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Subject: Fibreoptic Cables
From: Trevor Kenchington <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Sat, 11 Mar 2000 16:57:55 +0000
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In the last week, two different people have asked me about the effects
of the spate of fibreoptic cables that are being laid across the world's
oceans -- those same cables through which most readers of this message
will have received it. As the Information Age continues, more and more
of these cables are being laid without, so far as I can tell, any
opportunities for the fishing industry to comment.

The effects of these cables on access to fishing grounds is obvious
enough: The cable companies take a very dim view of their expensive
cables being caught by an otter board or a clam dredge, so any cable
creates a narrow "closed area" along its track. Meanwhile, the landward
ends of each cable are trenched into the seabed, with clear (if very
local) effects on the benthic environment.

I am left wondering whether these cables have any other effects on the
marine environment (and hence on the fisheries). I assume that their
outer surfaces are non-toxic but does anyone know for sure? There is
presumably some risk of whale entanglements during the laying of the
cables (and for some whales also after they are on the bottom), along
with some temporary obstruction to fishing activities. But is that all?
Are fibreoptic cables harmless, save for their tendency to exclude
certain types of bottom fishing from their immediate vicinities?

Trevor Kenchington


--
Trevor J. Kenchington PhD                         [log in to unmask]
Gadus Associates,                                 Office(902) 889-9250
R.R.#1, Musquodoboit Harbour,                     Fax   (902) 889-9251
Nova Scotia  B0J 2L0, CANADA                      Home  (902) 889-3555

                    Science Serving the Fisheries
                     http://home.istar.ca/~gadus

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