Myths and Fallacies Part 10

Dissected by Dr J Floor Anthoni (2004)

In this document we'll have a critical look at public statements made by one of Canada's most celebrated scientists, Prof Dr Daniel Pauly of the University of British Columbia. Dr Pauly has earned world-wide recognition for his high-quality innovative and original research work on marine food chains, which identifies him as having the investigative mind of a true scientist. However, his public statements on overfishing and the need for large MPAs do not reach this level of quality. Read on. 
The blue text is ours, and the black text contains quotes from Dr Pauly.

-- seafriends home -- conservation -- war for marine reserves -- Rev 20040809,20060326,

Public statements of Dr Daniel Pauly, scrutinised by us
Between 16 and 22 August 2004, Dr Pauly visited New Zealand, hosted by the Department of Conservation as part of its propaganda campaign to win the New Zealand public for the establishment of large marine reserves. An integral part of propaganda is the establishment of emotional fear or anger, a common enemy, and the endless repetition of the need for a simple solution. In this case the public is to understand that fishing is bad, in danger of imminent collapse while destroying habitats in the sea. The common enemy is the fisherman (commercial and recreational), and the simple solution is to have large protected areas in the sea that are off bounds to fishermen. Dr Pauly is well known as a well spoken advocate of large Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and marine reserves. His perceived knowledge of the marine environment makes people sit up and listen, even though his statements lie well outside his field of knowledge and experience. It is therefore that we are compelled to examine his public statements critically. Although a co-author (a professor is also a team leader of students and scientists) of over 300 publications, he does not write about the things he says in public. So precious little of what he says has been recorded or transcribed.
The world experiences DP as follows:
Environment Hawai`i, Inc: "Daniel Pauly has shaken to its very core the science of fisheries management. The New York Times has written that critics frequently lump him with two other "doomsayers" - Paul Ehrlich and Peter Vitousek - who form the "Peter Paul and Pauly" trio. Science magazine noted last year that Pauly "is arguably the world's most prolific and widely cited living fisheries scientist." He's variously described as brilliant, iconoclastic, irreverent, wickedly witty, but no one would ever describe him as boring."
And this is how Dr Pauly describes the work he does:
DP: What we do is, we are one of the few groups in the world, perhaps the only one, that looks at fisheries as a global phenomenon. We have developed methods for mapping the catches of fisheries across the entire world ocean. And we present these as maps. We call them 'weather maps'  what other people often present as numbers. And these maps allow us to see what is happening to the ocean, just like when you see a weather map. And what we have mapped then is the catch, and from that we have derived -- using various modeling techniques is maps of the biomass of the ocean. The biomass is the amount of fish at anytime in the water. And for the North Atlantic we have already presented the results at the meeting of AAAS ( American Association for the Advancement of Science 2002), and we're showing that for the North Atlantic this biomass of fish, the amount of fish on the sea, has been drastically declining especially for the large fish that we like to eat, the fish that are on top of food webs -- the cod, haddock, the flat fishes, the tuna, etc They have declined drastically. They are about 1/3 of what they were in 1950, and 1/6 of what they were at the beginning of the 20th century. So they've been very strongly affected by fishing. So that's what we do. And in the process of mapping things, we've also discovered that the world fisheries catches have been declining. And the impression that the catch was continuing to increase came from all the reporting of catches from the Peoples Republic of China. So this is some of the work that we've been doing.
But Dr Pauly is remembered for a few more things:
DP: We've constructed a series of interlocking databases where the first condition for something to be caught is that it is within the geographical range of that species. So if you catch, say, a ton of herring, it has to come from within the area inhabited by a herring. Second, if it is reported from within the exclusive economic zone of a country it has to be reported by a country that has access to that exclusive economic zone. That is usually the adjacent country or a country that has permission to fish in the water of that other country. And so we have assembled a huge database of the distribution of all the fish caught in the world and a database of all the access agreements that exist in the world between countries. And this way we can identify the overlap area between where a country may fish and where it can encounter a certain fish. And this is at the basis of our Ecopath maps.

