Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 24, September 27, 1976.
The Big Two
The Big Two
The USSR and Japan catch well over half the total fish caught in our area. These two imperialist powers having depleted grounds closer to home go further and further each year in their search for new grounds to milk dry. Japan arrived off our shores in the early sixties and had outstripped the New Zealand catch by 1971. The USSR first appeared in 1971 catching a mere 10,400 tons. By 1973 it was catching 74,300 tons a year (9,700 tons more than NZs catch for 1973) and the figure has been rising since.
Worldwide the Soviet Union and Japan are the two largest fishing nations. Both are catching a total of about 10 million tons a year. Forty-two percent of the Japanese catch and about 82% of the Soviet catch is made in the waters of other countries. While the Soviet Union and Japan were the two main culprits in the extermination of 90% of the world's whale population through overfishing, they are still attempting to increase fish catches. This year the USSR announced plans to increase its catch by over 30% in the next five years.
The world's oceans can only sustain a certain number of fish. Russian and Japanese expansion is based on merely increasing the scale of their hunting operations and not through cultivation. The intense greed of these capital-intensive industries is leading us toward a situation of marine deserts in the immanent furture. What has happened to whole populations is now threatening to happen to other marine species.
A possible portent of the future of New Zealand's fishing industry if these foreign fleets are allowed to continue to fish our waters is contained in Peking Review (7/4/76):
"For six months in 1972 and 1973 Soviet trawlers in the Indian Ocean caught fish and prawns in the off shore waters of Pakistan. Using large fishing vessels and long nets, the Soviet Fleet hauled nearly all the fish swimming in shoals before they could come near the coast. As a result, one-third of Pakistan's fishing vessels could not put to sea, over 6,000 fishermen were out of work, and the loss of foreign exchange income exceeded 150 million rupees."