I was watching a program on PBS the other day about how important apex predators are to the ecology of an area. In the 1930’s they shot the last wolf in Yellowstone. Since then, they’ve been trying to figure out why certain trees haven’t been growing and why the river has been “dying” – eroding away its banks and leaving silt. Turns out because the elk had nothing to run from they were eating the young trees and the willow on the edge of the river that holds the boundaries of the river. Also wolf kills feed dozens of other scavenging species. A few years ago they reintroduced a wolf pack and the system is being rejuvenated – including the return of beavers and all of the benefits that they provide the system.
IT’S NOT ALL YOU WANT TO EAT, IT’S ALL YOU CAN EAT
I went to BC Sushi for all you can eat last night. The food was okay (not nearly as good as Minato by my place) but I saw shark fin soup on the menu and I was somewhat disgusted. I think sharks are pretty amazing. Shark fin soup is a “delicacy” – more like a status symbol. Because it’s expensive, it’s served to impress, for example, wedding guests. Depending on who you go by, many species of sharks (and big fish in general) have lost 80-90% of their numbers in the past 40-50 years. We know so little about our local environments, the sea is an even bigger mystery, but we’re starting to see how the reduction of shark populations is screwing things up. Nevermind that shark fins are pretty tasteless – they add other stock to give the soup its flavour. And nevermind that sharks are full of mercury and are therefore dangerous to eat, thanks to our pollution. So don’t eat shark fin soup. It’s wasteful, pointless, and dangerous to everyone. And I won’t be giving BC Sushi any more of my money.
Even though I don’t eat any fish, I keep Canada’s Seafood Guide [link] in my wallet to inform others about which fish are harvested sustainably and which ones are endangered or are fished in a way that wrecks the ocean.