DP: Essentially, fishing down marine food webs consists of overexploiting the larger fish that feed on top of the food web, on top of the food chain. And these fish, say tuna, cod, the large halibut and so on, they regulate the marine food webs because they sit on top of them. So once they are removed, these fish are very fragile in terms of being overfished because they're long lived, and they're very easy to, they don't replace themselves very fast. So if you fish them very strongly, then they collapse. And then we have turned to the prey fish of these top predators, and we're now catching the fish that were being eaten by these top predators. Also, we're catching animals that are even lower in the food chain. And so we are moving from large, slow growing, long lived fish, to smaller, faster growing fish that are lower in the food chain. And this process of going down the food web, it would say is a good thing because it provides substitutes for what we have lost. But at the end of this development we will have ended up eating jellyfish, catching jellyfish. In fact it is happening already.

The main problem with computer simulations or models, is that they can never be proved to be right. Even when they can be tuned to agree with an actual situation, it simply does not prove that the same settings (parameters) will agree with the next real situation. So, for models to be valuable, they must be based on true relationships and true parameters, which require actual in-the-water measurements and tested relationships. It is here that the knowledge of the environment (ecology) fails. DP's statement that the predators regulate the prey, gives the problem away, since this has not at all been agreed on as an ecological principle. YES, predators have an effect on prey, but NO, they don't control it. Their lives are driven by the principle of finding enough food to pay for looking for it (energy balance), and like fishermen, they are ruled by optimal catch efficiency (see the economics of exploitation in Resource Management).
The next problem is DP's (and other protagonists') frequent use of words like collapse, devastate, extirpate, extinct and extinguish. But the fact is that no fish has yet become extinct from fishing or overfishing. A fishing collapse cannot be defined scientifically. Stocks just diminish until no longer of economical value, although this can happen suddenly due to the combined effects of increasing fishing capacity and dwindling stocks. There exists no scientific measure of collapse. Note that he mentions current stocks of overfished species at 16% of unexploited biomass, which is nothing to panic about, even if not desirable.
The next problem DP is continually creating is that he wishes to draw a value judgment from fishing down the food chain. Sometimes it is good, in other instances it is bad. It is good because the biomass of prey fish is very much larger than their predators and they reproduce faster as well. It is also good because it gives us something else to fish. However it is bad because it suppresses the populations of predators, which can also be good because that leaves more fish for us. Low quality 'bait' fish is now caught to feed pigs and poultry which have a high conversion factor (growing fast for little food), higher than that of top predators, so this is good.
Eating jellyfish is a metaphor created by DP. It could be taken symbolically, but the way he uses it, is literally. The metaphor is silly because jellyfish have practically no food value, and catching them would fill a ship with 'snot' of no intrinsic value. Will it ever come this far? NO. In the end, the driving force behind fishing is economics. If it makes money, we'll do it. Fishing does not exist on its own in this world, but suffers heavy competition from meat, poultry, aquaculture and mariculture (marine farming). People will not eat krill or plankton if chickens are available. The fact that some people eat jellyfish, is entirely from free will (and strange beliefs). But it is true that jellyfish are on the rise, not because of overfishing but because of a deteriorating quality of the seawater.
DP: Most of the fish catch, about 90% of the global fish catch, comes from the shallow waters, within 60 feet around the continent. And these so-called "shelves" are completely, devastatingly overfished throughout the world. The biomass, that is the amount of fish that is left there, is about 1/10 or less than what it was 50 years ago. In most cases the devastation is mind boggling. And the figure I was citing before, for the top predators, they are conservative estimates. In fact, in various places, you have 5% of what there was before. For various species, cod for example in New England, is about 2 or 3 or 4% of what they were before. They have very small numbers that are left. And so you have to imagine that these shelf areas, shallow areas just off the continent, are now the equivalent of clear-cut forest. That's the equivalent. That's what we have done to the shelf systems around the world. This is in effect much stronger, this effect of fishing, than say the effect of pollution, which people think is the major impact that we are having on the ocean. Actually, this is much stronger.
