Who Killed the Grand Banks: The Untold Story Behind the Decimation of One of the World's Greatest Natural Resources

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Wiley, Sep 11, 2008 - Social Science - 320 pages
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While John Cabot's landfall may be in dispute, what he discovered is not: cod-and lots of them...

Historic accounts say that Cabot lowered a basket weighted with stones into the North Atlantic, then hauled it back up brimming with cod. The discovery of these fertile fishing grounds set of a centuries-long struggle among Basque, Portuguese, French, and English fishermen, and established a pattern of far-flung coastal settlements, called outports by Newfoundlanders, that ring the island.

And so the legend fits today: the Grand Banks became Valhalla, a miraculous, self-sustaining Eight Wonder of the world, feeding the known world for 500 years.

The catastrophic collapse of the fisheries, circa 1992, was unprecedente4d. An ecological disaster to rival any other-the destruction of the Amazonian rainforest notwithstanding-in modern history. This made-in-Canada plunder was part human greed, part stupidity, and part rapacity. Tarnishing Canada's standing within the international community, it holds the reputation of Canada's once-vaunted fisheries scientists up to ridicule. Sixteen years later, no one has taken accountability or apologized for the ruination of a centuries-old way of life and, taken accountability or apologized for the ruination of a centuries-old way of life and, more shocking, a stock recovery plan has yet to be produced...

There can be no forgetting-or forgiving-such catastrophic pillaging, Sparked by a second wave of environmentalism focusing on the state of the world's oceans, the Grand Banks cod collapse became a talking point, a sujet noir, now studied at universities and fisheries research centres, wherein students from around the world repeat this mantra: we must never allow our fisheries to go the way of the Grand Banks cod.

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About the author (2008)

Alex Rose is a Vancouver-based writer and journalist who helped to write three Royal Commissions and Provincial Inquiries, including one on Canadian fisheries which resulted in changes to public policy. A contributor to the National Post Saturday Review, The Toronto Globe and Mail, and BC Business Magazine, he co-authored North of Cape Caution, an investigation of ecotourism opportunities on the British Columbia coast. His book, Nisga’a: People of the Nass River, won the 1993 Roderick Haig-Brown B.C. Book Prize and his essay, In Search of Meaning, was shortlisted for Canada’s 2004 National Magazine Award.

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