Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland
Fishy tale brings writing success for Susanna

Susanna Elliott SUSANNA Elliott was a girl on a fishy mission recently when she set about writing an article on the problems facing our marine environment today.

14-year-old Susanna's efforts have now landed her in the RSPB's youth magazine, Wingbeat.

"I have been a member of the RSPB for as long as I can remember," said Susanna, who attends Friends' School, "and my parents are members as well. I wanted to do some writing for wildlife and this topic was suggested to me. I went away to research it and came away feeling very sobered by what I had discovered."

The article, entitled "Why fish and chips is going off the menu", warns that the classic dish may soon be a thing of the past.

In stark, but very descriptive and accessible language, Susanna describes how conservationists have deemed fish like cod, haddock and whiting as 'commercially extinct'. All in all it makes for rather unappetizing reading.

Using the internet and the BBC website to good effect, Susanna was able to research the article and get her first stab at investigative environmental journalism. She also says that she has been personally affected by the research and while she hasn't stopped eating cod, she has looked into eating something else when she does eat fish.

"What I did opened my eyes to the problem and made me think about how we take what we have for granted," she said.

"I'm really excited about getting this published, but even more excited at being able to do something for the environment. I hope to have more chances to write about a wide range of issues in the future - environmental, social and political."

"Students like Susanna are a real credit to the youth of Northern Ireland," said Catherine Gleave, RSPB Youth Officer. "She has brought her own initiative and considerable talent to a very urgent issue and we hope that her efforts will make realise that what we eat has repercussions on the environment."

Susanna said she thought that getting involved with the wider world around you was vital.

"I used to think that the RSPB was just about birds, but it's more than that. It's about our world as a whole and that is definitely a good thing" she said.

Ulster Star