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South Africa’s strange fisheries policies

This set of objectives for South African fishing policy contains a very strange phrase.

(c) Co-manage oyster fishery with other spheres of government and the fishing industry in a manner that recognizes government priorities, strategic objectives of the spheres of government, the interests of fishing industry and most importantly in a manner that would please, praise and glorify that one who provided and gave man the power to rule over the fish (including oysters)

All the fish, including oysters? You mean molluscs are fish too? Those scale and fin-less ocean-dwellers that Leviticus 11:10-12 tells us are an abomination? South African molluscs will no doubt be relieved to hear that they’ve been upgraded – perhaps oysters from your part of the world will be equally blessed in the near future. And instead of managing the industry to do things like make a profit, feed people, or keep the “fish” population sustainable, it’s all about pleasuring Jesus?

I’m not bothered by the inclusion of molluscs in “fish” here: folk taxonomies twist biological taxonomies all the time, and it’s traditional to include anything in the sea, including whales, anemones, sea urchins, and squid, in the category “fish” (see also all the grains that get included in the generic term “corn”).

But specifying that their policies are for the purpose of pleasing, praising, and glorifying a god? I would like to see the metrics they’re using to determine whether their policies are meeting that goal. I think God told me that he really, really loves all molluscs, including oysters, and the only actions that would please him are a complete prohibition on killing and eating them. I’ve even got Biblical support on that one!

At least that simplifies South African fishing policy. Oh, yeah, also God told me that all violators are to be turned into chum and used to help replenish shark stocks.

Comments

  1. says

    and most importantly in a manner that would please, praise and glorify that one who provided and gave man the power to rule over the fish (including oysters)

    Sure, in a manner that changes from time to time, place to place, and person to person. No reason not to base policy on that!

    Oysters aren’t shellfish for nothing, if we’re just talking names.

    Glen Davidson

  2. says

    (see also all the grains that get included in the generic term “corn”).

    This is perfectly correct English; corn means seed, and typically refers to grain seeds. It’s used as a generic term to refer to the most popular local cereal, which in the U.S. is Maize, but in England it’s historically meant wheat usually, and in Scotland, barley.

  3. IslandBrewer says

    praise and glorify that one who provided and gave man the power to rule over the fish

    Ah, I think they’re talking about those insecure South African legislators. “All praise us for passing this statute!”

  4. says

    I hope it doesn’t mean “over-fish like hell ’cause the end-times is a-coming”

    Unfortunately, that’s almost always what it means when people start citing god on the topic of natural resources.

  5. Gvlgeologist, FCD says

    richardelguru:

    I hope it doesn’t mean “over-fish like hell ’cause the end-times is a-coming”

    That’s exactly how I interpreted it. In our local paper a few years ago, a letter appeared saying (and this is fairly accurate, as I recall), “If endangered species can’t survive on half the land they used to have, maybe God is calling them home.” These idiots really do believe that they have the right to despoil the planet in any way they want; it’s the will of the lord.

  6. Anthony K says

    and gave man the power to rule over the fish (including oysters)

    The imagery in this line is almost adorable.

    King of the Oysters: “My loyal subjects…”
    Oysters: [Silence]
    KotO: “I beseech thee…”
    Oysters: [Silence]

    But Christianity has a funny notion of ‘rule’ doesn’t it? ‘Rule over’ in this instance means ‘capture, kill, and eat’. So what does it mean that YHWH is supposed to rule over heaven for eternity? A plum contract for the makers of Montreal Christian Spice, that’s what.

    “St. Peter? Foolish child. I am St. Pepper, and these are the Parboil Gates. Peter was eaten millennia ago. I thought Jesus was pretty clear with the whole ‘fishers of men’ and ‘eat of my body, and my blood’ business, but I’m still amazed at how many of you retain a patently ridiculous view of heaven. Wings? Harps? Clouds? Alright, we do serve wings on Wednesdays, but how would you even go about vacuuming mashed potatoes out of a cloud? Tsk, tsk, foolish, silly, tasty child.

    “Now, if you’ll just head off through the chute at left there, Michael will meet you with his flaming sword and we’ll get you slaughtered and dressed for dinner. Here: put this in your mouth. What? It’s an apple. Just what did you think the snake was warning you about?”

  7. says

    This is perfectly correct English; corn means seed, and typically refers to grain seeds.

    Well, yes, but “corn” at least used to mean something more like “particle” or “grain,” as in “grain of salt.”

    That’s why we can get “corns” on our feet, and might have a sandwich of “corned beef” (made with corns of salt).

    Glen Davidson

  8. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Gvlgeologist

    These idiots really do believe that they have the right to despoil the planet in any way they want; it’s the will of the lord.

    Yep. Genesis 1:28.

    And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

    [Emphasis mine]

    Fucking Bible. You can justify any sort of fuckwittery with that damned book.