Let's make no mistake about levels of overfishing experienced elsewhere in the world, even in well managed fisheries - it is not like our QMS-managed (Quota Management System) stocks, although even here catches and stocks need to be adjusted further. But the fact is also that wherever fishing is stopped, stocks recover surprisingly quickly, in as little as 2-5 years! But old predators need much more time to recover. Their problem is that they are too big to slip through nets. So, what is so mind boggling about this? On land we have destroyed nearly all the fat lands, leaving only marginal lands to nature parks, and these will not regenerate ever.
difference between fishing and pollutionThe case of cod is clear and the St Georges Bank after a decade of closure has recovered well. DP's use of the metaphor of clear-cut forest is unfortunate and inaccurate. Forests are old primary producers (like phytoplankton) that grow very old (unlike phytoplankton). It is not unusual for trees to grow several centuries old. A forest contains a library of other primary producers that all support myriad animals and it develops together with its soil, which can take thousands of years. Unlike the sea, a forest has an enormous investment. More importantly, clearcutting a forest is cutting an ecosystem it at its very base, which is NOT AT ALL like clearcutting top predators at the tiny apex (top) of the ecosystem. DP should have known this. The diagram on right shows how pollution does what DP says, cutting the marine ecosystem at its very base, which is much worse than fishing can ever be.
Finally, it is unforgivable how he rejects pollution, even though it IS now the primary threat to the sea. The fact that scientists fail to look at it, is not good enough a reason, but more importantly, WHERE IS THE PROOF of what DP asserts? Fishermen all around the USA claim that over 70% of the shelf has become unusable for fishing and scientists say that over 40% has degraded beyond economical use. Furthermore, large deadzones exist now where no life can exist. Here is an observation from one of DP's colleagues:
The Scripps Institution's Jackson, for example, has documented the nearly complete disappearance of the ecosystem on which he built his career -- studying the coral reefs of Jamaica, about which he says:
Virtually nothing remains of the vibrant, diverse coral reef communities I helped describe in the 1970s. Between overfishing, coastal development, and coral bleaching, the ecosystem has been degraded into mounds of dead corals covered by algae in murky water.
Jackson, J.B.C. 1997. "Reefs since Columbus." Coral Reefs 16(suppl.):S23-S32.
Was this caused by fishing? The Seafriends web site has extensively documented ecosystem degradation as the number one problem in our coastal seas and everywhere else in the world's coastal seas. When will scientists listen?
DP: There's two effects. One is simply the removal of fish by fishing, whether it's environmentally friendly fishing or not. Simply the fact that we remove fish. If we remove fish, then it has an effect on the ecosystems. The other one is the habitat modification. When we use bottom trawlers, we drag big, heavy nets on the ground. These trawl nets, they have chains, they have big wheels. In fact there's legislation on the way now in the House of Representatives (Canada) to abolish, or limit the size of those wheels. These big wheels and these chains that are meant to stir up the ground to dislodge the fish that are trying to hide at the bottom, they destroy everything that grows on the bottom that attaches itself to the bottom. And they turn rock, diversified habitat that is good for the fish into big, giant mud baths, mud flats. And very few animals can live in these mud flats, or sandy flats. Very little life can actually be maintained there. So the habitat modification by the fishing, especially bottom fishing, dredging, etc is the next big problem.
.... Trawlers trailing dredges the size of football fields have literally  scraped the bottom clean, harvesting an entire ecosystem -- including supporting  substrates such as sponges -- along with the catch of the day. Farther up the water  column, longlines and drift nets are snagging the last sharks, swordfish and tuna.
This kind of dramatic purple prose goes down very well with the ignorant public, but let's check it out. In nature there exist no unexploited populations. Fishing by predators all along the food chain is daily fare. Humans are just one more in the trough. One must assume that it has an effect, but when fished in a sustainable way, is that bad? DP again tries to derive value judgment from an effect that cannot achieve this scientifically. But let's look at some practical examples where fishing by people is beneficial to the ecosystem. One is where people judiciously remove shellfish from shellfish beds. It causes the remaining shellfish to grow bigger faster (cockles, mussels, scallops). Likewise, judicious fishing can be beneficial, although it does have an effect.
