Our Burning Planet


The Lawless Ocean — an unfolding disaster for the love of fried fish

The Lawless Ocean — an unfolding disaster for the love of fried fish
A bloody harvest. (Photo: Oliver Godfrey)

An alien civilisation coming across our solar system would name our planet Ocean, for most of Earth is under water. Being air-breathing and living on the bits that stick out, we mostly regard the vast liquid blue that surrounds us as a beautiful but often scary “other”. Billions of us, however, rely on it for food. This four-part series looks at the relationship between the creatures below the sea’s surface and the people in boats who catch them.

Part One: The Lawless Oceans — forced labour on rust-bucket boats docking at Cape Town harbour

Japanese fishing boats in Cape Town Harbour. (Photo: Don Pinnock)

Part Two: The price of fish & chips: The shark slayers and an unfolding disaster for the love of fried fish

sharks in danger

Most fishing outfits deny catching hammerhead sharks, because they are a protected species. (Photo: Oliver Godfrey)

Part Three: The bureaucratic nightmare: Quota quagmire and the crisis of fishing boats unable to fish 

When fishing was great off the Kalk Bay pier. (Photo: Supplied)

Part Four: Fishing down the food web: Bye-bye big fish, hello jellyfish and don’t talk about conservation

Sardine catch off India.
(Photo: Supplied)

Absa OBP

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