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jmauricio

Parable of the Clyde - excellent economist article on the perils of overfishing

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This is one of Britain’s biggest environmental disasters of recent times. But it is not widely known. Until 2010, when two marine biologists predicted, on the basis of historic catch data, that the Clyde was about to become Britain’s first “ecological desert”, it was scarcely mentioned in the national press. Even then the Clyde won no political champions... Nor has the devastation sparked public protests such as those against hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”, a technique for producing oil and gas) that forced an energy company called Cuadrilla to stop drilling in Sussex this month.

 

 

Not for want of a warning: in 1981, when I first dived in the Clyde, it was obvious that fishing was damaging the Firth: one fellow PhD student had his research wiped out when scallop-hunters began to "frack" apart the maerl beds that shelter fish fry and crustacean larvae. There is a long, long history of British marine biologists picking up the warning signs of over-fishing, being ignored or ridiculed...

 

... then being proved right.

 

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This is sadly becoming a familiar tale but seldomly told so well. Worth reading beyond those with a local interest.

 

Bart

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