A feed of misinformation doesn't feed us
Agri-Phoenix Feature: Doug Evans
Name: Doug Evans
Place: Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast
I find myself constantly jumping to the defence of the fishing industry: battling misconceptions and misinformation. Having worked in the industry for years, I see that commonly this misinformation feeds myths about the environmental impact of fishing on the oceans, and the attitudes of people who fish for a living.
It seems so easy for the media to pick up lines with the words ‘destructive’ and ‘massive’ and ‘exploitation’ to describe how I earn my living. But most of the fishermen I know are deeply aware of their responsibilities to take care of this precious resource. We spend countless hours keeping logbooks; we purchase and use turtle exclusion devices; we have to stay updated about changing government regulations to combat the issues presented.
In fact, the cost of staying abreast of changing regimes for fishing is enormous, and may itself be contributing to the arrival of more super-trawlers. I know it has sadly led to a loss of jobs locally and seen the end of many local fishing fleets as buyers turn to overseas suppliers because of the rising cost of local supply.
Do you know how much of the fish in your local supermarket or fishmonger is locally caught, how much is farmed here in Australia, and how much comes from Vietnam, Thailand or China? Unfortunately, these suppliers are not subjected to the same regulations that are in place for the sustainability of the industry and more importantly may be destroying the very environment that supports it, as mangroves are reclaimed for fish ponds.
The deeply upsetting part of this, is that I have never met a skipper, boat owner or deckhand who hasn’t had a profound love for the ocean and everything in it. There is a mutual respect and an understanding that they are part of an ecosystem that they must contribute to in order to take from.