Fisheries & Oceans: Pseudoscience in the service of imperialis

Beware the facile use of climate change explanations

By DOUGAL MACDONALD*

A FEBRUARY 20 REPORT in the Vancouver Sun, reprinted by other monopoly media, states that well-known British Columbia marine scientist, Villy Christensen, told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, held this year in Vancouver February 16-20, that there is a need to do “more research on predicting the impact of climate change on oceans to better manage fisheries and stocks.” The impression left by the article is highly misleading; Christensen is actually engaged in a major research project, the Nereus Project, which is investigating the effect of three factors on ocean fish stocks: climate change, human activity, and food web dynamics (fish eating fish).

The fact that the media highlight climate change and omit mention of the effect of human activity is worthy of note. The result is a misleading attribution of the problem of declining world fish stocks to the nebulous construct of climate change, while saying nothing about the very real issue of overfishing by the fishing monopolies. These monopolies consistently ignore the agreed upon total allowable catch and violate nations’ sovereignty by fishing within the 200 mile limit of their territorial waters. In addition, these monopolies trawl with enormous nets that literally scrape the bottom of the ocean and severely damage the ecosystem. These nets often use a smaller mesh than regulations allow, trapping many smaller fish that are thrown back in a damaged condition.

Disinformation that lays the blame for identified low fish stocks on “natural causes” is not new. In fact, the Canadian state has a long history of this. For example, the 1997 report of the Coady International Institute (Memorial University) on the closure of the Canadian cod-fishing industry, which put innumerable Canadian fishermen out of work, concluded that “Scientific information, specifically the role of the environment, was gruesomely mangled to meet political ends.” Even with the publication of the report, Department of Fisheries (DOF) spin doctors continued to tell the public that the main causes of low fish stocks were cold water (!) and seals. This is particularly ironic, since climate change now attributes low stocks to warm water! The DOF disseminated such disinformation in spite of the fact that for decades previous, Canadian fishermen had literally waged war against foreign trawlers overfishing in their waters.

Facile identification of “climate change” as a cause of problems actually caused by the depredations of the monopolies is not new. In fact, climate change “explanations” are rapidly becoming equivalent to the pseudoscientific “gene” explanations long given for everything from poverty to aggression. For example, in 2009, a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences (November 23), attempted to link civil war in sub-Saharan Africa to climate change by stating that climate change could “increase the likelihood of civil war by over 50%.” This so-called scientific study carefully omitted any mention of the colonialist legacy, decades of plunder of Africa’s natural resources by the monopolies or the problem of indebtedness created by “foreign aid.” People should be vigilant against such so-called science. As is always the case, the key question is who benefits from acceptance of the claims made. When the claims let the monopolies off the hook for their many crimes, it is crystal clear that the beneficiaries are not the people.

*Correspondent of TML Daily in which this article first appeared (February 25, 2012 – No. 8 Weekly Information Project)

 


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Filed under Fisheries & fishermen, Media, Journalism & Disinformation

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