Cod salvation and devilish interference
Try it at a party some time. Take your smart phone out of your pocket, as if you’ve just felt the gentle vibration of an arriving text. But don’t even wake it up — if you turn the phone on, you might get distracted and miss the whole point of the exercise.
No, look at your blank phone for a moment or two, and then slide it back into your pocket or purse. Then watch.
No matter how engaging the conversation, no matter how close and enjoyable your friends are, you’ll see the other phones sneak out. And until they do, it’s surprising how uncomfortable and twitchy your friends will become.
It’s not universal, of course: there are those among us who have yet to be indoctrinated into the brotherhood and sisterhood of the endorphin phone rush. Heck, there are still flip-phones around occasionally, and individuals with the strength to resist the urge.
But it’s fewer and fewer every day.
We’ve built an impressive technology — one that can get our attention during almost any waking hour, even if we neither enjoy what we’re seeing or take any real pleasure in being constantly up to date.
We’re addicted to that little rush, as much as we might despise being tied to the Internet world. Close to one in eight Americans already has a demonstrable Internet addiction, and the numbers are growing.
Go on your phone and look up Internet or electronic addiction, and you will see reams of information — gotcha! You’re looking at your phone again, right? Feeling the itch?
Then look at teens and 20-year-olds — they’re in constant contact with their phones and the Internet, to the point that they literally cannot function without them. You can only imagine how stressed youngsters must be at the very idea of phone-free schools, an idea that’s growing in popularity. Children and even babies are being introduced to phones and tablets as distractive devices at an incredibly early age — sure, it’s a learning tool, but it’s also a crutch.
Behavioral scientist argue that we’re reprogramming our brains, that we’re training ourselves to want a jolt of news or information or just plain contact every few seconds — and that the rewiring is difficult to change, especially when smart phones and other electronics are integral to family organization and contact. You can’t simply choose to opt out.
But here’s a question, not only about what we’re doing to ourselves, but about how that change in brain chemistry can be exploited in the future — are we sowing the seeds for all sorts of addictive issues later?
The way we’re changing our brains, and the way that brain chemistry toys with us, leaves us particularly vulnerable to anything from video gambling devices to marketing that can play on the new pathways we’re building.
For us right now, smartphones could be seen as a threat. But for someone else, they may well be a dangerous opportunity.
The more people I talk to about the fishery the more I become convinced that there are three root causes of the reoccurring catastrophes in the fishing industry.
Those causes are corporate profits, election votes and union agendas. Combined, they add up to political interference.
We have been digging and tunnelling for hundreds of years but we still have more non-renewable resources left under the ground than we have renewable resources left under the water.
What does that tell us about our track record on managing our renewable resources?
We have become expert at finding excuses. We cannot take any credit for the nickel, oil and ion ore under our feet; that was caused by centuries of metamorphic reactions. We are now being told we had nothing to do with the declining amount of shrimp under the waves, — that was caused by global warming.
The bright spot these days seems to be cod, our saviour.
While looking for evidence that lessons have been learned about cod, we cannot ignore South Coast (3Ps) Cod.
A moratorium on commercial cod fishing in 3Ps cod was implemented in 1993 and after a few years the fishery reopened. DFO spring survey biomass estimates, since 2005, have averaged about 40 thousand tonnes annually. However, from 1959 to 1993, the commercial catch averaged about 45 thousand tonnes
While knowing that the current average 3Ps survey biomass has been lower than historic catch levels for the stock, it was business as usual. Even dragging for cod on spawning grounds during spawning season has been ongoing. There were no objections from corporations, politicians or the union until quotas could not be caught and had to be slashed.
A few years ago, we were told by corporate, political and union executives that things would be different for Northern cod. Not to worry, a slow and easy approach will be taken, they said back then.
The same day we got the terrible news about the decline in shrimp biomass, the slow and easy approach for Northern cod disappeared along with shrimp.
Is it coincidence that the northern cod stock suddenly became healthy enough to absorb doubling of the commercial catch two years in a row? Is it coincidence that the northern cod stock suddenly became the enabler for the industrial transition from shrimp processing to cod processing?
If it is not coincidence, it surely must be divine intervention! Thanks to that divine intervention cod has become our saviour.
I am not a deeply religious person but when speaking about saviours and divine intervention it is never a good thing to forget about the devil.
The three root causes I mentioned at the beginning added up to political interference. I am convinced that political interference has been the devils influence on our renewable fisheries resources. If today’s saviour, cod, is going to have a chance to continue to recover and thrive we are absolutely, positively going to have to find a way to exorcize the devil.
Harvey Jarvis Portugal Cove–St. Philip’s