Editorials | Opinions
|UNAM: The Most Unusual Projects|
Guillermo Ramón Adames y Suari - PVNN
January 06, 2011
When we were students at the National University of Mexico, at the Faculty of Sciences, we shared the facilities with Mathematicians, Physicists and Biologists. This happened in the 60’s, we were full of energy and our ideal was to change the world as many of our 20 yr old classmates.
As a consequence of a demographic training, we wrote to the president in turn (Gustavo Díaz Ordaz) to call his attention: The retirement system as it operated at the time (and still does), was not going to work for Mexico in a 50 yr period, i.e. today. We never got an answer from him or any of the presidents who followed him. As of today, nobody dear talk about retirements. The problem today concerns the whole world: Look around you, retirement benefits cost more and more and there is less and less jobs and people live longer and longer. Don’t even mention this, no one has an answer.
But there were two projects that would definitely change the face of the Mexico. Biologists were studying the Cortes Sea and with some quite advanced statistics supported by some researchers, we concluded that the Cortes’ sea, could feed Asia and Mexico altogether. The project was in fish breeding. The only thing that we forgot was that on one side of the Cortes Sea, there were Mexicans and on the other side… also. We forgot that the Mexican mentality is “to get the one in front of you” and this has been going on for centuries. The “Cortes Sea Food Project” as we named it, was condemned by Mexicans to never work. A Mexican will never help another Mexican: “He will get him”. See what happens with migrants in the US: As a Mexican, the last one to ask for help from is… another Mexican.
The second project was also a fish breeding project but this one was more ambitious than the previous one. This could feed the world and we presented the study to the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization in Rome) in 1968. Again, with no response.
What was this project about? One must know that Mexico is privileged with its geographical situation. It so happens that at the latitude of the “Tropic of Cancer” there are several maritime currents that arrive from the west to Mexico’s west coasts, with clean fresh water from the ocean. The temperature is even, the idea was to launch a project that would breed fish sufficiently far from Mexico (in the middle of the sea, some 6,000 miles west, situated more or less straight south from the middle of Alaska) so that the fish would arrive mature (helped by the current) to the Mexican coast of the states of Baja California, Jalisco, Colima and even Nayarit.
The problems here were varied: ecologically there was no problem: In the 60’s the word was “pollution” not ecology or environment friendly as we say it today. There was no waste of any type. In a couple of words: The project consisted in dropping fish in a current, without any food expenditure that would increase the amount of available fish in the range of 6,000 miles. Fish would take about one month to reach the Mexican coast.
The most serious problem (besides funding) would be to forbid fishing in the area in order to allow fish to grow. We were aware that Japanese, American and even European fishing boats arrive to Mexican coasts and fish illegally all over Mexican coasts. A project that would generate countless amounts of “fish for all” would not pass unnoticed by many fishing companies. For a profit they would take whichever risks or buying any Mexican authority. A breeding source of fish in the middle of the ocean would simply increase the food chain and feed larger fish to the already big fish in the open sea.
The beauty of this project is that there is no other maritime flow in the world that reaches any other country like this maritime current keeping the same temperature. Fish would have the time to grow almost naturally to maturity when relatively close to Mexican coasts. For a project with this approach to use maritime currents, the only other maritime current (with very serious limitations) is the one that reaches Europe’s coasts.
The problem here is that the current leaves the American Continent and while reaching Greenland, the temperature drops various degrees. Few fish survive to drop in temperatures: The current is still warm but with various degrees below. This is why our dream study could be one of the answers to the future needs of food. It becomes more and more difficult to grow cattle and poultry. The only really unexploited massively source of food today, is fish.
Guillermo Ramón Adames y Suari is a former electoral officer of the United Nations Organization. Contact him at gui.voting(at)gmail.com.
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