From time to time we come out of this corner swinging—at least our writers do. We have our angry man of conservation. Senior Editor Bob Boyle, who, with the industriousness of Officer Obie (eight-by-10 color glossy photographs with circles and arrows), goes after the country's litterers and polluters. Boyle detailed his major case against the despoilers in a piece entitled America Dawn the Drain (Nov. 16, 1964), and he has continued since then to square off against the heavyweights of industry. Our investigative reports, such as Senior Editor Jack Olsen's series on the grizzly bear murders, sometimes provoke our readers as much as the officials involved, and they are meant to, for the issues concerned are ones that merit close attention and occasionally a raised voice.
This week another of our contributors, the often-whimsical Clive Gammon, is speaking out in anger—and sorrow. His subject is killing on the high seas, with the victim one of the most prized of all game fish, the Atlantic salmon. In The Danes Scourge the Seas (page 28), Gammon feels he has found the villains, and he says so in no uncertain terms.
When unaroused, Clive Gammon is a jovial Welshman with wild strands of red hair that blow about, a knack with a humorous story—he has written several for us—and a willingness to sing loudly in pubs when the occasion arises. He is also the best-known and most authoritative fishing writer in Great Britain. His regular column appears in the London Daily Express, he does weekly articles for the highly regarded Angler's Mail and he appears frequently in the London Sunday Times.
Gammon is no mean salmon fisherman—he once caught five in one morning—and he has ample personal evidence that the fish is truly disappearing. He did not catch one all last season in his favorite river, the Towy, and he notes that "the price of salmon at the fishmongers in Aberdeen when I was there last spring had gone from 6 shillings [72¢] per pound to 30 shillings [$3.60]." Then he confesses, "My Welsh blood is at the boiling point. The Danes are just out for a quick kill."
December 15, 1969
The attitude of the Danish authorities that Gammon interviewed was one of icy self-righteousness. "They were very correct and polite." Gammon says. "They did not try to hold anything back. They felt entitled to fish the salmon and didn't really mind what I saw on my trip to Greenland." They even tried to arrange a trip to the inshore nets for Gammon, but the Eskimos, who are suddenly making as much as $4,000 a month in the netting season, were not about to allow an angling writer near their happy hunting grounds. Since the Eskimos own all the boats along the desolate Greenland coast, Gammon was effectively landlocked. He did, however, manage to set up a beachhead of sorts at Sukkertoppen and. ferreting among the whalebones that litter the place, he got his story. It is one that is going to depress fishermen all the way from Maine and Canada to England, Scotland, Norway and Sweden. And it may raise a lot of blood to the boiling point.