The account of trawling must be a hoot for those who actually do it. Fishermen balance their techniques between catching too much of unwanted species and letting too many wanted ones go. It is called targeting. The kind of gear used is likewise adapted to the kind of catch targeted. One cannot compare shrimp trawling with oyster dredging, scallop raking, shallow trawling, mid water trawling or deep water trawling. One cannot lump them all together, like some scientific papers have done, and Pauly repeatedly does. Some trawling methods do not even touch the bottom. Others only slide over it. Wheels are used to prevent damage caused by sleds and otterboards. Tickle chains are used in some fisheries, but are not altogether common. It only takes one to go down and look at the perceived damage caused, to be convinced that this does not compromise the functionality of the sea soil. Habitat damage from trawling is a widely spread myth, although nets do remove some organisms that simply do not belong on sandy and muddy bottoms. Furthermore, the sandy and muddy habitats of the continental shelves are frequently stirred wholesale during large storms and they do not suffer from this because all inhabitants are very mobile. To make DP's statement worse still, the monotonous sandy and muddy bottoms have proved to be far more productive than rocks can ever be, due to the nature of the sea soil with its tremendous capacity of consuming and converting detritus and dead plant and animal matter. Rocks don't do this. The assertion that very little life can be maintained on sandy and muddy bottom is false, as is the assertion that habitat modification by bottom fishing is the next big problem. Where is the proof? It isn't there!
That tickle chains turn rock into mud baths is sheer fantasy. Fishermen avoid rocks where they can for fear of snagging and tearing their costly gear. It only takes a few dives to confirm this. But it is unavoidable that collateral damage has occurred already since the early beginnings of bottom trawling (since cheap fossil fuel). When DP talks of mud, he must realise that it originates from the land. Indeed, in recent times, the land has sent torrents of mud baths into the sea.
DP: . . industrial fisheries, they are not economically or ecologically very efficient, in terms of pure consumption, etc. And really what keeps them going is subsidies that the public is paying, that the taxpayer is contributing. In the North Atlantic, for example, the fisheries, mainly the industrial fisheries, get about 2.5 billion dollars every year from North America, that is the U.S. and Canada, and the European countries. Canada supports small scale fisheries with the U.S. supports almost all its fisheries and Europe as well. So that is a very bad thing, because the taxpayer who would like to see the sea protected is in fact subsidizing its destruction.. .  Less boats would benefit the ecosystem immensely. It would benefit the stocks, and it would benefit the consumers, actually, because if we had less fishing, we would have more. This is something that most people cannot get in their heads, that fisheries if they are overfished you can rehabilitate them by fishing less. And then you catch more by fishing less. So that's one thing. Abolish the subsidies that are awarded to the fisheries, industrial fishing industry.
Institutionalised people often have something against industry and enterprise, supported by too simple an idea of how the real world works. Subsidies have been blamed for most of the ills in fishing, so they should be stopped, which is easy to do and it saves taxpayers' money, or does it? Had DP studied the situation, he would have known that there are many contributing factors as this diagram illustrates from the chapter on Resource Management. It mentions several contributing factors that are much larger than subsidies alone, so blaming subsidies alone distorts our options. It is true that subsidies have often led to overfishing, but it has also encouraged larger boats to go further out to discover new stocks, thereby relieving the pressure on old stocks. Worst-case scientific estimates rate subsidies as no more than 20% of the price of fish.
It is true that by leaving more fish in the sea, we can still catch as much as we do today but more easily and less costly and more environmentally friendly. However, to achieve this first of all the race for fish must be stopped by a proper allocation system before the fish is caught. Removal of subsidies would not do this, and would therefore not help. One cannot take away the subsidies of the past or think that this would help the present.
