Page 10, 4th March 1977

4th March 1977
Page 10
Page 10, 4th March 1977 — Drowning porpoises

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Organisations: federal government
People: Richard Brown
Locations: San Diego


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Drowning porpoises

ECOLOGY is fine, but are porpoises more important than people? The question has been raised by Fr Richard Brown, Si, who has a parish which depends on the tuna fish industry.

Porpoises arc lovable marine mammals with some of the better human traits. Tuna are wide-tailed game fish which rich men in Hawaiian shirts catch from the hack of expensive motor boats while drinking cold beer.

But tuna are also caught by commercial fishermen for putting into hurried sandwiches. In the process of netting tuna, large numbers of porpoises get trapped in the bottom of the nets and get "drowned" because they cannot get Lip for air. Feologists fear that tuna fishermen may make the porpoise extinct.

The difficulty is that the federal government Wants to set the porpoise kill limit at 29,000 a year. The present limit is 58,000, and even that forces some fishermen to lose money. The death of the porpoises is the sad by-product, not the intention, of the fishing industry.

In San Diego. California, Father Brown of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish and other local pastors agree that their parishioners, of Spanish and Portuguese and Mexican origins, who catch and cope with the fish, will suffer grievously if the federal government insists on a limit of 29.000 to the animals killed to a year.

It is it problem of classic complexity and classical type in the moral courts of ecology.

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