Thursday, January 31, 2013

Evil New England fishermen regulated out of business by federal government

1/31/13, "New England fishermen: Industry facing ruin after regulators approve cuts in cod catch limits," AP via Washington Post, Portsmouth, N.H.

"Minutes after New England fishery managers took a vote that cast doubt on the historic industry’s future, the prospects most clear to Gloucester fishermen Paul Vitale were his own.

I’m bankrupt. That’s it,” said the 40-year-old father of three. “I’m all done. The boat’s going up for sale.”

The New England Fishery Management Council on Wednesday approved a year-to-year cut of 77 percent on the Gulf of Maine cod limit and 61 percent for Georges Bank cod.

The cuts come on top of a slew of other reductions, ranging from 10 to 71 percent, on the catch of other bottom-dwelling groundfish species, such as haddock and flounder.

Fishermen say now they’re staring at industry collapse because they’ve been left with far too few fish for most boats to make a living.

“We are headed down the wrong course here, of exterminating the inshore fleet, for no good reason,” said David Goethel, a New Hampshire fisherman and council member.

The cuts, in effect May 1, are expected to be backed by federal managers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA’s top federal fisheries regulator, John Bullard, acknowledged the reductions will be devastating. But he said the fish stocks are struggling and the industry’s steady, excruciating decline must be reversed.

“The first thing we have to do is put denial behind us,” he said.

The cuts hit an industry that was crucial to the nation’s early economy and remains imbued with the risk and romance of man versus nature — depicted in the famous “Man at the Wheel” statue in Gloucester of a fisherman facing the sea.

The new low limits reduce the cod catch to just a fraction of what it once was
and prevent fishermen from landing enough of the plentiful species, such as haddock and pollock. That’s because fishermen can’t pull up the healthier groundfish without catching too much of the cod that swim among them.
An economic analysis by the council projected that the cuts would reduce overall groundfish revenues by 33 percent, from about $90 million in 2011 to about $60 million in 2013.

But fishermen said the projection is far too optimistic.

“It’s fantasy. ... I mean, I’d rather go to Disney World. I’ve got a better chance of meeting Peter Pan,” said Goethel, who predicted the entire New Hamsphire fleet would be eliminated.

Fishermen have consistently disputed the accuracy of the science that drives regulation and that indicates the stocks are in bad shape. And they noted the industry has generally fished at or below levels recommended by science in recent years, but the advice has proven wrong.

I’ve done everything they told me to do, and all of the sudden I come up here to a meeting today, and they’re going to send me in a coffin out of this place,” said New Bedford fisherman Carlos Rafael, who said he may have to sideline half his fleet of 20 groundfish boats."...via Mark Levin show


A fisherman who went to Harvard and voted for Obama (see 3rd and 4th parags. fr. end) begs for his help via full page newspaper ad. (He doesn't get it):

9/22/11, "Death of an Industry: The President's Impoverishment of America's Fishermen," American Thinker, Mike Johnson

"While Obama vacationed on Martha's Vineyard last year, "the fishermen of New England ran a full-page ad in the Vineyard Gazette titled "Mr. President, We Need Your Help." The fishermen came to the Vineyard in their boats and paraded in the harbor to emphasize their plight. The American Thinker ran a piece on the events. 

The ad was in the form of a letter from Russell Sherman, the captain of the fishing vessel Lady Jane out of Gloucester, MA. The letter was well-written, elegant in its simplicity and comprehensive in its content, befitting Captain Sherman's Harvard education. It read in part:

"My business is only one of hundreds facing extinction. While there will be a small handful of "winners" under these new rules [Catch Shares] [eff. 5/1/10], the vast majority of us will be losers. And when we "losers" are forced out, jobs will be lost, coastal communities gutted, and crucial commercial fishing infrastructure gone forever. ...

Mr. President, we desperately need your leadership."... 

How much help did the fishermen get from the president? None! Nada! Not even an acknowledgement of their efforts. Not even a receipt from the White House for the copy of the letter they sent directly to the president by "Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested."... 

The heavy-handed regulatory management continues, as shown by a recent independent review by Preston Pate. Fishing jobs are gone; NOAA jobs are not. The number of regulators and observers assigned to each fisherman has increased dramatically. Needless to say, this is not the help the fishermen were seeking. 

The lawsuit brought by the fishermen based on NOAA exceeding their mandate in imposing catch shares has been rejected based on NOAA having the authority to do just about whatever they please. See Dr. Briand Rothschild's "Fish, the Intent of Congress, and Jobs" and the related American Thinker piece. 

Catch allocations, the key to successful fishing under catch shares, remain extremely low because of the government's uncertainty in its science. See the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Institute (MFI) study report....

Fishing as a way of life has endured for four centuries along the coast of New England. Turning the fisheries into a commodities-based enterprise is tantamount to
  • the destruction of the fishing community and its culture."

8/23/10, "Fishermen aim Vineyard protest at Obama," Gloucester Times, Richard Gaines

"Leaders of the recreational and commercial fishing industry are planning a boat protest against federal policies Thursday outside the harbor of Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard, where President Obama and his family are summer vacationing.

The protest is being organized after a bipartisan, bicameral coalition of federal lawmakers — including the core of the President's Congressional base on banking and health care issues — have given up hope of working productively with Obama's top appointee for oceans and fisheries, Jane Lubchenco, who heads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Boats from Gloucester and New Bedford, the hub ports of New England, Point Judith, R.I., and New York and New Jersey are expected, according to Tina Jackson, president of the American Alliance of Fishermen....

"Since her appointment to head the NOAA by President Obama, Lubchenco, who had been an officer of the Environmental Defense Fund and a leader of the Pew Oceans Commission, has pushed to convert the fisheries into commodities markets under a management system known as catch shares. 

In a statement to the Times soon after her confirmation by the Senate, Lubchenco's office said her goal was 
  • to see a "significant fraction of the vessels ...
With the stocks rebuilding strongly, fishermen wonder at the need to reduce the size of the work force."... 

12/23/10, "NOAA's catch shares fisheries debacle," American Thinker, Mike Johnson

"Catch shares are transferable or tradable. The fear amongst fishermen is that the transferable catch shares can be sold to anybody, including big corporations or other governments.

The effect will be the elimination of the small-business fisherman and the creation of blue-collar serfs in the crews of massive fishing factories. Catch shares has other warts as well -- see for example the Ecotrust Canada piece, "A Cautionary Tale About ITQ Fisheries.""...


7/1/2010, "Audit cites wide fund abuse by NOAA cops," Gloucester Times, by Richard Gaines 


8/26/10, Boats near Vineyard Haven for Obama protest, ap photo (sorry don't have link right now, will try and find it. I copied it in 2010 and didn't save the link at the time.)

8/26/10, Fishing boats near Vineyard Haven. "Local fishermen protest regulations during Obama's Vineyard visit," NECN, A. Palumbo, New Bedford, Mass.


7/13/10,"Lawyer cites ethics issues with NOAA counsel funds," Gloucester Times, R. Gaines

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