Sunday, November 12, 2006

Peconic Baykeeper

It’s unlikely that anyone who reads this blog doesn’t know, at least by inference, of the Waterkeeper Alliance, the empire of environmental watchdogs that Bobby Kennedy Jr. started. Terry Backer, the Soundkeeper, is part of it (I think he might have been the second, after the Hudson Riverkeeper). Here’s a story from the Times about Kevin McAllister, the Peconic Baykeeper, whose duties have expanded south and west around Montauk Point to encompass the Great South Bay.

I liked this quote from McAllister, about collapsing fish populations:

“The data speaks for itself. But if I don’t think there’s reason for hope, I shouldn’t be doing this. I’m not going to just sit here and be a cheerleader for bay health, not when I know what’s killing the fish.”

It reminded me of a quote from Aldo Leopold that I found in the Times Book Review Last Week:

“That the situation is hopeless should not prevent us from doing our best.”

Which in turn reminds me of the Woody Allen quote at the top of this blog (which I think is both funny and, in regards to some environmental problems, like global warming, true):

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly."


Blogger Sam said...

The Times article was well written and as to your choice of quotes I would add Pogo's "We have met the enemy and he is us."

This might sound harsh but we killed the oceans and bays. We elected the officials that made such poor choices and plans. We created the demand to eat industrial seafood. It is not fair to say you're an environmentalist who is not part of the collective "us."

I recently read an interesting article in a Seattle area paper about how some Russian fishermen were invited over to learn the fishing industry in the US. A comment made by the entire Russian crew was they couldn't believe us Americans could make any money at all, with catching so little fish. Apparently over in Russia, wild salmon fishing is measure in hundreds of metric tons per boat, not pounds.

There is a different story that emerges, that in fact the US can save some of the "crashing" species and make them prosperous again. The fact remains that we allow trawlers to scrape the bottom clean as a desert, which even all the regulations, derbies, and quotas cannot fix.

In time, as we get smarter and some of the factory ships are bought out, their permits extinguished, I really do have hope we can return to what I call a Half-Fast Fishery for certain places and certain species. This will, of course, depend on some leadership from people like you, Mr, McAllister, Dr. Worm, and little people like myself.

It is worth the fight ... never give up hope, my friends.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Pamela said...

I like the Woody Allen quote. And the Aldo Leopold--of course we should do our best, why not? But lately I am coming to believe that our best will not be good enough, and we'll end up with the wrong option, i.e., we'll go out with a whimper, not a bang. Even so, the biosphere will have plenty of time to recover and continue on its way without us before the sun goes nova.

8:08 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Ah-Hah! Do I detect some T.S. Eliot?

LOL, I once wrote a nice paper that ended "The world will end with a Whopper, not a Big Mack."

But yeah, you're onto something ...

10:18 AM  

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