Monday, 26 October 2009

The fruits of piracy

There was a terrific report on Channel 4 News last night. Apparently Somalian pirates, in scaring off factory fishing ships, have allowed a recovery in fish stocks. Populations of shark, marlin, sailfish (below), shellfish and more are booming: those interviewed could hardly recall such a bonanza. Kenyan fishermen - line-catching with some using traditional dhows - are benefitting, some earning forty times the country's average daily wage.

I would have thought a spot of selective (non-murderous) piracy in the North Sea wouldn't be altogether bad if it helped cod populations to recover. Although it might go down well in Grimsby, I don't suppose the Royal Navy would put up with it.

Silver linings, and all that. But this situation surely gives us an indication that should human society in its modern, industrial form break down - perhaps as a consequence of global warming, cooling or otherwise crappy weather - we shouldn't worry overmuch about the planet. Life will look after itself quite nicely: some species will die off, others will thrive, still others will adapt themselves to new, perhaps watery, niches. But it will go on, probably more rambunctiously than before in many places. It may even be that the odd human group might do rather well out of things, just as the Kenyan fishermen have in this instance


worm said...

pirates are brilliant!

I don't know if you remembered that I posted a similar thing a while back regarding chernobyl- I agree with you 100% - nature is utterly resilient and will always find a way to thrive with us or without us!

did you see the marlin on 'Life' the other week - what amazingly beautiful creatures they are! Can't understand why anyone would want to kill one just to get a trophy?! People are wierd.

Brit said...

Well it depends rather on how you define 'nature'. Statistically, pretty much every species that has ever existed is extinct.

Sean said...

Last time I went fishing of Whitby, 8lb plus cod were begging to be caught. Nowt wrong with a bit of Marlin fishin worm!

Anyways I noticed in the summer when I was "down South" while my wife was in hospital that all the fish and chip shops were serving really small cod compared to up here, and believe you me I tried quite a few, and charging for it as well. Its a scandal.

martpol said...

I'm sure you're all aware of a rather wonderful book called The World Without Us: a sort of collation of the best available evidence to work out how things would indeed work out if we all disappeared. Essentially, wildlife returns and forests recover (in different forms) but we're kind of stuck with the nuclear waste and plastic. There's no reference to whether a new lifeform would emerge that enjoys eating the newly-replenished stocks of cod.

Gaw said...

Worm: I do remember and found it very heartening.

Brit: I do tend to regard us as part of nature. I think we get a bit above ourselves at times.

I'm sure your statistics are correct - is the inference that we should not worry too much about extinctions? If so, I agree.

Are you familiar with Stephen Jay Gould's take on evolution? It might be summed up as 'there is a blind watchmaker but there's also a blind vandal who occasionally breaks into the workshop and smashes everything up. Shit happens'.

Sean: Your beady eye does not deceive you - I too reckon the cod has got smaller in recent years. I've always been a haddock man so it doesn't bother me too much. But at least, most fish and chips are cooked in vegetable fats down here rather than the beef dripping you use oop there.

Martpol: I'm not familiar with that book and will check it out.

I'd like to think replenished cod stocks will give rise over time to the evolution of the Men from Atlantis: a race of shy and diffident Patrick Duffy lookalikes who will hang out in the giant marina that the British Isles would have turned into.

Sean said...

Haddock is something you have smoked with poached eggs and grilled Tomatoes...IN THE MORNING!

Gaw said...

I wouldn't refuse - lovely. Fond of a kipper too.