Bottom Trawling in New Zealand

It was announced this week that New Zealand will ban bottom trawling in one-third of its off-shore waters.

While this might have seemed like good news environmental groups were less ready to rejoice. They said the deal which was struck with the fisheries happened all too suddenly and that it constituted to be nothing more than a PR exercise. They also said the areas which were being declare off-limits have either already been overtrawled or are too deep for bottom trawling.

Such deals are of course always being struck at conferences behind closed doors with environmental groups neither being present nor represented. And by the time we realize the duplicity the fisheries and politicians have already got what they want and the damage to the environment is already done. It is an all too familiar a scenario.

What we seem to have lost is our sense of respect. Where as once a upon a time we would nurture and care for the environment that provided for us, today we more like its masters. And that is not far off the mark. For it wasn’t long ago that slavery was openly and unashamedly practiced. While slavery is still practiced today it has “gone into hiding”.

If you think about it the mentality of fishing and slavery are very similar – they both treat the living like non-living commodity, to be brought and sold by its owner. Where as once we saw a fish as a beautiful and wonderous creation of nature we now see it as nothing more than a supermarket product. It is as David Suzuki said the most urgent problem that needs to be tackled is our attitude. We need to regain a sense of respect for all things including respect for ourselves.

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