Reidski has already mentioned a great book called 'Cod' and about cod, by Mark Kurlansky. I have just finished this book and it is amazing, showing how it can be argued that this one fish shaped the development of the western world as pursuit of the cod led to the discovery of America,and then to the economic strength of New England which in turn saw the independence of the United States. All because of one little fish - except 500 years ago they were not little fish and could grow up to six feet long and live into their 30's with the females laying millions of eggs every year.
He then goes on to show how over fishing of the fish which were so numerous in the North Atlantic some said you could walk right across the sea using their backs as stepping stones, has practically eradicted the cod in many seas.
In Hull in 1975 there were 250 fish warehouses selling cod across Europe. A year later after the last Cod War with Iceland there were 80 such warehouses, and the following year when I arrived in Hull most of those had closed too. No wonder I arrived in a dying city.
As an aside, in Hull knowing the cod as well as they do they only eat haddock, calling cod a dirty fish that lives on the bottom of the ocean and eats all the rubbish that accumulates there.
Kurlansky talks to fishermen - actually, mainly to former fishermen - some of whom accept the cod will never return to their waters, but some who are convinced a few years with a fishing ban will lead to the recovery of stocks.
Kurlansky notes that to forecast the recovery of the cod population is to gamble: "There is only one known calculation: 'When you get to zero, it will produce zero.'"
We have extinguished many species on land and although it has to be more difficult to extinguish species in the ocean according to this book we have pretty much managed that too.
Dogfish and chip supper anyone?
Sofa - Here in Yorkshire, the BBC sponsors a regional news programme called "Look North". Mrs P and I watch it regularly and we are very familiar with the main p...
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