Another victory in the invasion and "conquest of nature"

As I was growing up in California, textbooks and audio visual materials were
full of references to a wonderful development unfolding -- "man's conquest of
nature." Signs of progress in this regard included "draining the swamps,"
"clearing the forests," "damming the rivers," and "forcing plants and animals
to serve human needs." Here's an excerpt from a news story about a recent
victory in this grand tradition, the rapid destruction of the world's most valued
fish species.

Ocean species depleted by fishing
Worldwide numbers down 90 percent since the 1950s
Rick Weiss, Washington Post
Thursday, May 15, 2003

Industrial fishing has decimated every one of the world's biggest and most
economically important species of fish, according to a detailed global analysis
that challenges current fisheries protection policies.

Fully 90 percent of each of the world's large ocean species, including cod,
halibut, tuna, swordfish and marlin, have disappeared from the world's oceans
in recent decades, according to the Canadian analysis -- the first to use data
going back to the beginnings of large-scale fishing in the 1950s.

The new research found that fishing has become so efficient that it typically
takes just 15 years to remove 80 percent or more of any species unlucky
enough to become the focus of a fleet's attention. Some populations have
disappeared within just a few years.

"You'd think the ocean is so large, these things would have someplace to
hide," said Ransom Myers, who with fellow marine ecologist Boris Worm
of Dalhousie University in Halifax conducted the new study. "But it doesn't
matter where you look, the story is the same. We are really too good at
killing these things."