You will find out about all the exciting stuff going on with the RSPB in the east of the UK. We cover our sites in the following counties: Norfolk, Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, and some of our great Lincolnshire ones. So if you are if you have never heard of the Strumpshaws and Snettishams or Stour Estuary or Sutton Fens here is you chance.
Yesterday evening I suddenly became irritated. Lying on the sofa surfing through TV channels finding nothing I wanted to watch, I suddenly became aware of the mess. The children’s toys scattered across the floor, the geranium leaves and crumbs of compost on the floor, the cobwebs in the corners of the room. Previously unaware of the growing chaos around me, I decided at that moment to spring clean.
I can proudly declare the house to be far cleaner and tidier now. The armies of toys are still there but where they were once spread around haphazardly they are now jammed behind the straining doors of a cupboard. And I’m no longer irritated; out of sight, out of mind.
Human being’s, as a rule, are very good at pretending things not to be the case; denial I guess it’s called. With things like tidying toys I don’t think it matters too much but it does matter when we start denying other stuff; the terrible state of our ecosystem and environment for example.
Chatting to a marine biologist from the RSPB’s HQ the other day he said, ‘if we stripped our coast and sea’s of their water, people would be devastated by the destruction we have caused.’ But those crashing waves, just like my cupboard doors, hide the mess that lies beneath.
Yet we’re not oblivious to the marine environments plight either. We know that in 1925 the average size of a cod was more than 1m in length; giant fish cruising deep through the Atlantic. Today however the average size of a cod is just 40 cm, less than half the size they once were. This is the result of years of unsustainable fishery practices, consisting of catching as much large size cod as possible. As only small cods were left in the oceans, the next generations became smaller and smaller in size and in population. Moreover, the current EU legislation allows fishermen to fish 35cm large cods in EU waters, below the average size at which the species reproduce. The Marine Conservation Society explains that the size at which 50% of females first spawn is approximately 60 to 70 cm.
88% of fish stocks are harvested beyond their ecological capacity, like the cod, whereas less fishing pressure today would allow stocks to recover, delivering greater sizes in the future. However, it is likely that the European Parliament and Council are going to delete measures ensuring sustainability in fisheries from the Commission’s proposal. On the contrary, both institutions declare intentions of increasing fishing capacity. The risk is a deep decrease in fish stocks resulting in the collapse of the fisheries sector and a high level of unemployment for fishermen.
I could be irritated by the government allowing the devastation of our sea life just like I was about the mess at home. But I’m not irritated, I am utterly astounded. The good news is however that the RSPB are, as ever, fighting the battle to get our seas the protection that they desperately need. You can go here for more information and to find out how you can help www.rspb.org.uk/supporting/campaigns/. If we all open our eyes to how threatened our marine environment is perhaps we can take action and try to clear up the mess we are making.