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September 11, 2012

Boiling Point - The Phoenix Islands

By Simon Ager

Simon Ager Samoa tuna and frigates chasing baitfishPhoto: Simon AgerEast of the island of Rawaki, the waters boiled, thousands upon thousands of silver shards breaking the surface, thrashing, swimming frantically for their lives, the tiny baitfish didn’t stand a chance against the skipjack and yellow fin tuna that were chasing them down. Hundreds of birds circled above swooping in for an easy feed.

An amazing spectacle to watch, free diving on the amazing show that ripped though the deep blue, only to surface and have frigate and boobie birds dive bombing right over your head plucking the tiny fish with all the precision of a skilled surgeon.

Witnessing nature, predator and prey is awe-inspiring; the circle of life at work, only to have the spectacle overshadowed by the approach of a purse-seiner fishing vessel. Here to cast her nets around the amazing show, wipe it out and banish it to the depths of a deep freezer.

Witnessing the aftermath of a huge catch, the nets draw tighter around the fish bringing them alongside the vessel, causing the thousands of tuna to literally crush one another and suffocate, fish would break in half under the immense pressure, the ocean awash with blood, a giant scoop dips into the nets hauling the catch over the deck to be sorted, the broken and mutilated tossed to one side. The other sad fact that most of the fish were very small, if not a foot long, still juvenile never to be given the chance to procreate.

A truly demoralizing sight.

With high tech fish finding equipment and helicopters, nature doesn’t stand a chance. This isn’t line and pole fishing where a local fisherman will catch just what he needs to survive! This is full-scale decimation, industrial fishing designed to take it all. Purse-seiners, trawlers and long-liners, thousands of them everyday around the world vacuuming up the oceans, plundering the lungs of the planet, where is the circle of life, how is the eco-system supposed to survive and recover from this continuous onslaught?

The short-term capital gain had by the fishing industry that obviously has no long-term environmental solution, except to plunder and move to the next fishing ground will see the death of the oceans and ultimately the planet.

Can you imagine a dead ocean, where everything has ceased to exist, no more fish (90% goes to the meat industry for cattle, chicken feed), no more whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles?

Greed, blind ignorance, un-education and human over population are pushing the planet to a tipping point of no return. It is up to the consumer to realize that what may not be affecting you now, WILL eventually catch up to us all. Make the conscious choice and effort to take fish off the menu, reduce your meat consumption and help save our oceans before it is to late!

Julie Andersen Blood In The WaterPhoto: Julie Andersen

Simon Ager Purse SeinerPhoto: Simon Ager