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