Magazine article Geographical

Learning Difficult Lessons

Magazine article Geographical

Learning Difficult Lessons

Article excerpt

When I was in high school, I used to go fishing with a mate every couple of weekends in a national park in northern Sydney. At first, we fished off the rocks, but one day we decided to have a go off a small beach and immediately hit paydirt. That first day. we caught several large flathead and whiting--both excellent eating fish.

On our next visit, we again fished off the beach, and again we caught some nice fish, but nothing near that first haul. Each successive visit proved less successful, and before long, our efforts were coming to nought. In a short time, it seems, the two of us had managed to fish the beach out--a striking early lesson on the finite nature of fish stocks.

Fed by an upwelling of cold, nutrienbrich water, the seas off West Africa are so fertile that their fish stocks appear infinite and the powers that be in the EU are certainly treating them as such (page 36). The region contains some of the EU's most targeted fishing grounds, with huge freezer-trawlers siphoning up hundreds of thousands of tonnes of fish every year. …

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