On January 1, 2016, the Southern Fried Science central server began uploading blog posts apparently circa 2041. Due to a related corruption of the contemporary database, we are, at this time, unable to remove these Field Notes from the Future or prevent the uploading of additional posts. Please enjoy this glimpse into the ocean future while we attempt to rectify the situation.
Yesterday, tens of thousands of people’s avatars teleported into the lobby of the National Marine Fisheries Service headquarters in Plaza. Most avatars wore a temporary skin that made them appear to be fish, marine mammals, sea turtles, or sharks. Almost all of them of them carried signs protesting the newly-announced shark fishing quota , which greatly increases total allowable catch for scalloped hammerhead sharks. This was the latest remote protest effort organized by the new, but undeniably augemented reality- and media-savvy, Ocean Conservation Solutions , which also designed all of the custom avatar skins.
Last summer, I predicted that this change to the quota would come. There’s no doubt that scalloped hammerhead sharks have greatly increased in population in the decades since they became the first shark species listed on the U.S. Endangered Species Act (as regular readers now, there are now 18 shark species and 43 batoid species on listed under the ESA). Despite concerns raised by conservationists (including myself), it seems that NMFS’ plan to allow a low-level of fisheries exploitation for hammerheads did indeed allow for overfished populations to rebuild. The newly reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation Act, just like every previous iteration, requires that NMFS allow fisheries for any species whose populations can support them.