« November 2008 Table of Contents
Point of View: John Connelly
President, National Fisheries Institute, McLean, Va.
November 01, 2008
Knowledge is power," is a quote most often attributed to
English philosopher Sir Francis Bacon. Bacon is known as the
father of modern scientific reasoning. When it comes to seafood
sustainability, a lack of knowledge about what is truly at
stake is a problem that impedes progress. Sustainability has
become a buzzword for pop-environmental aficionados who often
don't realize that there are real live men and women behind the
seafood they demand and the sustainability they endorse. It is
their lack of knowledge about efforts already underway that
unfairly paints the seafood community as flat-footed and
Meanwhile, inside the seafood community there sometimes is a
lack of knowledge about the need for creative thinking that
threatens to leave parts of the industry vulnerable to the
dangers of inertia.
It is ignorance on both sides that threaten species and
livelihoods. Fish stocks are living, breathing, organic
entities that grow, shrink and change. There is no
one-size-fits-all answer to sustainability. Static cards and
rigid lists are simply not the solution. New strategies and
flexible thinking can create powerful solutions, but they need
to be explored now to ensure that there is a later.
Perhaps catch shares would benefit some stocks and more
robust aquaculture others, but it is the ideas that are yet to
come that have the potential to be the most powerful. A lesser
known quote from Francis Bacon reads like this, "a wise man
will make more opportunities than he finds."
The seafood community must make more opportunities for
itself. The power that comes along with creative, flexible
thinking will be a crucial element in facing seafood