Over fishing is not the problem, therefore reducing the catch will not sustain the stocks.
The cause of fish stock devastation is sewage nutrient pollution that is feeding algae that is smothering seagrass baitfish nurseries. Baitfish depend on seagrass, there is no alternative food web nursery.
Seagrass from bays and lagoons and around mangroves is mostly gone except in some areas sheltered from nutrient laden currents.
Tuna eat baitfish. Tuna depend on baitfish. When ocean tuna are cleaned in Solomon Islands the stomachs are either full of baitfish or squid or empty.
It is apparent there is not enough squid alone to feed all the tuna. 'Floating cities' of squid fishing boats in the Pacific are a thing of the past. When the squid fishing boats went away, squid stocks did not recover.
When tuna and cod and other fishing stopped or was reduced, the stocks have not recover as expected or at all.
It's like not enough grass in the paddock to feed the cattle. Some animals do not fall pregnant when starving. Starving cows abandon their calves just like whales are abandoning their calves. Whales are also mammals. Human are known to abandon their young due to hunger.
Solomon Islands effort to lessen fishing impact is admirable but fishing restrictions have failed worldwide and resulted in present serious and general world fish stock devastation.
Full time independent investigative general marine research since 1982 into malnutrition amongst seafood dependent Solomon Islands - Langa Langa salt water fishing people has revealed worldwide sewage nutrient pollution is stopping fish stocks from regenerating.
Vessel Day Schemes sound good to sustain fish stocks but they will not do so, migratory stocks can be caught elsewhere, and the problem is nutrient pollution.
Some fishing restrictions are just plain stupid. Being allowed to take big experienced adult breeders while being forced to leave immature young fish is a perfect way to reduce stock regeneration capacity.
It is absurd that island lagoon people are suffering malnutrition and starvation due to devastation of traditional staple seafood supply that mainly consisted of baitfish.
The baitfish stocks are gone and the they have not come back when fishing has stopped in the Langa Langa and even in New Georgia and Rendova - Western SI waters.
Loss of staple food supply also equates in SI to loss of traditional food gathering livelihoods and barter trade. Boredom results, so does crime and civil unrest.
Ethnic tension, religious tension, call it what you like, it is civil unrest linked to chronic poverty.
Vessel Day Scheme fisheries gobbledegook will not sustain fish stocks or peace.
There are solutions including to stimulate the rural and national economy.
Solutions must include focus to make SI teem with baitfish to attract tuna while making the fish content enough to breed and multiply.
Meanwhile, immediate socio-economic action must be taken to overcome malnutrition and hunger and associated disease and early death amongst Solomon Islands and no doubt other seafood dependent people. Have MDG's been forgotten?
Close to fishery will fail!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of John C Fairfax and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.
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