  9. Gregory Greenwood says

    And instead of managing the industry to do things like make a profit, feed people, or keep the “fish” population sustainable, it’s all about pleasuring Jesus?

    Pleasuring Jesus… with an oyster…?

    That just has to be animal cruelty.

    ————————————————————————————————————————-

    Anthony K @ 7;

    But Christianity has a funny notion of ‘rule’ doesn’t it? ‘Rule over’ in this instance means ‘capture, kill, and eat’. So what does it mean that YHWH is supposed to rule over heaven for eternity? A plum contract for the makers of Montreal Christian Spice, that’s what.

    “St. Peter? Foolish child. I am St. Pepper, and these are the Parboil Gates. Peter was eaten millennia ago. I thought Jesus was pretty clear with the whole ‘fishers of men’ and ‘eat of my body, and my blood’ business, but I’m still amazed at how many of you retain a patently ridiculous view of heaven. Wings? Harps? Clouds? Alright, we do serve wings on Wednesdays, but how would you even go about vacuuming mashed potatoes out of a cloud? Tsk, tsk, foolish, silly, tasty child.

    “Now, if you’ll just head off through the chute at left there, Michael will meet you with his flaming sword and we’ll get you slaughtered and dressed for dinner. Here: put this in your mouth. What? It’s an apple. Just what did you think the snake was warning you about?”

    I believe this sniny new internet is yours…

    Now I am imagining Cthulhu, having long since disposed of that upstart Yahweh fellow, trying to fit a humanoid Peter mask over his face tentacles, and hastily spitting out the last of the angel feathers left over from the Kentucky fried seraphim he had for lunch, before the next bunch of gullible and oh-so succulant good little christians arrive…

  10. Pteryxx says

    And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

    Maybe God was actually talking to the influenza virus, and the two humans just happened to be in the way.

  11. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Anthony K

    It’s not fair to win the thread within the first ten comments.

  12. Anthony K says

    It’s not fair to win the thread within the first ten comments.

    Oh, I’m just the warm-up act.

    Now I am imagining Cthulhu, having long since disposed of that upstart Yahweh fellow, trying to fit a humanoid Peter mask over his face tentacles, and hastily spitting out the last of the angel feathers left over from the Kentucky fried seraphim he had for lunch, before the next bunch of gullible and oh-so succulant good little christians arrive…

    ‘Western’ theology: It’s cannibals all the way down.

    Maybe God was actually talking to the influenza virus, and the two humans just happened to be in the way.

    Huh. I’d thought ‘Eve’s dropping’ had a totally different etymology.

  13. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Pretty lulzy relic of the time when we had a state religion, I guess. I lol’d, it’s just so ridiculously put.

  14. ChasCPeterson says

    “I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
    “I deeply sympathize.”
    With sobs and tears he sorted out
    Those of the largest size,
    Holding his pocket-handkerchief
    Before his streaming eyes.

    “O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
    “You’ve had a pleasant run!
    Shall we be trotting home again?’
    But answer came there none–
    And this was scarcely odd, because
    They’d eaten every one.

  15. evilDoug says

    I think that the South African government must broaden their philosophy of oysters, and heed the words of Charles D., via his prophet Alice:

    “I like the Walrus best,” said Alice, “because you see he was a little sorry for the poor oysters.”
    “He ate more than the Carpenter, though,” said Tweedledee. “You see he held his handkerchief in front, so that the Carpenter couldn’t count how many he took: contrariwise.”
    “That was mean!” Alice said indignantly. “Then I like the Carpenter best—if he didn’t eat so many as the Walrus.”
    “But he ate as many as he could get,” said Tweedledum.
    This was a puzzler. After a pause, Alice began, “Well! They were both very unpleasant characters—”

    One might be forgiven for adopting a low opinion of carpenters.

  16. says

    The original meaning of “corn,” which is still standard in most of the English speaking world, is “grain,” generically. Only in the United States does is “corn” used to refer specifically to the plant which elsewhere is called “maize.” So no, that’s not folk taxonomy, it’s just proper English. In fact the scientific term for the New World plant is indeed maize, not corn. (An earlier commenter pointed this out sorta kinda but I’m clarifying.)

    And of course “starfish” and “shellfish” are standard English as well. This does not suggest that people don’t know the difference between molluscs, echinoderms, and vertebrates. Vernacular language is not the same as scientific language.

  17. johnharshman says

    I think it means that fisheries should be managed, whenever possible, for the benefit of beetles, because God has an inordinate fondness for them. Sure, he loves oysters, but beetles are his special pets. And nematodes.

  18. David Marjanović says

    Yep. Genesis 1:28.

    Huh. Instead of “subdue”, German translations have what amounts to “make it your subject”… not necessarily implying violence.

