Posted by: lovinguninhibited | November 27, 2011

Blogs 3 and 4

This summer, while my dad and I were waiting for food we had ordered from Ronnie’s Wings, we noticed a pier within walking distance. My dad was visiting from Washington and we did not have the chance to go to the beach yet, and he wanted to explore some of Florida’s more natural settings. I dare to call this area natural mainly because his Florida experience, up to this point, involved spending time inside my sister’s house playing with my niece. I will also admit that at that point in time, I did consider that to be somewhat of a “venture”in to nature, after all, when my mom would tell my sister and me to “go play outside” we were stuck within the constraints of our backyard. In the summertime, we would “play pretend,” in our yard and imagine that we were at ‘Camp Crystal Caverns,’ but it was not until my dad’s girlfriend took us camping in the Appalachian mountains when we were in middle school that we began to have any real insight about nature. Even then, however, our “venture” out into the “wild” was significantly tamer than camping in a forest uninhabited with other people and commercialism would have been.  Building our own fire and cooking Jiffy Pop over it, seems like a bold and exciting way of reinforcing our desire to be able to survive in nature without technology and luxuries. In reality, though, even Jiffy Pop is quite the luxury, and I think it to be highly improbable that any of us that stayed in that campsite that weekend would even remotely have the skills to survive in nature for very long without any of these domestic amenities. This goes back to what Gaddard was talking about when he quoted Thoreau (who had just finished climbing Mount Ktaadn), It is difficult to conceive of a region uninhabited by man. We habitually presume his presence and influence everywhere. And yet we have not seen pure Nature, unless we have seen her vast, and drear, and inhuman… Nature was here something savage and awful, though beautiful. This was that Earth of which we have heard, made out of Chaos and Old Night” (66). I think that humanity’s disrespect for nature is certainly related to ego, as this quote points to, but also prevalent because we don’t fully know or understand REAL, true nature.

At that dock with my dad, we ran into a family and talked with the father. He was there teaching his younger son to fish, and while we were there his son caught a smaller fish and was incredibly excited. At first, I was caught up in the sweetness of this bonding father/son moment, and the adorableness of this young boy who was so proud of himself for finally catching a fish. However, his dad then had him toss the fish back and a few minutes later the fish was floating at the top of the water. After seeing that, I only felt sad that this creature was killed for such a frivolous purpose.

When I got home I decided to research proper ways to ‘catch and release’ a fish, and I strongly believe that this is something everyone should be required to learn if they are going to fish for sport. According to William D. Anderson, you must be careful with the angle you remove the hook, and you should also use pliers. Additionally, if the hook is in the gut of the fish it is best to cut off as much of the hook as you can, and release the fish with some of the hook left into its body. This entire article talks about how to ‘catch and release’ properly in order to preserve the sport of fishing, but it did not leave me convinced that the sport of fishing should even be allowed. I’ve talk a lot of about the wrongness and immorality of treating animals poorly for human amusement, in previous blogs and at this point I think I have made my views clear on the issue. I think it is completely wrong to fish for sport. It is one thing if it is for survival, but as Earle points out in her TED talk from The World is Blue, even fish caught for “survival,” or I suppose it might be more accurate to say, the fish caught for the purpose of consumption, are largely wasted. She specifically states that, “The next time you dine on sushi or sashimi or a swordfish steak or shrimp cocktail, or whatever wildlife from the ocean you happen to enjoy, think of the real cost. For every pound that goes to the market, more than 10 pounds– even 100 pounds– may be thrown away as bycatch. This is the consequence of not knowing what we can take out of the sea” (268). It seems as though if mainstream views on catching fish are so warped, even in regard to consumption, it would be unlikely that this father-son duo would’ve handled their fishing day any differently. Actions of society, overall, are exactly why we are at the point where we are looking for alternatives for harvesting fish.

More than ever, I am understanding the desperate need for Aquaculture, which is something I learned a lot more about when I went to Dr. Ahearn’s lecture. He made a lot of good points about the benefits and necessities of aquaculture in the future. For instance, he explained that our human population is rapidly expanding and because of this we need to be thinking about how we are going to feed everyone and avoid running out of resources. He noted that Aquaculture would also help to prevent extinction of certain species of fish, however, fish that are harvested by way of Aquaculture are done so in tanks, or large blocked off areas where they swim around in circles and then are eventually harvested to eat. Much like the animals at the zoo, I wonder, if this is truly a better alternative to their extinction. It is certainly not much of a life, and Dr. Ahearn did point out that there is a different taste to fish that are harvested this way, in comparison to the ones that develop in the wild. This also brings up issues to me about what else is genetically different about them. In reality, we are not truly preserving a species, if already their TASTE is different, THEY are DIFFERENT overall. In reality, we are a long way from correcting our astonishing disregard for all of the aspects of nature. But aside from the efforts of Aquaculture, it seems like a pretty clear way to work toward the goal of preserving all species of fish, would be to banish fishing as a sport. At least then, the lives of many fish would not be cut short for frivolous purposes, and after that we can examine how to improve further. Maybe even someday it will be more common for people to be vegetarians or vegans, although I suspect that will only happen once we foolishly run out of our meaty resources.

 

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