Our Global Water System and Fishing

While researching sustainable fishing methods, we stumbled across a poem written by Rosemary E. Ommer, a professor of history at Victoria University in British Columbia, Canada. This poem was included in a book entitled Fishing Place, Fishing People: Tradition and Issues in Canadian Small-Scale Fisheries, by Rosemary Ommer and Dianne Newell.

Here is that poem for you to enjoy:

The Strait of Belle Isle by Rosemary E. Ommer

Sure, we can study kings and princes,
Watch the sweep of Empire catch
Even this lonely Shore within its grasp:
For dry men in old chambers
Have copied it on parchment for our future eye

But if we seek to disembark,
If we leave behind the merchantʼs brig
(Turn our backs upon her),
Ask instead
Of local mean, of living and of dying on this Shore,
Of cooks and servant girls
And youngsters,
If we seek to find
The generations of the Strait;
If we try to comprehend
Their interwoven life and land and sea –
Where is the charting of their days?

The answers are not written in a well-formed hand,
But found amid the gravestones and the wooden homes,
Amid the seamed and weather-beaten faces of the old,
Learned from a life where cliffs and strand
(the ocean and the land)
In subtle balance with each otherʼs wealth
Jointly supply the riches of the poor.

Hereʼs an integrity of earth and folk
Complex and finely tuned to fit the balance of their days: This is their ledger and their lifeʼs accounts.

After reading this we had to stop, and think about what we were researching in a different way. So many papers we have come across talk about the same thing: policies. “What policies should be implemented..”, “How we should go about implementing policies..” Policies… POLICIES, POLICIES!!! Aagh!

Then we thought… “Who gets to decide WHAT policies are made?”

We’re sure no one can disagree that water is one of the most global, unifying, ever-changing aspects of all of our lives. It runs fluidly over the entire planet and can take anywhere between a day or 100,000 years or more to fully make its way through the hydrologic cycle.

In our opinion, water, like air needs to be globally managed. The process of global management however, brings on another huge set of problems and challenges. Who then gets to make the decisions? The more people involved, the longer everything takes. There are pros and cons to regulating resources on a larger international level and managing them locally.

So letʼs discuss this…

Do you think things like fishing industries should be managed on a smaller, local level, or on a larger international level?

Do you think water ought to be managed globally as a worldly resource?


Ommer, R, Newell, D. Fishing Place, Fishing People: Tradition and Issues in Canadian Small-Scale Fisheries. University of Toronto Press. Toronto. 1999. Web. Feb 20, 2012.


One thought on “Our Global Water System and Fishing

  1. Pingback: Salmon and Black Rice « The Resilient Chef

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