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Committed to the Cause - Disagreeing About the Outcome

Great Gulf --

Since most of her friends used e-mail, it was a rare pleasure to receive a hand-addressed envelope. Agnolia was delighted when she received both a letter and a package from her mother. Opening the letter, Agnolia read -

We just finished the book I sent you, The Great Gulf - Fishermen, Scientists, and the Struggle to Revive the World's Greatest Fishery. The book is about the waters of the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank, and it is about the people whose livelihood is tied to the Great Gulf, scientists like our neighbor, Jeb Murray, who works for the National Marine Fisheries Service, and fishermen, like your dad's cousin, Albert LeBlanc.

The author, David Dobbs, does a better job than I believed possible in explaining the differing positions of the scientists and fishermen. Your father used to say the reason the fishermen and the scientist cannot agree on the fish populations is because the scientists are a bunch of college educated egg heads who couldn't tell a fish from a bird. After reading the book, I think your Dad has more respect for the scientists and I now understand that the fishermen really care about the fish population.

Finishing the letter, Agnolia unwrapped the package which contained the book, The Great Gulf

Anxious to see what The Great Gulf had to say about the dispute between fishermen, whose fate seemed to be declining, and scientists whose numbers seemed to be growing. Agnolia started reading The Great Gulf.

When it was time for dinner, Agnolia made spaghetti, it was easy and would leave her more time to read.

By evening, Agnolia had read about the important basic research on The Great Gulf that had been done by Henry Bryant Bigelow, who was a fisherman and scientist. Agnolia had then read about life on a research vessel on a voyage to determine what species lived in the Great Gulf. Agnolia next read about a cod fisherman whose life would be forever changed if the Gulf of Maine was closed to cod fishing. At the end of the book, Agnolia read about the same cod fisherman who found "shrimp in numbers he had not seen in more than a decade" at a time when the NMFS predicted "a poor shrimp season."

Putting the book down, Agnolia realized resolving the differences between scientists and fishermen would not be easy, but that they both cared passionately for the waters of The Great Gulf and for the fish that swam in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Banks.

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