Monday, March 25, 2013

Evolving Conservation

(c) National Geographic
When I grew up 'conservation' meant (to me) saving the pandas or tigers or elephants. Oh my. Charismatic megafauna - the cute, squishy, and cuddly animals that you can put on posters. Conservation was about species.

Conservation has evolved. I don't know whether the NGOs (... I guess not everyone knows D.C. speak... it means non-profits) realized that people cared more about people than animals, that their efforts were wiped clean in a few years if they didn't address help the humans whose activity threatened the animals (and whole ecosystems), or if it was just a new way to get money... or something else completely. No matter what the driving force, the result is conservation as a more holistic set of activities that, I would argue, is more effective.

I have a new view and appreciation for conservation non-profits and the work they do. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The other side of Indonesia

The big city side... The fishing coasts... The rice bowl. The terraced rice paddies. The stereotypical hats, and not so stereotypical hats.

They are all the unique, kind, and beautiful people of Indonesia. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated

I got a rude awakening to my blissful ignorance about fishing practices around the world. I like to think about beautiful, picturesque fishing villages like this:

...where traditional artisanal fishing is still done and in a sustainable way.

While those are pictures I took during this trip and artisanal fishing is still done, much of it is not sustainable even without industrialization of the fleet. People are poor. They need to feed their families. Anything that they can get out of the sea to sell or eat is fair game. This is not to say that people are breaking the law. Some probably are, but in general, fishery regulations are lax and what few exist are often poorly enforced. 'New' species are being collected... "Baby Shark" and "Baby Tuna". The fish landings at these picturesque scenes also look like this:

"Baby shark." For scale the tiles are standard 12" x 12"

"Baby Tuna." Yellow fin and Skipjacks being weighed and sold. Yes the fish on the floor are tuna.