Supertechnology and greed have done it. When Rudyard Kipling wrote his great sea novel "Captains Courageous" about Gloucester in 1897, every codfish and every haddock--enough to meet a world demand--was caught on a hook and line by men in small, open dories from a mother sailing ship, a schooner, hundreds of miles from land, guided by nothing but chart, compass, sextant and sounding line. Thus were his denizens maintained in balance, and Neptune placated.
Today, with mammoth engines, cavernous nets, huge flattening bottom rollers, pinpoint satellite navigation, electronic fishfinders and the unfathomable consequences of our land-based pollution of water and sky, we have visited a holocaust upon the oceans of the world.
Forty-eight years ago, fresh from the battlefields of Europe as a young American "dogface," I launched into a newspaper career almost as fast as two index fingers could transfer the words to an old office typewriter. I write this almost as fast as the same two fingers can transfer them to an old PC.
Nothing has changed. Let us be thankful for the bottlenecks of life, for they remind those of us who were once the young bloods on the front line of the risks of the reach and the rightness of the grasp.