To no one's surprise, environmentalists and industry lobbyists are butting heads in a major legal wrangle over California's "wetfish"--sardines, anchovies, mackerel, and market squid. As you may recall, the pretty little market squid is the state's single biggest fishery:

Opalescent inshore squid by Joshua Sera

And it's not just humans who like to eat them--they're a major food source for sea lions, seals, seabirds, sharks, etc. According to the Mercury News, Oceana is now suing to "force the federal government to consider impacts on the broader marine ecosystem when setting limits." If Oceana wins, then when the Feds decide how many squid fishermen can catch, they would have to factor in the needs of all the other animals that like to eat squid.

To me, that seems not only fair, but critical to the future of the fishery. What if someday Monterey's iconic sea lion population crashes, and fingers start pointing at the squid fishery for taking food away from those poor baby seals? It's happening in New Zealand, and it ain't pretty.

But in all the rhetoric around this case, it's hard to recognize that the two sides actually want the same thing--a thriving squid fishery. Monterey Mayor Chuck Della Salla, who's supporting the fishing industry's fight against Oceana's suit, told the Mercury, 
Monterey is proud of its fishing heritage. Any harm to the viability of the wetfish fishery harms our culture and heritage as well.
Wouldn't it enhance the fishery's viability to ensure that it doesn't damage on the ecosystem around it--an ecosystem that is a huge part of Monterey's culture, heritage, and tourist appeal?