Saturday, August 18, 2007

Callum Roberts: This is no "Requiem for the Sea"


There was a time not long ago, in the waters off Nova Scotia, when fishermen were catching bluefin tuna bigger than moose. As recently as the 1950s, it was commonplace for sports fishermen to return from a day's fishing off Key West, Florida, with goliath groupers weighing more than 200 kilograms.

Turn the clock back a few more years, and one finds nine-kilogram lobsters in the Gulf of Maine, the waters of the Caribbean were writhing with millions of sea turtles, and mariners sailed in seas where the air was heavy and pungent with the breath of whales. Porpoises in British waters were so numerous, Irish novelist Oliver Goldsmith observed, that they were routinely found in the Thames River upstream of London.

On it goes like this, in Callum Roberts' The Unnatural History of The Sea. But cheer up. There's a way to restore something of the productivity and majesty of the seas, and Roberts explains it well. My review is in today's Globe and Mail, here.

3 Comments:

Blogger Blazing Cat Fur said...

Marine reserves sound like a great idea, even a saleable one. Enforcement will be a huge issue.

1:23 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

I've never been a huge fan of marine reserves - not as a bunch of little marine parks, anyway. But a series of large, interconnected harvest-refugia in a system designed to contribute to fishing - that I like. It won't help with some species, mind you. And for others, marine reserves are not what's needed. But for dozens of species, and dozens of fisheries - Roberts is onto something.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Laban said...

If you get a chance read "Seven-Tenths - the Sea and its margins" by James Hamilton Paterson. Best book about the sea I've read.

1:54 PM  

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