Antimicrobial Cod Fisheries

Two things that went past my eyes today, that ended up being oddly entangled. The first is about EU calls for a 50 percent cut in the catch of cod in the North Sea:

Maria Damanaki, the European fishing commissioner, a Greek, said the announcement was based on evidence that stocks of cod, valued for its white, flaky meat, are not recovering after being overfished.

Of course it’s ‘amusing’ that the Telegraph feels the need to point out that Damanaki is ‘a Greek’ – no doubt that reflects badly on her ability to have an informed opinion on… well, anything i suppose. Can’t even run a country into the ground. Moving on:

Bertie Armstrong, of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said that the European Commission had broken previous promises to negotiate quotas with communities dependent on the industry for their livelihoods.

“There is deep anger is that we heard about this via a press release,” he said. “The commission’s whole approach is defined by arrogance.”

Poor Bertie! He seems to forgotten that without quota there won’t be any fishermen left for him to federate. It’d be safe to bet that nature isn’t interested in negotiating with Bertie, or his federation.

[There is a chapter in Rahmstorf & Richardson’s Our Threaten Oceans on the complexity of the ecosystem supporting the cod population… i’d guess that if cod (maybe all of the north sea continental shelf) is ever going to recover, it will take an almost complete cessation of human activity over a large percentage of the water, probably for decades. But, i’m getting ahead of myself…]

The second article is a bonafide piece of pure doomer porn. This chap from the WHO, quite frankly, should scare the living daylights out of you. If he doesn’t, i’d suggest you go nail yourself to a gatepost with a rusty nail, wait for infection to set in, and then lie down to die:

Q: Is this the doomsday scenario of a world without antibiotics?

A: Unfortunately yes, with these new multiresistant NDM1-containing strains and their potential for worldwide spread. Doctors will face a terrible dilemma when a pregnant woman develops a kidney infection that spills over into the bloodstream with a pan-resistant strain containing NDM1 and there are no treatment options. We are essentially back to an era with no antibiotics.

Oh, that’s good! I’m surprised he bothered to invoke the spectre of a pregnant woman, what with people nailing themselves to gate posts across the land! The nice connection between these two stunning examples of humanities collective ability to be mindfuckingly stupid:

Q: How can governments reconcile the economic interests of farmers and the health interests of the population?

A: To stop overfishing of cod in the Atlantic Ocean on the east coasts of Canada and the USA, governments imposed an indefinite moratorium on cod fishing in the Grand Banks. There were complaints from the fishermen, but it was a necessary decision. Unfortunately, cod stocks have yet to recover and some scientists fear that the effects of cod overfishing may be permanent. Antimicrobial resistance may be likened to this overfishing scenario, to cattle overgrazing the grass in the commons or to deforestation on Easter Island, which led to the population dying out. Antimicrobial resistance is a consequence of continued overuse of antibiotics combined with the constant growth of resistance over time. The solution is to achieve the appropriate ecological balance.

Suspect he saw no need to parenthetically add, “not that we’re likely to do anything about, seeing as there is so much money to be made by carrying on as we are now!”

The WHO piece is well worth reading in full. It’s short and horrifying… as is, i suppose, the Telegraph article, but for rather different reasons.