Geography of Fishes

The discipline of geography is one that most people likely dismiss as mapmaking.  Gone is the stodgy cartographer and here is the GIS tech wizard. But outside of very particular applications, do most people really give geography a second thought?  I hope to show through a famous fishery example that the world should give geography more attention – the Peruvian anchovy fishery.

First a bit of context.  Geography is a diverse discipline, spanning applications from environment to physics to cultural anthropology.  At the core of the discipline is the importance of place – something very simple yet very often forgotten.

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Public fence-sitting then falling to one side

I recently attended a public hearing for a proclamation in the state of North Carolina that proposed to ban large-mesh gill nets in two areas of the state’s estuaries where sea turtle encounters have recently increased. There’s a large back story to both sides of the case and a lot of emotional motivation on both sides, leaving science flattened in the wake of charismatic leaders promoting their personal values. In fact, science became a bit of a flattened tool, left on the ground until useful to pick up and brandish, like a much-forgotten sword cast aside until it’s in a handy spot mid-battle. The meeting started as a classic jobs versus the environment case, but a few hours into the public comment period, I began to realize why this particular meeting had attracted the attendance of well over 300 people. I wasn’t in Kansas anymore, but at the crossroads of some of the largest debates in commercial fishing.

turtle release from the turtle hospital

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