DP: The other thing is to create Marine Protected Areas, zoned areas where only certain fishing practice is allowed and would have at their core, areas where you cannot fish at all. That is, marine reserves. These marine reserves would enable the stocks to replenish themselves, and especially these old fish to rebuild their biomass. And, in the process, when the big, large females would produce the eggs and the larvae which are exported out of the main reserves and would support the fisheries themselves. Because right now we're losing these large females that maintain the fisheries through their young. So these marine reserves would be an important thing. And we don't have any to speak of in the North Atlantic, in the North Pacific; we don't have any to speak of.
Out of the blue comes the need for MPAs, but where is the scientific proof of this need? It comes, again, from computer models that cannot agree with one another, while claiming between 10 and 90% of the sea in MPAs (see Target sizes for marine reserves). It would be more productive if these models, riddled with unproven assumptions, studied what could be achieved with property-allocated fisheries management such as our QMS, which works for all areas, all habitats and all species. It would also work for the North Pacific.
Then comes the fallacy of eggs and larvae spilling out of marine reserves and these becoming breeding sanctuaries. Fish spawn mainly to produce food (99.999%) rather than offspring (0.001%). The recruits (babies) of most fish species bear no relationship to the number of mothers or eggs. Beautiful ideas for which proof is lacking. But marine reserves where they work (in clean water), would help to maintain isolated populations of old predators. The question remains: is this what we want marine reserves to do? How large should viable populations of predators be, and where? Haven't terrestrial predators like lions and tigers shown their new place in modern society?
The main problem with coastal marine reserves, however, is that the threat from degradation is not removed, so they will lose both quality (diversity) and quantity of life, degrading year after year without an end in sight. They are unsustainable. Because of this they will not produce the eggs and larvae we expect them to produce. The world has many coastal marine reserve, but none have proved to become healthier, as is also borne out by the reefs in Florida, all the coastal seas around the USA, the Great Barrier Reef and all coastal marine reserves in New Zealand. Scientists only need to look in order to confirm this! Do we really want more of these failed reserves, especially since there are better ways to save our seas?
DP: If we're fishing down the food web, we are not catching the kinds of things that we really want. We end up with organisms that only some people can like. Jellyfish consume zooplankton. And some people eat jellyfish. But it's not the kind of thing (at least in the west)  people like to eat. But as we remove the fish, the good quality fish from the sea, this is what we end up, what we're left with.
The reality is somewhat different. Fishermen have always caught some (sometimes as much as 80%) of what they don't want, and it is tossed overboard as discards. Therefore it does not show up in fishery statistics. So when the statistics say that they fished at Trophic Level 4.0 (TL 4), they also fished at trophic level 3.0  to an average in between. Fishermen keep only what is sold, or economic. Over the years, the situation has changed in the sense that bait fish of TL 3 is now needed to feed pigs, poultry and salmon, so it is not discarded but landed, resulting in TL going down in fishery statistics. So what?
Again, DP attempts to draw a value judgment from trophic levels, but the reality is that people like many of the low-TL species like mussels, scallops, shrimps, sea cucumbers and even jellyfish.
What makes a fish good quality? Is that a scientific measure or one of human preference? Is it large fish with a good taste, yielding large fillets, while being cheap and bountiful? Why is what we end up with, worse? Where is the scientific proof? Can it be proved scientifically?
DP: We have to reduce fishing effort massively, and we have to set up large areas where there is no fishing. There's no way of getting around that.
Indeed, we need fish stocks to recover somewhat, which means a temporary cut-back in fishing effort where it is needed, after which the recovered stocks will provide more than we get at present - not less. The conclusion that large no-fishing areas are unavoidable comes up time and again, but DP does not provide a scientific reason, neither does he consider the better alternatives of controlled fishing effort by stock allocation before the fish is caught. But read on where he gets his idea from:
DP: The sustainability of fisheries, historically, is largely a matter having no access to the bulk of an exploited population. Fisheries persisted when most of the targeted fishes were in deep, offshore waters, or in areas adjacent to lands with low human populations. Thus, fisheries earlier had large, no-take marine reserves.
