Society on High Seas

 

    It is known that in many areas of the ocean it is sufficient to add small amounts of a few nutrients to stimulate rapid growth of algae and fish stocks. Places where these nutrients are coming into the ocean naturally from the land through rivers, winds, etc. are rich with fish. Since this addition of nutrients could be done using relatively inexpensive and safe chemicals, the idea is simple: systematically “fertilize” a chosen area of poor productivity in the ocean with proper chemicals to create and maintain the bloom of algae and harvest fish.

    The patch of blooming algae would be a “plantation”, one who creates and maintains it would be a “planter”, and fish collected from it would be the “crop”.

Obviously, the “plantation” is moving (it is carried by streams and winds) and a “planter” most likely is a company, and plenty of hired hands would be involved: maintaining algae, fishing, transporting, dressing the fish, managing relationships with fish markets, etc.

 

Association

 

    There are no laws and law enforcement in the ocean, which could protect one’s plantation from outsiders. Hence, the idea has to be implemented not by one planter, but by an association of planters and fishermen. This association would be able to cooperate with international organizations and provide some form of policing to protect its plantations and staff from outsiders.

    When plantations are set on some oceanic gyro, it makes sense to combine all of them in one association for reuse of added nutrients and better management. Such setup would eliminate claims that plantations change balance of nutrients in the ocean in some adverse way. It will be “wild”, “cultivated” and “transitional” areas, like on the land. This is easy to monitor and adjust operations, when some problems are discovered.

    Since algae protect waters of the ocean from heating by the Sun, and reduce temperature of the ocean through evaporation of water, the association presents an enterprise, which should be of great interest to organizations concerned with heating of the planet. With this common interest, international rules and laws protecting such enterprise could be established.

 

Organization

 

Following is an example of how a plantation could be organized.

The planter takes care of nutrients added to the ocean and maintenance of the algae. He hires fishing ships with their crew and assigns areas of the plantation to each ship. For the period of such contract, captains and crews of these ships become temporary members of the Association and the Association is involved in resolution of conflicts and in their protection.

An entire new organization has to be set around this idea to bring it to fruition.

Initial preparation of fish for the market – dressing of the fish, should be done on special ships (“mother ships”) located in the area of plantation close to fishing ships. From those ships fish should be quickly delivered to appropriate markets or customers, after agreements are made over airways. The fish preparation and transport from a fishing ship to a mother ship and from the mother ship to the market should be quick.

The advantage of such setup:

·        keeping fish cutouts in the ocean and fish attracted to the area,

·        having specialized staff to do preparation of fish efficiently.

Transport of fish to mother ships should be done by special transport ships. Transport ships also should move dressed fish from mother ships to the markets or customers. Transport ships should move fast, should load/unload quickly and they should have special equipment to preserve fish during transport, using chilling, for example.

To assure speed of loading and unloading of fish, it is useful to use special containers. One type of containers should be used to transport from ship-to-ship (from fishing ship to mother ship) and the other type to transport ship-to-shore (from mother ship to markets or customers). They should be foldable (on return trip they carry nothing). They should provide support for chilling of fish, for example they should have built-in pipes, through which cold water could be circulated during transport. This water should be chilled by special equipment on each transport ship.

The improvement of quality and quantity of fish reaching the market should command increase of profit sufficient to cover additional cost of this procedure.

 

Governance

 

When a business is tied to a particular location (plantation), and a large number of people playing different roles in it are involved, and there is no established overall social structure with its rules, protections, etc., one has to invent it, otherwise the entire system would not work.

Fishermen have their organization and it should be embedded in organization of Association. Disputes should be resolved based on contracts.

Staff of mother ships and transport ships should be accepted as temporary members of the Association and they should have contracts with captains of these ships. The Association should set requirements for these contracts and disputes should be resolved based on contracts.

Resolution of disputes between captains of the ships should be resolved in usual way. The Association should provide some arbitration mechanism to make dispute resolution less costly.

    Planters elect governing bodies of the Association, which include courts for dispute resolution. These governing bodies set rules for the Association. Disputes are resolved through the courts set by Association.   Only planters elect Association’s government, because they are the only group in the Association, which have permanent material interest in Association’s long term success and mistakes of this government lead to their immediate material losses.

    The Association sets up a small police force with fast boats, which deputizes and arms members of Association, when needed. Since fishermen are temporary members of the Association, the police force supports them, when they have a conflict with outsiders encroaching on their fishing territory.

    The Association should be actively engaged with marine scientists to improve productivity of plantations, enhance surrounding ecosystem and to facilitate dialog with international organizations.

    It also should help ships to cross plantation area. Sometimes it even could provide special ships to tow crossing ships trough the area covered with algae.

 

Alexander Liss 2/27/2019