Tuesdays with Turtles – Wednesday Hook Edition

WWF – Fishing Technology That’s Letting Turtles Off the Hook –

Turns out that a small change in hook design can save a lot of turtles from getting caught in longline hooks. But the story’s not really about the shape of the hook. I’ve written about this before. The issue is rarely one of technology. The solutions have been developed and exist because a lot of work has gone into developing technological solutions. Implementation on the ground (or sea!) has lagged because it is much harder to effect change where it counts when you attempt to impose technology in a top-down fashion. Small scale fishers (new english here, to avoid the whole fishermen/fisherwoman/fisherperson nonsense, take out the gender specific suffix to every occupation describing verb! – Try it, it’s not weldman, or plumbwoman!) are in a world of hurt with declining fish stocks and widespread fisheries piracy by the so called “developed world”. Without developing and implementing the solution with the full participation of the people who have the most potential to be affected, the change will not be successful.

What did the WWF do differently this time?

Together with fishermen we are building a culture for sustainable fishing practices that will guarantee fish stocks in the long term

They emphasized the people, not the solution. And the results were great, 90% reduction in turtle catch, >95% of the turtles caught were released safely, and the fish yields were not affected. Everyone wins, right?

Good stuff. Those turtles are still endangered and we’ll run out of wild edible fish in 50 years, but hey, more like this and there’s a bit of hope.