Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fishing Report

"Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated."  Though the actual quote by the great Mark Twain was somewhat different, something along the lines of "the report of my death was an exaggeration," the "demise" version is likely the most popular, probably because it sounds better than the others.  But I digress.  Yesterday I visited with one of my co-workers about one of his recent fishing trips, and my point is to illustrate that the frenzy of reporting on the death of the Gulf of Mexico as a nurturing and hospitable habitat for wildlife, and people, is way, way overblown.

My friend, let's call him D, fishes regularly out of Breton Sound Marina, which is about 30 miles southeast of New Orleans on the east side of the Mississippi River Delta.  The map below is from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and shows a couple of areas closed to fishing, but most of Chandeleur Sound and Breton Sound open.  The reasoning given for the opening of these large areas to fishing, which occurred on June 15, was as follows from the LDWF:  "shoreline cleanup assessment ... indicates no oil in these areas."

D's most recent Breton Sound fishing trip was about a week ago, just after the opening, and they caught their limit of speckled trout (prime table fare down here on the Gulf Coast), plus assorted redfish and other species.  He described it as one of those rare trips where the weather and water were gorgeous, and the fish were biting like crazy.  They had their limit of speckled trout (25 per person) in two hours or less.  After they caught their limit of trout they cruised through Breton Sound observing huge schools of mullet, dolphins galore, and as he put it, "if we saw one pelican we saw 10,000."  The dolphins were terrorizing the schools of mullet from below, gorging themselves; the pelicans were dive-bombing them from above, also feasting.

The BP oil spill is a catastrophe that has caused the loss of eleven lives, and tremendous hardship for thousands of gulf coast residents.  Poor planning and decision making by BP are the likely, primary causes of the disaster.  BP will pay dearly for it, and they should.  But I predict that in the long term, and by long term I don't mean decades from now, I mean months from now, at most a year, the shrimp will be fine, the fish will be fine, the dolphins will be fine, the turtles will be fine, the oysters will be fine, and the pelicans will be fine.  Those who will suffer the most are not the creatures that live in the water, but the people whose jobs and businesses have been lost or suspended.  Arbitrary drilling moratoriums will only exacerbate these losses.  Those in the media and the administration who attempt to scare people with the spectre of a decades long environmental disaster in order to further their political agenda are sacrificing thousands of working class gulf coast residents at an altar that does not exist.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I'm back.

I've been on vacation.  I took my computer with me to blog my little heart out while we were off on our trip, but taking the computer turned out to be the same as taking my books home for the weekend when I was in college--didn't touch it.  I guess my mind needed a break too.  Now I'm feeling a bit lazy and out of shape, both mentally and physically, but since I'm back home I'm ready to whip both mind and body back to their normal, ridiculously high level of performance.

Here's a little tidbit to kick things off, from National Review's "the corner" blog.  I saw it first at the Hyacinth Girl.  A few months ago I wrote some paragraphs about Norman Borlaugh (here), the man who, through his efforts to spread the benefits of high-yield agriculture throughout the world was estimated to have saved one billion (yes, with a b) human lives.  If he's looking down on this outrage, I bet he's pissed.