In a startling decision that has fisheries managers world wide scratching their heads, the Marine Stewardship Council in conjunction with the Monterey Bay Aquarium has given a yellow (or "good") rating to the Philippine dynamite reef fishery for blue tang surgeon fish and harlequin tusk fish.
"Dynamite fishing is in many respects more humane than fishing with hook and line." Says MSC Chief Executive Rupert Howe. "With dynamite there's no suffering at all. It's just blam! Lights out."
Howe goes on to say that the MSC approval for dynamite fishing is further evidence of his agency's commitment to supporting the small artisinal fisherman.
"In many cases these guys are out there with home made amonia nitrate bombs. We're hoping that through education and funding we can provide them with proper dynamite, so their fishing activities can be safer, more precise and more productive."
Despite the unanimous decision the MSC has met with spirited resistance from sustainability advocates, biologists, PETA activists and fisheries managers, all of whom claim that blast fisheries are wasteful, impossible to regulate, dangerous and potentially destructive.
Howe argues that such extremist groups tend to polarize the argument and bring little to the table by way of concrete solutions. "Look," he says. "At some point we've all got to compromise, and blast fishing is as good a place as any, to start."
Oh yeah... here are some archived April 1st entries from the not too distant past:
April 1st 2010: Canary Rockfish Opens
April 1st 2011: MSC Approves Narwhal