My thoughts on the Forest & Bird Zero Bycatch policy – and by implication on all such over simplifications of complex realities.
[ 8/6/20 ]
The idea that any accidental death of an organism is unacceptable is a nonsense.
Everything we do causes accidental deaths.
Cars kill native wildlife, so do windmills, and power lines, and windows and many other things.
A call for zero bycatch is logically and physically impossible, and leads to total distrust between groups.
I was a commercial fisherman for 17 years, and have been a recreational fishermen for about 60 years, and studied marine ecology with my favourite prof John Morton (someone I consider lucky to call friend and mentor – though John and I could have long arguments – on a friendly basis).
What has happened is that individuals who have recorded accidental catch of marine mammals have had their businesses destroyed, rather than being praised and rewarded for accurately reporting reality.
When you create a situation that destroys all incentive to accurately report (which the zero bycatch policy does), then it make progress towards the target of minimising bycatch to the greatest degree reasonably possible extremely difficult.
A call for zero bycatch can only be achieved by one mechanism, the removal of all human activity (fishing and otherwise), from the water. Even a yacht sailing through the water will occasionally kill sealife with their keel, bow, rudder, rigging, windows, etc. International shipping kills whales in collision.