Thursday, January 06, 2011:
There’s a bunch of chatter over the bungles related to the blizzard, especially the slowness in busting the public out of the snowy sock-in. In fact, officials from municipalities around the state will be heading to Long Beach Township to have a public works powwow, hoping to draw on combined experiences to see what could have been done better.
The bout of flakiness moving in for tomorrow will seem like nothin’. Hell, we’re storm-harden snow people, eh? Remember, by the end of this month winter will end early.
This world news wire story is weird -- somehow or other:
[South China Morning Post] January 6, 2011
A Hong Kong sushi chain has paid a record price for a giant bluefin tuna at the world's biggest wholesale fish auction - and plans to sell the fish to customers at a big discount, drawing fire from conservationists.
Taste of Japan, which runs the Itamae Sushi and Itacho Sushi restaurants in Hong Kong, won the bidding for the biggest fish at the first auction of the new year at the Tsukiji market, for the fourth year running.
In partnership with Tokyo-based restaurant Kyubey it paid 32.49 million yen (HK$3.07 million) for the 342 kilogram Pacific bluefin tuna, breaking the previous record that saw a 202kg fish fetching HK$1.9 million in 2001.
Cuts from the giant fish will go on sale today or tomorrow for as little as an eighth of the auction value of the tuna, and are expected to sell out within hours.
'We will sell it below the market price as we do not aim to make any profit, just to express our gratitude to the loyal fans of Itacho Sushi and Itamae Sushi in the new year,' Sharon Chan of the chain's marketing department said.
However, conservationists saw it differently.
'We don't agree with the use of an overfished and endangered species as a promotional gimmick,' Allen To, a WWF Hong Kong marine conservation officer, said.
The tuna - estimated to have been over 20 years old - will be flown to Hong Kong today or tomorrow and will go straight to Sesson Kushiyaki and all Itamae Sushi and Itacho Sushi restaurants in Hong Kong and Macau, except for those at the airport.
A piece of sushi with a standard cut of tuna will cost diners HK$38, despite the fact that Taste of Japan paid about HK$238 for the cut at auction. Fatty tuna, or toro, will cost HK$68, compared with an auction price of HK$475, and a piece of sushi with the prime cuts of 'supreme toro' will cost restaurant goers HK$98 despite an auction value of HK$855.
Regular tuna sushi sells for HK$13 apiece while toro goes for HK$35 in the restaurants.
'I expect once it comes to Hong Kong it will sell immediately,' Chan said.
To of the WWF said imports of bluefin tuna to Hong Kong had increased thirteenfold since 2004.
'The high price paid for the bluefin tuna is a concern in itself ... Economic drivers can make it very difficult to sustainable manage the fishery, as the fishers have a major incentive to continue fishing even when populations get very low.'
Of the three types of bluefin tuna in the world, two have been labeled critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with their numbers dropping about 90 per cent since the 1970s. The third type, Pacific bluefin tuna, has not been assessed, but the WWF says it is overfished.
Taste of Japan has bid over HK$6 million in tuna auctions since 2008.
There are some odd and interesting conservation angles in the following story:
[Edmonton Journal] By Carmen Chai - January 6, 2011 - Global fisheries, including those in Canada, can be sustained by following a 'community-based co-management' model, according to an American study that suggests input from local fishers would stop illegal fishing and increase resources.
Researchers at the University of Washington investigated more than 130 fisheries in 44 countries to study how co-management practices affect fisheries around the world. The results showed that the framework, based on shared responsibility between the government and local fishers, is the 'only realistic solution' to the problems fisheries face, said lead researcher Nicolas Gutierrez, who studies aquatic and fisheries science.
His team's findings, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, also examined small-scale and industrial fisheries in Atlantic Canada, on Vancouver Island and the West Coast, in the Arctic and Native fisheries.
'Many people believe that having fishermen involved in the management process is letting the fox guard the henhouse. What (this research) shows is just the opposite, that the more involved the fishing industry is in management, the better the outcome,' co-author Ray Hilborn said.
Major components identified in the co-managed fisheries studied included a leader who enforces guidelines based on community input, securing catch and ownership over an allotted space and protecting harvested areas for conservation.
Incorporating these components resulted in less illegal fishing, a greater abundance of resources and higher profits, Gutierrez said.
Hilborn said many fisheries can't succeed under government management alone because some are so small that officials can't devote the resources needed to monitor them.
On the smallest scale, the co-management system would include mayors and fishers from different villages agreeing to avoid fishing in each other's waters.
Boris Worm, a marine biologist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, said the model 'makes sense' because it provides fishermen, who have first-hand knowledge of the region, with ownership of a piece of the waters, so they'll take better care of that space.
He pointed to Canadian lobster fisheries on the East Coast - an industry worth nearly a quarter of a billion dollars - that have adopted the community-based co-management method.
'It's not by coincidence that it's one of the most successful fisheries we have. It's been sustained for more than 150 years and is economically very important to hundreds of fishers,' he said.
'When people have a sense of ownership over their resource, they absolutely want to make sure no one takes their lobster, and if somebody does, that person is ostracized in the community and that's a stronger penalty than a fine,' he explained.
He said he has seen successful fisheries around the world operate under this model, naming Chile as an example.
In the 1980s, Chilean fisheries were exploited because of open access, meaning anyone could extract seafood from the sea. By 1988, fishers, scientists and the government set up a co-management agreement in a fishing cove covering four kilometres of seashore, where only local fishers were allowed to fish.
According to Gutierrez, the co-managed area now stretches along 4,000 kilometres with more than 20,000 fishers participating, making it one of the most successful abalone fisheries in the world.
Worm said Canadian communities with crab, lobster and shrimp fisheries should also consider adapting to this model.
'There are new emerging fisheries with limited scientific knowledge, such as sea urchins and sea cucumbers. In a data-poor situation, using knowledge that fishermen have and working with them to conserve the resource is a viable option,' Worm said.