film Fest 2011: Great White Sharks Disappearing Into Soup Bowls? (Video)
Ocean Film Fest 2011: Can Networking California's Coastline Save Fishing Industries? (Video)
Ocean Film Fest 2011: Landscapes At The World's Ends Is a Stunning Visual Journey (Video)

Tags: Activism | Conservation | Fishing | Movies | Oceans