Let’s get back to the Arcadia Report, which was in the process of educating us on what is mystifyingly a very well kept secret about the abuse of fishing.
Western fisheries are starting to exploit waters around developing countries (especially in the Pacific), instead of addressing their own depleted fish stocks. This not only depletes and ruins the oceans but also takes advantage of developing countries. The economic return for developing countries from access fees and licenses is a mere 5% (or less) of the US$2 billion that the fish
is worth on the market.
So, to put it politely, but broadly, Western fisheries are exploiting waters around developing countries. Instead of addressing their own problems, Western capitalism, which has a quota and a three month deadline, is just going to move out and abuse the poor. Not only does it ruin the ocean... what an extraordinary statement. Not only does it ruin The Ocean... but it takes advantage of developing countries.
I have no problem with someone scoffing at the notion that humans are ‘ruining’ the ocean. It’s a big ocean, it’s a big planet. So this might be hyperbole.
But certainly humans can’t fish the entire ocean. There are only certain depths and locations available to us.
And even if we privileged members of the West are able to create technologies that take us beyond these depths and locales... this does nothing for the poor. And I’m, personally, a great believer in the mythical ideal of equality. I personally believe good people must tilt towards the powerless, instead of constantly tilting the table towards our own mouths. Let’s move on to my favorite entry, and one directly relating to our subject.
Pirate fishing exploits costal communities from the South pacific to West Africa, by stealing fish and selling it to European and Asian markets. Somalia, for example, loses US$300 million a year to pirates, while developing countries globally lose more than US$4 billion a year. In 2002, Greenpeace estimated there were at least 1,300 industrial scale pirate ships at sea.
Naturally they also cause the same environmental problems as legal ships, and often more, because they ignore regulations.
I want the record to show clearly and unequivocally that in this instance the report is not referring to the desperately poor Somalis when they use the word “Pirate”.
“Pirate” means the foul, despicable, wealthy capitalists who steal food from the mouths of the poor.
And this is a report that came out in 2007. Way too late to the party - and yet it has been available for two years. Nary a peep from mass media.
That’s just one report. I found it. I imagine anyone could. I certainly don’t expect an overworked and underpaid public to know to go looking for this - but I certainly expect what passes for “Media” to have this.
Of course, my opinion is that this isn’t a matter of incompetence or accident. It is purposeful. Of course CNN knows this is out there. Of course someone at NBC has read this, or any of the myriad reports. Those people, who may have cared once, who have read these reports, don’t make these decisions, and in order to get along, get paid, get promoted, they must buy in completely to the company’s thinking.
The thinking is, quite conveniently, that this “system” by which they must live, the commercial driven system, simply does not allow the time to give this kind of background. It doesn’t sell. It doesn’t get to what excites audiences.
It is a convenient argument. Set up a system; make it one that cannot possibly allow statements that aren’t easily explained in 3 minutes; and then shrug and say “It’s not me, it’s the system. I’d love to explain away, and give background on every story. But the system doesn’t let me.”
Say that "the Somalis are evil, foul pirates, capturing ships laden with food for the relief of the very poor Somalis" and you don't have to explain a thing. Everyone on the show nods and chimes in: "absolutely!" "This is such a terrible story Roger, thanks for covering it." "Fortunately the President is involving private contractors in the situation over there." "Oh that's just great Roger." "I love you Cindy." "I love you too Roger."
Instead, just try saying "The Western Nations are evil, foul pirates, stealing food from the mouths of the very poor Somalis, callously dumping nuclear waste on a people that are already devastated and have never done them harm", and you suddenly have a lot of confused faces. These people are going to sputter and pretend to gather up their blank sheets of paper, the props used to make Roger an Cindy look like they can read.
They are going to commercial as quickly as possible to end 'your turn' so that when we come back from commercial the host has the clear right of way to begin speaking again. Meanwhile the audience is saying "What did that idiot just say?!? What was he talking about? You can't just say that and run, come back and tell me what the hell your argument is!"
And it is too late. Your face is going to be on every right wing, and possibly some 'left' wing, newsletters calling you a dangerous crackpot. Even a majority of what passes for 'the left' will denounce you as craven and stupid for 'apologizing for' or 'dismissing' what the Somalis do in their form of piracy. Even if what you said is true, and I have read this already enough times - even if the 'left' acknowledge that what you said may or may not be true, "we don't know either way", you will be denounced for trying to soften the view against Somalia.
It will never come up that every mainstream news outlet constantly dismisses the form of piracy and just plain old abuse perpetrated by those with all the money and power.