A Travel Journal, SUVpacking America

On the road. Discovering who This New Man is.

Losing Our Cod – Generations of Fishing for The New Man


Men FishingI’ve demonstrated many times about why we’re on this fishing adventure, trying to catch a glimpse of The New Man, the new version of what it will mean to be a man in America. As we’re Traveling 4 Men, this journey is expected to take us from the West Coast to the East Coast because the issue is universal.

I happened to be reading a CNN story today (February 1, 2013) about the struggles that the cod fishers in the New England and Canadian coastal areas. The story this time is an extension of others, focusing mostly on how over fishing, newer technologies and changing times are making necessary for there to be major cutbacks on allowable annual catches. “The mom and pop days are over,” one frustrated local man says. “It’s the loss of an identity,” says another.

But what caught my attention was what one man said at the end of the article. A 47-year-old-man said didn’t exhibit his emotions just as anger. He, like others, already knew that change was in the making. He said, for example, that he never gave his son the chance to consider fishing as an option. “I was afraid he was going to fall in love with it the way I did,” he said. “It’s a shame, but it’s something I knew I had to do.”

Men of all kinds are finding that their career choices and many of the vocational options didn’t turn out to be what they thought. And worse, many then found that the choices they ultimately made put them in a position where the economic crash we’re struggling to get out domed them to a situation where their options were limited too.

While there is plenty of anger about this, there is also a sense of resignation. Many of the men I’m talking with feel that they just happen to be stuck in a bad place. The times are forcing them to give up the core of their identities, and they are looking for a way to start again.

The anger shouldn’t be downplayed: It’s real and important. Enough angry people can cause revolutionary changes. But for most men who are going through these processes, they seem to be looking forward, trying to get a handle on where they belong. We read stories of the pain of change here and there, but there are also smart steps in the process.

The man who sent his son to college instead into cod fishing is an example of this. He might have done it for other reasons, but he saw something new heading his way. So he started the process of getting the next generation ready for this future.

We may be losing our cod and those local people who caught them for us, but we have caught something else in our nets. By the time I get to New England, I hope we have a better taste of what this might look like. So far it isn’t as bad as it sometimes feels.

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This entry was posted on February 1, 2013 by in Erick Says and tagged , , .

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