    I’m also told that for the “rule” part, the original Hebrew has a word that specifically means “rule like a good king”, not some kind of tyrant.

    Maybe God was actually talking to the influenza virus, and the two humans just happened to be in the way.

    Then they still have a long way to go – can they infect anything other than birds and mammals?

    ‘Western’ theology: It’s cannibals all the way down.

    Good observation, and not all that surprising given, uh, certain Celtic sacrifices.

    Huh. I’d thought ‘Eve’s dropping’ had a totally different etymology.

    + 1

    The original meaning of “corn,” which is still standard in most of the English speaking world, is “grain,” generically.

    And not just English! German Korn has a similar range of meanings.

    Only in the United States does is “corn” used to refer specifically to the plant which elsewhere is called “maize.”

    Historically, it’s short for “Indian corn”.

    Similarly, the Chinese for “maize” translates as “jade rice”.

    In fact the scientific term for the New World plant is indeed maize, not corn.

    Well, the scientific term is Zea mays

  19. robro says

    Perhaps they want to change the symbol of Jesus from that fishy Ichthys to a bivalve mollusk.

  20. wpjoe says

    “South African molluscs will no doubt be relieved to hear that they’ve been upgraded…” [to fishes].
    Don’t know why that is considered an upgrade.

  21. Rich Woods says

    @David Marjanović #21:

    I’m also told that for the “rule” part, the original Hebrew has a word that specifically means “rule like a good king”, not some kind of tyrant.

    So ‘manage’ would be a fair translation? Not that that would stop the True Believers from strip-mining everything in sight, but still.

  22. evilDoug says

    Huh. Instead of “subdue”, German translations have what amounts to “make it your subject”… not necessarily implying violence.

    But in the context of the time of writing does not making something your subject imply impunity to do with that subject what you will?

    Any god with a shred of competence would have provided unambiguous lexicons and guides to interpretation for all major languages that would arise at any point in the future where discontinuity of full and precise comprehension of the original texts would happen. Of course that might have snuffed the religion of such a god entirely, since religious “scholars” would be have little utility.

    I’m also told that for the “rule” part, the original Hebrew has a word that specifically means “rule like a good king”, not some kind of tyrant.

    Uh huh. Maybe, but it sounds like a bit of a “convenient” interpretation.

  23. says

    Referring to shellfish and other commercially or recreationally harvested invertebrate species as ‘fish’ is commonplace within the context of fisheries management. It’s the exploitation of a wild population in either case and the management approach is similar enough to fall under the same jurisdiction. Thus whenever the ‘Department of Fisheries” makes a mission statement or publishes an over-arching plan, ‘fish’ refers to all industrially hunted aquatic species, irrespective of taxonomy. Sometimes it even includes frogs (and, I imagine, whales and other mammals, where these are hunted).

    Referring to shellfish and other commercially or recreationally harvested invertebrate species as gifts from God is not commonplace at all.

  24. stevem says

    Any god with a shred of competence would have provided unambiguous lexicons and guides to interpretation for all major languages that would arise at any point in the future where discontinuity of full and precise comprehension of the original texts would happen.

    But wasn’t that His intent with the curse of Babel? That humans would be so confused by all the different languages, they could never accomplish anything?
    Gee, that ‘Babble’ is one confusing book. {Etymologists; is that where the word ‘babble’ comes from?}

  25. ambulocetacean says

    Um… if they want to get all biblical about oysters, they might want to double check:
    .
    “Whatever does not have fins and scales you shall not eat; it is unclean for you”
    The Jebus Good Food Guide, 14:10

  26. Mr_V says

    This is actually not that hard to explain: It’s a holdover from pre-1994 Apartheid-era laws that’s still on the books.

    The Apartheid state was constitutionally Christian; there was no official separation of church and state. The teaching of evolution was taboo in schools, &c., &c. (I’m sure I don’t have to explain to the commenters on this blog how much easier it is to institutionalise discrimination on a vast scale if you have God on your side!) The Apartheid State was pretty much everything my reality-based American friends fear their country might be turning into.

    When we started afresh in 1994, we wiped the slate clean and wrote a brand-new, modern constitution that ensures equal treatment for all regardless of race, creed or sexuality. (Yes, we have the latter written into our constitution while most Western countries do not!) However, the country remained a functioning entity throughout this peaceful revolution, and hence the vast body of law wasn’t thrown out entirely, but was adapted over time to fit the new constitutional ideals. I’m sure there are still many workaday, administrative laws and other official documents on the books that date from the Apartheid years, and this fisheries policy sounds like it might be one of them.

  27. says

    @Mr_V in #31 – no, it’s no legacy. It’s fresh policy, drafted in the last few months. But Fisheries have assured me that it’s already been stripped out of the draft, so we can all move on to the next thing.