Good Day, oh brilliant ones.
Welcome to this world in a far off place. A land of forest wealth and wild orchard plenty. A land where the nomad would be secure among the currants and the berries.
The land stretched out its hand and offered food to the adventurer who would dare to traverse the oceans to find it. No more starvation in this land of plenty. Food, to nourish you and food to sustain you. Come to this land and fill your vessels. Fish from the sea, to fill your platters. Dine from the sea, oh great adventurer. Fill your vessels and make your fortune. A harvest of wealth and nourishment from the sea.
The Europeans fished the shores of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, enjoying the easy catch from casting nets into the seas. Fish, by the thousands, swam in the ocean depths and the bounty of the sea was plentiful and the catch was successful. Harvest the seas, oh brave ones and fill your bellies from the Earth.
Although the Grand Banks are a long way from Europe, over fishing in the waters off the European shore, had depleted the fish stocks there. The next best available, was the long ocean voyage, across the Atlantic to the great fishing hole of the Atlantic, the Grand Banks. A journey of 4565 kilometers across the tumultuous seas to cast their nets into the abundant ocean and return with the victorious catch.
A way of life, the fisherman. Coming from several European countries, the fishermen were English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Filling vessels by the load, of delectable treats. Over fishing the oceans was not a new issue.
The problems continue. Too many people, not enough food. Even the mighty oceans can’t sustain us.
In the sixteen hundreds, the world was new. Canada and it’s great land of plenty, was opening it’s doors to the impoverished world. “Come, calls the great land, I will feed you!” Come, harvest my platter, you poor, starving souls. There is plenty here.
Four hundred years later, it’s gone.
The great fishing vessels, cast their nets, no more. A crisis in survival, as the oceans are exhausted. Those breeding specimens, caught and eaten, spawn no more. Critically endangered, their numbers plummet. Striving to survive and to live themselves, the stores of the great oceans are closing.
The ecosystem is in peril. Without the variety in the food chain, other species are plundered and perish. The larger, more desirable fish are vanishing and the smaller ones can’t keep up. We’re eating the babies and we’re eating the mature, mating adults.
Eating and eating, plunder and loss, the oceans quiet and the stillness resounds in our ears. The lonely tide rolls in, with no calling birds to greet it, and leaves behind a sterile beach, without shells and seaweed. The tiny shells, a food source for some birds, are vanishing.
But still the tide rolls in and still the oceans call us. Come, mankind, I will feed you no more, but come into the oceans and play.
written by Dr. Louise Hayes
March 4, 2015