Oops. Here is a scientist, who is supposed to know about marine ecology, making a big slip. Fish in deep offshore water are not the same species as those over the shallow continental shelf. There are not even overlapping species. Deepwater stocks are just different stocks without any connection to shallow water stocks. They do not provide a reserve for shallow water stocks!
Modern fishing technology relies on methods that originated with submarine tracking and other forms of warfare (acoustic fish finders, radar), and preservation technology (artificial ice, blast freezing) which immensely expanded the reach of distant water fleets. Combining this with Cold War technology (geo-positioning systems, detailed, real-time maps of oceanographic features, detailed maps of the sea bottom), fishing vessels now can and indeed will catch, unless restrained, the last fish concentration in the world ocean.
Techniques of propaganda? Science also relies on warfare, cold war and preservation technologies. But it is true that technologies have given Man an unfair advantage over natural predators to such an extent that fish stocks can be fished down below what is naturally possible.
Marine reserves are thus not 'new,' not a new invention of arm chair ecologists, designed to torment hardworking, over-regulating fishers. Rather, they would only re-establish the natural structures which have enabled earlier fisheries to maintain themselves for centuries.
False. Marine reserves are precisely inventions of arm chair ecologists who have little practical experience with the sea or with the act of fishing. Marine reserves are not natural but artificial enclaves and they do not fix the problems with the sea. They do not fix our methods and they do not protect against other threats like land-based pollution and global warming. They do not even work! The ones that exist, are all losing quality and quantity of life while degrading their habitats. Only marine scientists like DP fail to see this.
Getting this message across to a wide public is urgent, given the hardening stance of the fishing industry against marine reserve, and the fact that presently, they cover an infinitesimally small fraction of the world ocean.
It is not a question of how many and how large, but whether they work and whether they are the best solution. Armchair ecologists and greenies fail to take the cost to present and future generations into account and the fact that fisheries recover relatively quickly. Furthermore there exists no urgency in countries that have good control over their fisheries and where the threat from fishing is diminishig while at the same time the threat from land-based pollution is increasing. But it is true that fishing effort needs to be controlled world-wide by stopping the race for fish, which is not the same as having marine reserves!
DP: The opposition is a fishing industry that loves this subsidy money and loves to continue to do what it does. There is no doubt about it. When a group of fishers have over-fished a place, it's very difficult for them to accept that they have to quit. It's like a bunch of loggers, there is a forest there, and they have to cut it down. Then they would like you to support them to do the same thing to the next forest. Or they would like you to pay them money because there's no more trees to cut. I mean, it is absurd, but that's what we do.
This statement is so naive that we must stamp it as rubbish. Fishermen wager all they have and their lives to make a living by catching fish. There are some good years but also bad years. For some it is a way of life, for others a love of the sea, yet others are trapped into a family business or it's all they can and all they know. Quitting and losing all is not an option. Nowhere on Earth is competition as relentless as on the sea. The fish is yours only after it is caught! What they need more than anyone else is some degree of order, an end to an insane race for fish: if I don't catch it, someone else will! Fishermen are also driven by society's insatiable appetite for high quality protein rich food. Like all of us in society, they go where the pay is. They supply what society needs.
Compare the fisherman's life for instance with the cushioned, secure and institutional life of marine ecologists like DP who are often unaware of the hand that feeds. Does he eat fish? Does his house use timber?
DP: The world catch as it is now, is not sustainable because it's composed of the sum of a large number of fisheries which themselves are not sustainable. Right now we have established that there is a downward trend in the world catch. I think that it will continue, that downward trend, unless we make the individual fisheries -- of which the catch is composed, sustainable. In order to make it sustainable we have to reduce the fishing effort that is deployed in each of them. We have to create areas where the stocks can replenish themselves, and these are marine reserves. There's no getting around it. We cannot avoid global warming if we continue to produce so much carbon dioxide. There's no way of getting around it.
