Turtles and Tozer beneficiaries?

Posted on November 28, 2008
Filed Under Commentary, Travel | Leave a Comment

            The last time I was in Gulfport, Florida, there were turtles in the little pond I walked by every morning. I haven’t seen any this year. There is a sign on the pond warning me not to molest or feed the alligator. I thought alligators perhaps ate the turtles.

            It turns out Floridians have been gathering up the local turtles and selling them to the Chinese market. New Brunswick is losing its Johny Walker Black Lable single malt Scotch to the Chinese. Floridian turtles are winding up in the soup in China.

            All of that, of course, was before the world economic crisis. According to an article in the excellent “St. Petersburg Times,” demand and prices for turtles have fallen recently. At the same time, a movement for a ban on commercial turtle harvesting is building with support from Florida’s governor.

Tozer time?

            The US President-In-Waiting, Barak Obama, has announced the basic idea of a recovery program he has in mind for the US economy. It entails pouring several hundred billion dollars into national infrastructure – primarily roads and bridges. There has been a need for such a program for some time anyway. The US went on a road-building spree that started at the end of WW II and never really stopped. Now many of those roads and bridges are old and decrepit. Some of the bridges may not even be safe.

            I remember Robbie Tozer mentioning a few years ago that there would be a large demand for bridge reconstruction in the US. He was preparing to get in on it. Since then, of course, he has won a contract for a major bridge contract on the McKenzie River.

            President Obama’s recovery program could be very good for Tozer’s construction company and, therefore, Miramichiers.

            In the category of silver linings, the world financial crisis could be good for turtles and Tozer.

Lobster and crabs

          There is an old joke about the pig and the chicken discussing a breakfast of ham and eggs.

            “For you” says the pig, “such a breakfast involves a contribution. For me it is total commitment.”

            Another article in the “St. Petersburg Times” tells about an old crab fisherman who allows tourists to pay to accompany and help him as he attends his traps. He has fished since childhood and likes to work with his environment. He has encouraged government to limit fishing in areas where boats damage the sea grass. He buys and dumps metal fencing into the bay to serve as habitat for shrimp, crabs, oysters and barnacles.

            One of his personal conservation practices has to do with the stone crabs he catches. Although the law does not require it, he rips off only one claw before tossing the crab back into the water. Fishermen are allowed to, and most do, take both claws. Gus Muench, the fisherman in the article, says he read that less than 50% of the crabs with both claws gone survive to grow new ones.

            Theoretically, I suppose, our lobster fishermen could do the same thing. The reason lobsters usually have one claw bigger than the other is that they have lost one to a predator or in a fight and grown a new, smaller one.

            Just the lobster’s bad luck, I guess, that the tail is the most popular and valuable part. I’m quite sure the survival rate among lobsters with neither claw nor any tail would be quite low.



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