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Protecting the Puffin's Egg 2022

by Jonathan Oakes

Acrylic on Photograph (mixed media)

h 20  x  w 20  x  d 1 cm
h 7.9  x  w 7.9  x  d 0.4 in


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Protecting the puffin's egg: It had been a mild winter, he knew that, milder even than last year. Never the less the time of year had come, when all of the able villagers went out onto the headland on top of the sea cliffs. It was time for the harvest. It was time to call on the skills and traditions that had been passed down to him from his father, who, in turn had learned them from his father. In fact this tradition of harvesting the Puffin birds had been going on for generations, perhaps even since the time of the first settlers to these lonesome, weather bashed islands on the coast of the unforgiving Northern Atlantic Ocean.
We had been hearing on the news that larger fishing quotas had been granted in neighbouring international waters, this would have an impact on the fish stocks, even down to the smaller sizes on which the puffins feed. When the large commercial fishing trawlers throw back their unwanted catch, the waste attracts scavenging seabirds with a more general diet, which push out or even prey on the puffin birds. Waste oil, fuel and pollution that is, unintentionally or even intentionally dumped in this beautiful once rich ocean filters down and infiltrates into all species. Condensing the potency of the poison the further up the food chain it travels. The plankton is infected, small fish that eat the plankton are infection 1,000 times more, the seabird that eats 100 small fish is infected a 100 times more than that etc.