in canada, for hundreds of years, the cod fishery supported a large percentage of the population of eastern canada, in food and jobs. the grand banks area was one of the most fertile in the world, fishing boats from all over the world were harvesting hundreds of thousands of tonnes of cod each year.
despite dire predictions and "the sky is falling" warnings, first by local fishermen and then finally by scientists by the mid-80s, the canadian government downplayed the reports and did virtually nothing to protect the fishery. it was too important to the economy, investment, industry profits, and jobs.
one other slashdotter noted that the cod fishery is currently "in a state of decline". that's like saying john f. kennedy is a little under the weather.
THE FISH ARE FREAKIN' GONE!
in the mid-90s, the cod fishery collapsed utterly and completely. the canadian government finally instituted a complete ban on cod fishing - because there were no more fish! the stock is nearly completely wiped out, only a few thousand tonnes left, and shows no sign of recovering.
massive unemployment ensued, and economic devastation in the whole region. hundreds of small communities became ghost towns. the federal government has had to put in billions of dollars in relief funding. people are slowly trying to move to a different economy, for example a lot of call centres have been set up in newfoundland, with the government subsidising their construction, and the cheap labour available because of such high unemployment. but it ain't quite the same anymore...
i have to say this is one of the most shocking things i've ever seen happen in canada (ok, so canada isn't the most exciting place in the world). how could canada, despite adequate warnings and predictions, allow the atlantic cod fishery - one of the defining aspects of canadian culture, not to mention the economy - to simply vanish? how could we be so short-sighted? such idiots?
so you all can put your fingers in your ears and say "nah nah nah, i can't hear you, this will never happen". well let me tell ya bye's, it already has...
the tradgedy is that it could have been prevented, if appropriate fishing quotas had been in place. hopefully this study will motivate that, to prevent future eradication of other ocean stocks. i mean, even george w. "global warming is a myth" bush has just signed on to the moratorium on deep-sea trawlers. so you know, this isn't just "the sky is falling" bullshit. the sky is actually falling. but it's not too late to prop it up.