Alex Rose is a writer and journalist based in West Vancouver. During his career he helped to write and edit three Royal Commissions and Provincial Inquiries, including one on the fisheries, which resulted in changes to public policy. He is a contributor to the National Post Saturday Review, The Globe and Mail, and BC Business Magazine. He is the author of three books; his most recent is North of Cape Caution, an investigation of ecotourism.
Who Killed The Grand Banks?: The Untold Story Behind the Decimation of One of the World's Greatest Natural Resourcesby Alex Rose
In almost the blink of an eye, Canada's east coast cod fishery collapsed completely. The famous Grand Banks fishery was dead. First sounded by European explorers in the late 15th century, the banks were internationally known to be a famous fishing ground for the Northern cod. Sadly, this is no longer the case. While many theories abound surrounding its
In almost the blink of an eye, Canada's east coast cod fishery collapsed completely. The famous Grand Banks fishery was dead. First sounded by European explorers in the late 15th century, the banks were internationally known to be a famous fishing ground for the Northern cod. Sadly, this is no longer the case. While many theories abound surrounding its destruction, including over-fishing, weak scientific fishery modeling, and foreign rapaciousness, the fact is that after a 15-year moratorium the ecosystem of the Grand Banks has changed irrevocably. This is a timely issue as environmental concerns are front of mind for all levels of government and for the public. What conclusions does the decimation of the cod hold for us for our natural resources that are being wrenched from our landscape, rivers and oceans?
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A compelling read that is both informative and entertaining!
It was an environmental catastrophe fuelled by greed, stupidity, political pressure and inept fisheries management. The decimation of the Grand Banks cod stocks has ensured Canada a high ranking on the list of global environmental shame. The story is painfully familiar to Canadians. After some 500 years of seemingly limitless bounty, then federal fisheries minister John Crosbie announced in 1992 that a moratorium was being placed on northern cod stocks. That was 16 years ago and the stocks have not recovered - perhaps never will. In the ensuing years, after a way of life ended abruptly for Newfoundlanders, there have been many attempts to lay blame, with fingers pointed at overfishing by foreign fleets, incorrect science, changing ocean temperatures, and on and on. A new book by Vancouver writer Alex Rose, Who Killed the Grand Banks?, makes a compelling argument that the real culprit was Canada's own offshore fleet. Rose, who won the Roderick Haig-Brown B.C. Book Prize for an earlier work, Nisga'a: People of the Nass River, set out to prove what happened, to sift through the claims, counterclaims and denials. He asked Newfoundlanders the basic question: 'What in your view was the primary cause of the Grand Banks cod collapse?' When he wasn't met with stony silence, he heard the reasons: 'In no particular order it was the foreign devils (offshore fleet), the seals, rising water temps, dropping water temps, climate change and always and forever, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans,' Rose said in a recent interview. None of those reasons measured up in Rose's view and, finally, he came upon the information that led to his own conclusion. He uncovered data from the North Atlantic Fishing Organization indicating that between 1977 and 1992 (in 1977 Canada extended its offshore boundaries to 200 miles), it was the Canadian offshore fleet that bulldozed the Grand Banks with military precision. 'And of course (the federal Fisheries Department) was complicit in this because they allowed absurdly high catch rates,' said Rose. Rose is a fine writer and does an excellent job of giving the reader an introduction to Newfoundland's history and dependence on the cod, which many thought were so plentiful they could be taken at will. The author meticulously guides readers through the political bungling of Ottawa and St. John's and their unwillingness or inability to heed the warnings of some dedicated scientists.