Artist StatementMy painting is a projection into what we stand to lose if we don't address our attitudes towards sea life and its conservation. It's not an easy thing, there are many complex parts to the equation, especially in the commercial fishing area. And it is a global thing too - so even if you'd like to think that our country, our industry, and our people are doing their bit, how does that stack up in a global context? Can we take a step further and influence sustainable practices beyond our territories? After all, the ecosystem doesn't follow our thinking of territories, boundaries, and exclusive economic zones. As a projection, my mural acknowledges three different groups of people. First, it recognizes the role of mana whenua/kaitiaki (owners and guardians of the land) as valuable consultants on respecting and managing our fish - they are there to teach and to lead. From generations of wisdom, experience and understanding can contribute significantly to our fishing practice as a whole. Next, it acknowledges the role of the commercial fishing industry and the market it provides with seafood. The New Zealander's love of fish as part of their diet means that there is considerable potential in influencing commercial activity. Lastly, my piece acknowledges the role of the fisher who is out there for the same reasons as myself. All three parties stand to lose should we not think deeply into our fishing practices – for, in a worst case scenario that isn't at all fantasy, there will be nothing to teach, nothing to buy, and nothing to catch.
If you do eat seafood (marine life), you can be a responsible consumer by:
- Choosing to eat species that are lower on the foodchain. Think sardines over tuna.
- Refer to consumer guides such as Seafood Watch and only eat species that are considered sustainable.
- Look out for catch harvested using non-commercial, more sustainable fishing methods such as spearfishing and pole-and-line.