Environmental Case Analysis: Skunked – Crisis in the New England Fisheries

Essay by iggymac2007University, Bachelor'sB, October 2008

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This paper will present a summary and background of the Skunked - Crisis in the New England Fisheries case study from the Watershed 4 textbook. The paper continues by identifying the stakeholders along with the perspectives, concerns, interest and or pressure of each stakeholder. The paper will conclude with an examination of the relationship between environmental science and ethics related to the stakeholders' interest.

Summary of the CaseThe Skunked case study documents the devastation of one of the world's richest fisheries, the Georges Bank, caused by commercial fishing boats. The Georges Bank is a stretch of shallow underwater plateaus that extend from southern New England to Newfoundland. The Georges Bank up to the 20th century was the richest fishing grounds in the Northwest Atlantic fisheries filled with an abundance of Atlantic cod, haddock, and halibut amongst other species of fish. (Will the Fish, n.d.).

The Northwest Atlantic fisheries yielded 4.4

million tons of fish in 1973. By 1992 there was a decrease of 42%; yielding 2.6 million tons of fish (Newton, Dillingham & Choly, 2006). "The take of Atlantic cod, crucial to the New England economy, had peaked in 1968 at 3.9 million tons; by 1992, it was down to 1.2 million tons…a decline of a horrifying 69 percent." (Newton, Dillingham & Choly, 2006, p. 38). By 1920s the introduction of diesel boat engines, huge factory trawlers, and modern fishing technology allowed commercial boat to pursue fish thus replacing the single baited hook technique used since the 1700s. The overfishing on a massive scale by commercial boats is to blame for the reduction of marine life in the Georges Bank and the collapse of the fishing industry in Gloucester, Massachusetts (Will the Fish Return, n.d.).

StakeholdersIn 1859 the Gloucester, Massachusetts fishing boat fleets brought in 60,000 barrels of mackerel,