Sitting here, Thanksgiving morning, coffee cup in hand, I give recognition to the sun’s glare blasting through the window, amplified by both the new snow cover and the sparkling waters of Friendship Harbor, by exuding a long, “oh what a lucky boy am I,” sigh. This euphoric state doesn’t last, however, as I go over news accounts from our neighbors in Maritime Canada. The first has the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board announcing that a rig off Newfoundland has had a spill of 250,000 liters of crude oil, and with it the not unexpected news that storms and high seas have prevented cleanup operations. While I feel for coastal communities there, this expansion of their drilling down to and off Nova Scotia threatens us in the Gulf of Maine as well. This happens at a time when our own government now pushes its National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing program, thought to be released in January. Secondly, and perhaps on the other end of the ocean carbon spectrum, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has stated that the northern shrimp population has dropped by 50 percent over the past 10 years, with the catch down 30 percent in 2015-16.

This is accompanied by talk of the multiple stressors of ocean warming, predation by anomolous species moving northward, and acidifying waters. All linked to atmospheric CO2. Combining that with the announced closure of the shrimp fishery here for another three years makes one wonder if these small creatures can ever make big enough strides to return. As much as I am awed by the beauty and abundance of the ocean, I wonder why we are not blessed with the sensibilities to protect her.

Richard Nelson