Wade is a well-known identify amongst wildlife tv viewers: the biologist, writer and tv host has had a display presence for 35 years, a big a part of which he spent hauling up creatures little-known, unheard-of, or much-feared out of untamed waters all over the world, from shallow jungle rivers of Tasmania and deep lakes of Ireland, to mountain rivers of India. In the method, he would do extra than simply clarify the physics of a sea creature’s physique construction: the way it swims, hunts, defends itself. He usually highlighted native conservation efforts, make clear business fishing in addition to non-fishing communities, and introduced to fore on-ground points… all with the added drama of impending hurt by the hands of a marine monster.
But the ‘monsters’ are generally victims: of overfishing, damming, and different human actions.
One such sufferer appears to be the majestic king salmon, as Wade explains over a cellphone interview, “Overfishing is a huge problem in the world today. A long time ago, we passed the point where it was realistic to harvest fish from rivers; now, that situation has moved into the oceans as well. Alaska is going to be interesting because they have historically had very rich runs of salmon, of five different species. They have very strict management of this fish. There are a number of different stakeholders, like commercial fishermen, subsistence fishermen, recreational fishermen, and they try to manage it in such a way that keeps the runs of salmon returning to the river.” For years, he says, this has labored fairly nicely, besides in the previous few years when the numbers of king salmon have declined sharply. “What everyone is struggling to understand is, why?” says Wade.
The understanding of the individuals on the bottom is vital, agrees Wade, particularly by way of setting and conservation. “If you look at the situation globally, it’s quite a bad news story. But if you go to specific places, there are examples of local people in particular areas who are reversing the trajectory. Often it comes down to them taking control of their local environment and protecting it,” he factors out.
He provides an instance from an episode of considered one of his earlier collection, Mighty Rivers. “One programme was on the Amazon. There was something very interesting happening there: a concept called extracted reserves. Normally, if you create a reserve, the idea is to tell people to get out and leave Nature alone. In these extracted reserves, the local people are allowed to harvest the fish, but in a sustainable way. They are given help; there is collaboration. The results have been incredible.”
One outcome he talks about is the arapaima, which lives in floodplain lakes that border the Amazon river. “Over several decades, this fish had declined dramatically, almost to a point where it was locally extinct in much of the Amazon. I went to a place where one of these extracted reserves was started: within just 10 years, they have lakes now that are just full of this fish. The community has a very good income now, from managing their local resource.”
Examples are many, from community-level interventions like these, to the wine-making father-son duo in Germany, who reintroduced native tigerfish into the Danube. “It had declined dramatically, and just this one guy and his son are doing something. There are possibilities.”
Jeremy Wade’s Dark Waters premières in India on July 6 at 9 pm on Animal Planet, Animal Planet HD and Discovery Plus app.