Monday, February 17, 2003

Clippings for my files

First, a story in the NY Times by William L. Hamilton about a couple, Arthur and Nan Kellam, who moved to an island off the coast of Maine:
[T]he Kellams lived without running water or electricity, chopping their wood, growing their vegetables, and rowing miles over open ocean to buy supplies like kerosene, careful to return at day's end, devoted to their island.

Arthur read to Nan in the evening while the bread baked — Dickens, Lady Murasaki's "Tale of Genji."

The Kellams' small, remarkable story has recently started to ripple, like the trace of a stone descending in water. A book, "Alone Together" (Pond Press; $17.95), by David Graham, a photographer in Philadelphia, and Nicols Fox, a writer in Maine, was published in December.
They left California and Mr Kellam's job at Lockheed at age 38.
In their new life, "spending the days would become a spontaneous, not a socially controlled affair. We hoped to build a simple house and a simple life, to learn to appreciate fundamental things."

...Existence on the island in the winter, though, could be as rough as the sea. "You look at their notes, noting temperature," Mr. Graham said. "My wife and I lived in a house that we heated with wood for 14 years. Anyone who hasn't done it doesn't understand."
Second, a story about the controversy over salmon farms off the coast of British Columbia by John C. Ryan in The Christian Science Monitor:
The global fish-farming industry continues to grow, providing one-third of the fish people consume. But as production rises, so do questions about environmental impact and the conditions under which fish are raised. British Columbia, with its tradition of commercial fishing, tribal fishing rights, and environmental activism, sits at the center of the controversy....

Farmed salmon is the province's most valuable legal export crop. (Only marijuana is believed to bring in more cash.) Most of the farms grow Atlantic salmon, which are more docile and faster-growing than Pacific salmon. "It's like raising any kind of livestock, you don't want them fighting each other, you want them eating," says Mary Ellen Walling, director of the British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association.

The isolated fjords and straits of the central coast are ideal for raising salmon: their strong, clean tides flush wastes away from the floating net-pens where fish are raised in dense concentrations. Clusters of farms closer to the US border have been hard-hit in recent years by diseases that can spread from farm to farm. When viruses occur, farm operators are often forced to kill all their fish, compost them on land, and sterilize all nets, boats, and equipment....

The promise of aquaculture is that it can provide nutritious seafood while reducing demands on the world's oceans. Fish farms are careful not to waste the fish meal they feed to salmon....Even so, raising carnivores like salmon and shrimp may actually reduce the amount of fish in the sea. It takes 2-1/2 pounds of ground-up fish to make a pound of farmed salmon.

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