Shifting Baselines . . . . .

The story linked below, from the [Chesapeake] Bay Journal, is an excellent discussion of how exports of oysters from the Chesapeake to Louisiana is an example of the rapid changes that can take place (and incidentally overtake resource managers and policy makers) in marine and coastal natural resources.

It is also a telling example of shifting baselines, in which the increase in the Bay’s oyster harvest from 10’s of thousands of bushels in the 1990’s to 440,000 bushels this year is reported (by an otherwise careful journalist) as the “recovery” of the Bay’s oyster industry, when the Bay was once capable of supporting sustainable catches of many millions of bushels of oysters. Just because the patient is out of the respirator doesn’t mean s/he is healthy, or capable of surviving to a ripe old age.

About Bruce

Work for sustainable development of small islands and the Chesapeake Bay; ex-Peace Corps (Volunteer and staff) in LA & Caribbean; cruised Caribbean on S/Y Meander for three years; like small tropical islands, French canals, Umbria, Tasmania, and NZ. Married 52 years to the late Kincey Burdett Potter (see President of the now-sunsetting Island Resources Foundation.
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