Home' Ausmarine : July 2009 Contents I have a neighbour, a down-to-earth ex-truckie and real bushie
who likes to read about the world as it was, and so buys a
magazine called “This England,” which is packed with
beautiful pictures and nostalgia.
Glancing through the ads what did I see but a book named
“Silent Agenda,” by Eleanor Pettigrew of Bristol in England’s west.
It is about the ruination of world fisheries by international
commerce and how the saviours dealt with it.
As the author, real name June Hoy, explained to me, she was
taking first year journalism when, stuck for the required writing
project, chose fisheries because of current publicity. This included
the state of the oceans as documented by the Royal Commission’s
Turning the Tide, part of an Environmental Pollution address which
included, “The oceans are the planet’s last great living wilderness,
man’s only remaining frontier on Earth, and perhaps the last
chance to prove himself a rational species.”
Says June: “Overfishing was in the news and I decided this
would be my project, not knowing what I was letting myself in for
and never dreaming things would be as bad as they were and are.
Well, I am sickened by what I am reading and feel a real urgency to
do something about it; and this [Silent Agenda] is what I came up
with. My sister, who is an editor in Canada, said I should have
held back and had it edited, but I needed to do something now.”
The book describes how a world moratorium on fisheries, as
agreed to by most nations, has met with resistance, even to the
kidnapping of prominent politicians.
The story is interesting. A retired cop, name of Potter and
now an artist, is visited by the PM in disguise who wants him to
find a band of mercenaries he once had dealings with, and get
them to do something ― money no object. And so the old
mercenary band gets to work, led by one Bonnier, international
scourge of the baddies.
The plan is that there is to be a worldwide attack on fishing
operations although the vessels will only be boarded and have
their fishing aids made useless. On shore, net and technical aids
factories will be sabotaged. Harpoons? Naturally!
The author knows nothing of fishing but, no worries, for we
now enter the realms of sci-fi. Nets are detached in the water and,
attached to special floats, are picked up by passing aircraft whose
comings and goings in the UK seem to escape public attention.
As we said, vessels are boarded by explosives experts bent on
destroying electronic aids. This does not apply to nations such as
Canada and Iceland whose fisheries have been in moratorium
for fifteen years and so are politically correct. What has
happened to Iceland, a nation vitally dependent on fishing, is
Anyway, when the mayhem is in full swing the PM returns and
tells Potter to call off the dogs as all nations have now agreed on
curtailing fisheries. Which is somewhat inconvenient ‘cos Potter
has lost contact with the mercenaries. Not to worry; world fishing
grinds to a halt and all abductees have been released. The story
winds down and we are treated to a political sermon as fishers
glumly survey their debts.
“In our folly we seem to forget. I repeat. In our folly we seem
to forget that marine life is living, complex, and delicately
balanced; has evolved over millions of years, and needs to be
sustained and nurtured.
“Industrial fishing on such a vast scale over the past thirty, forty
years has depleted the oceans entirely of its stocks of large fish;
caused the extinction of many species, some we were only just
beginning to be aware of, [and] is responsible for scraping bare huge
sections of the ocean bed, [with] total ruination of much habitat.
“Only careful, constantly-managed recovery programmes,
involving great swathes, and it has to be great swathes, fifty, sixty
percent of water area and marine nurseries in shallow water can
salvage what little is left or there will be no fish or marine life left
to plunder. What is lost is lost for ever, the list grows longer daily.”
Silent Agenda is a modest little paperback of 100 pages, maybe
20,000 words, and the narrative does not always read smoothly.
Published by Push Penny Publishing (Ms Hoy that is) at 33 Bangor
Grove, St Annes, Bristol BS4 4 B, UK, it costs AUD10 and the
proceeds go to Greenpeace, of course.
Why review a modest little book like this? It’s to remind you
that our increasingly pointless secular existence yearns for a new
meaning, so that the new moral warriors uncritically accept
whatever the new exploiters say. Ms Hoy has made her point; she
even sells her books door to door several days a week for
Greenpeace. What are we doing apart from complaining?
*Grumpy Old Bastard
July 2009 AUSMARINE
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