An animated whiteboard systematically debunking Greenpeace’s extreme rhetoric.

Open Invitation Clock
Loading Clock
Total time that Greenpeace
has ignored open invitation
from International Seafood
Sustainability Foundation
(ISSF) to participate in the
ongoing dialogue about Tuna
fisheries & sustainability.
Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Forty-four years ago this month, a biologist named Garrett Hardin delivered a controversial address to a group of fellow scientists on what he called the “Tragedy of the Commons.” Using the example of sheepherders on a common plot of grazing land, Hardin explained a fundamental principle of conservation: A valuable resource is quickly depleted when it is held in common. As most people know from experience or intuition, when something is owned by “everyone,” it’s treated as though it’s not owned by anyone.

The same applies to the oceans and the rich resources that live in it.

That’s why the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation’s (ISSF) proposal announced on World Ocean’s Day is such an important step forward for all those concerned with the future of the seas.

ISSF proposes applying practical economic theory to the challenge of long-term tuna sustainability by capping the demand for new large-scale tropical tuna purse seiners. These are the boats that catch a majority of the world’s tuna for the canned market. The ISSF plan also calls for recording vessel data, including how much fish a vessel can carry, so that all participants have the fullest picture of fishing activity. With this data in hand, and once industry stops adding new vessels to tuna fisheries, nations can begin working toward a fair and equitable rights-based management system that restores natural incentives to conserve fish stocks.

One of the most promising aspects of the ISSF approach is that it takes human nature into consideration. Under the plan vessels already on the water can continue to be transferred and traded. And by viewing the world as it is now, identifying the steps that must be taken before further improvements can be made, ISSF and the scientific community further differentiates itself from activists more interested in platitudes and fundraising campaigns.

Ensuring sustainability is hard work, and the details of the ISSF proposal to address overcapacity (which you can read here) will surely be debated in the coming weeks and months. But this is a discussion well worth having because its assumptions are rooted in conservation principles, sound economic theory, and a true understanding of how human beings act in the real world.

World Oceans Day is an occasion to appreciate the sea and its bounty. But that bounty is not without its limits, so to ensure the world’s oceans are teeming with life tomorrow, we must take the right steps today.

Posted by TFT-Staff

Greenpeace Cycle of
Abuse: Case History

Greenpeace Hypocrisy:
Case in Point