World catch 1976-1993Oops, two non-sequiturs (does-not-follow). From his modelling studies, DP has found out that the world catch is diminishing rather than increasing, as it seemed by inflated figures from China. However, before these figures were added to the world catch, it was already stagnating, so this is no news (see diagram). Furthermore, most of the world's fisheries are either above or at maximum sustainable levels (fully exploited). To call these over-exploited is but a sleight-of-hand. But it is true that fish stock should be allowed to increase, for which various options exist, from reduced catches to temporary closures. Also the race for fish must be stopped.
DP makes much ado of the over-fished North Atlantic and Canada's St Georges Bank without distinguishing that there are two distinct fisheries operating there. One is outside bordering countries' EEZ, an unregulated free-for-all, and the other is within EEZ's (and there is some piracy). The point is that Canada's fishery within its EEZ was well monitored and managed, yet it collapsed, even though experts like DP were employed by the Canadian Government! Where was DP to prevent it from collapsing, one may ask? Where can we find his written pleas, advice, papers, talks? They are not there!
The last non-sequitur draws the fear of global warming into the argument, but the analogy fails. Could one say that we depend on captured fish as much as we depend on fossil fuel? Does fossil fuel replenish itself like fish stocks do? There is only one option to produce less CO2: use less fossil fuel. But for saving the world's fisheries we have many options, of which marine reserves are least effective, which has also been proved! Besides, marine reserves won't work where pollution is found.
It is also quite telling that DP believes in the CO2-global-warming myth as an unavoidable and certain consequence. It is a mistake made by many scientists, as is borne out by recent studies. It is fraudulent.
The big lie
Daniel Pauly is not alone in his uncritically false statements, and is openly supported by the likes of Jane Lubchenko and Jeremy Jackson. One of the big lies that these people propagate is the claimed effect of trawling on deep coral reefs. In order to give proof to such claims, they show the following before and after pictures under the heading 'Deep coral reefs before and after trawling'. This picture was taken from Jeremy Jackson's Brave New Ocean lecture for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute but it is also frequently used by Daniel Pauly.

Deep coral reefs before and after trawling

One does not be a trained underwater observer to notice that the two images are not at all related. On left a vertical rock wall with fish passing by and on the rock some deep water (scleractinian?) coral trees and perhaps some pink bryozoan colonies. It is striking that most of the rock face is bare and covered in sediment. It is not a happy place. On right a clean 'sandy' bottom consisting of coral fragments (coralline algae and bryozoans), such as found at the foot of a sheltered rock wall, where strong currents dominate. This type of sea floor belongs to shallow, sheltered places with strong currents nearby, and is not at all typical of any deep water environment. Just wonder for one moment why the whole scientific community has uncritically accepted these images without questioning their basic dissimilarity. Why do scientists lower themselves to such dishonesty? Please note that we do not dispute the observed fact that bottom trawling on sensitive deep habitat does remove epifauna, but when using photos one must be strictly honest. For instance the lefthand photo also shows that there is much empty territory as well, and the corals may just have been dislodged and swept in a heap. Had the image been moved slightly up, it would have shown an empty gravel bottom. What scientists often also overlook is that most epifauna on sandy and gravel bottoms, consists of fast growing opportunistic species like sponges, tubeworms, bryozoa and seasquirts, none predated upon.
[P.S. we believe that the photo on left is from Jeff's Reef in the Experimental Oculina Research Reserve and that the corals could be a long-lived Oculina species but could also be an invasive short-lived tube worm like Thelepus, and the background a gravel bottom. Photo perhaps taken by R Grant Gilmore]

For more of Dr Pauly's statements, read paulyref.htm (20 pages)

It is rather puzzling why a renowned scientist like Dr Daniel Pauly has lowered himself to such cheap and merely false propaganda. Could it be that he has been institutionalised for too long? Have his long hours behind computer screens, living in the virtual reality of computer models been the cause of his lack of common sense and self-criticism? Is it perhaps he travels too much? Or because he talks too much while listening too little? Or is he entirely out of his depth outside his narrow field of knowledge?
It is equally puzzling why the academic community of scientists is not critical of his public statements. What do they have to lose? What is it that they fear? Or do they suffer from the same symptoms as above?
But for the general public a strong message emerges: be skeptical about what scientists say!