The classic battle being fought around the country between Big Box Stores and Mom & Pop Shops has transcended our coastlines and sailed into the global fisheries industry. Whether we have a predisposition for supporting underdogs, or strive to preserve tradition, we seem to harbor a connection to small local businesses and feel dismayed by their impending decline.
Unfortunately cheap prices and a wide variety ultimately sway consumers with misplaced priorities towards corporate giants… which in our oceans translate to overfishing, unprecedented bycatch, and environmental impacts. Instead of stepping aside as large-scale fisheries continue to dominate the waters, perhaps a trend reversal is in order. Could phasing out “Big Box” fisheries be a solution that ultimately reduces global bycatch, capitol costs and fuel consumption while simultaneously increasing social benefits such as jobs?
According to Dr. Pauly, “Indeed, I argue that the best path toward sustainable fisheries worldwide would be to phase out industrial fisheries in favor of artisanal fisheries, which have a much better track record of sustainability (Conservation Magazine: July-September 2007. Vol. 8, No. 3).”