Arn? Narn., while telling the true story of a disappearing rural Newfoundland, is also a cautionary chronicle of an imminent world wide concern. In 1992, the Canadian government enacted a cod fishing moratorium on the over 500 year old fishing industry, throwing over 40,000 fisherman out of work. In the next ten years, nearly 20 % of Newfoundland’s population migrated off the large island. Now, 20 years later, the fish have not returned nor have the people.
The implications of this are only now just beginning to be understood. In 2006, Dr. Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia published a paper which received world-wide attention. In it, he predicted that by the middle of this century all stocks of wild, edible fish will be in total collapse. What happened in Newfoundland is expected to occur planet-wide.
Arn? Narn. is a photo-documentary of a culture vanishing before our eyes; perhaps as an early warning to all countries to learn how to manage their resources more carefully. This could very easily happen anywhere.
The title refers to a short conversation in Newfoundland English. It comes from the story of two fishing boats in a Newfoundland bay: one boat is departing, the other returning. The departing boat’s captain yells across his bow, “Arn?” The returning boat’s captain replies, “Narn.” The translation is simple: “Any fish?” “No fish.” That is the tragedy of this story. Through over-fishing, government mismanagement, and greed, the fish are gone.
I loved this book the pictures are so breathtaking. They really draw you in and tell a story that you might as easily learn with words bounding the pages. The words that are on the page add to the beautiful pictures, definitely a table book I would keep on my coffee table for many years to come. I think everyone should take time to read this book and take in the scenery and what is happening with their fishing issues. About not being able to catch any fish.