Monday, November 15, 2010

Paul and Rachel Chandler, Somali Pirates...and overfishing.

A Google News search on Chandlers Pirates gets 957 results.
That is because Paul and Rachael Chandler have been released after a year in captivity by Somali pirates, and it it front page news.

A Google News search on Chandlers Pirates Overfishing gets 0 (zero) results. 
That is because corporate mainstream news analysis is only capable of reporting on the superficial, human interest aspect of news, and is constitutionally incapable of looking at the structural causes of the events they are "covering".

Fish are one of the principal exports of Somalia. The Department for International Development estimates that Somalia lost fish to the value of $100 million in 2003-4 to illegal fishing. This is a pattern repeated the world over - industrial nations, having hoovered up the fish in their own waters, are setting off to repeat the process in waters not their own, either illegally, or by legal agreements with the governments of poor countries, who put more store by what is in their account sheets than by what is or is not in the stomachs of their citizens.

If there are falling fish takes, fishers have two choices -starve, or diversify. The Somalis have diversified. Overfishing by foreign fleets is one factor in the development of Somali piracy. Overfishing is a symbol of the mindless nature of free market capitalism. It is one kind of irrational act to deplete a finite resource like oil, but an entirely different level of stupidity to deplete a renewable resource.

By the way, we need Marine Reservation Areas.

Before the anonymous right wing comments start up, yes, I know, it is morally wrong to do piracy. But moral activity is conditioned by the social and economic framework in which you operate. We do not operate as self-existent individuals in a vacuum, whatever right-wingers may think, and no matter how convinced they are that they are right.

So. Welcome home, Paul and Rachael Chandler. Hat tips to cab driver Dahir Abdullahi Kadhir, who assisted in the release. And Nul Points to the news industry who are incapable of passing on real information.

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