EU/UN kleptocrats were joined by US Establishment pols in scorning fishermen and their way of life. Massive crime at NOAA has long been tolerated. Millions were extorted from fishermen which NOAA personnel then used for cars and vacations. (No one was fired for this reportedly). Along comes Obama and since fishermen lack a labor union...Commenters note a fisherman in Massachusetts (a Harvard graduate) finds himself in dire straights due to over-regulation, but he voted for Obama (4th para. fr. end of article) and after that even thought begging for his leadership might make a difference.
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."
And what has happened to the fishermen since? How has the past year gone for them? Badly!
- Catch shares (see Nils Stolpe's "Is this the future of fishing?") has worked to perfection...if you are a malevolent, vindictive, bureaucratic eco-zealot. As Dr. Jane Lubchenco predicted, the fishing fleet has consolidated -- a euphemism for "most of the fleet has been driven out of business."
- 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.
- The Secretary of Commerce rather rudely rejected a request from the fishermen for emergency relief of the restrictive catch allocations based on the MFI document previously linked.
The fishermen weren't alone in having a bad year. President Obama spent his 2010 Vineyard vacation under a Joe Btfsplk perpetual rain cloud, spent most of the intervening year under one form or other of Joe Btfsplk political clouds, and was driven from the Vineyard this year by a Joe Btfsplk hurricane, courtesy of Dr. Lubchenco and NOAA. The country has had a tough year as well....
How did Captain Sherman fare in 2010? Pretty much the same as the overall industry. First, the good news, or the illusion of good news: Russ had the highest gross revenues of his 40-year career in 2010. The offsetting bad news:
- his net was an appreciable loss.
NOAA did their normal disingenuous PR release trumpeting the high revenues as proof of the effectiveness of catch shares while completely ignoring the increased costs. See the Gloucester Times article by Richard Gaines.
Captain Sherman recently invited me to his home in Gloucester. The first words out of his mouth: "We needed regulation in the worst way." He emphasized that point. But -- and it is a big but -- the government has gone too far and become too rigid.
- Overfishing, the condition that led to the need for regulations, has ended. No less an expert than Dr. Steve Murawski, recently the NOAA Fisheries chief scientist, has so stated in an interview given in January 2011.
- The commercial fishing industry of New England could be made to work under the catch shares system if the government wanted it to work. They could simply expand allocations within the overfishing limits imposed by the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA). See this American Thinker essay.
But Dr. Lubchenco and President Obama do not want the industry to survive; they want it to be transformed into a commodity-based industry where shares are traded like pork-bellies. (See Nils Stolpe's "The Big Green Money Machine" and explore his extensive database on the financial inroads the eco-zealots have made into our government and specifically NOAA.) The present-day fishermen are in the way. The oppressive allocations are a tool for thinning the herd, reducing the fleet.
There are other, dirtier bureaucratic tricks being used.
In 2000, Captain Sherman made a business decision to get a newer and safer vessel. He found a vessel in New Jersey that "needed a little work." It took a year and a slug of cash, but he was back at sea in 2002. The operating paradigm imposed by the government at the time was days at sea and capacity. Not a problem -- Russell followed the rules.
A few years later, the government changed the operating paradigm to catch shares, allocations, and landings. Landings were based on the history from 1996 to 2006. Russell's new boat had no history, and thus no landings from 1996 to 2002, because it wasn't being used in New England. (NOAA would not count his landings in his older vessel.) Russell received about 40% of the allocation of other fishermen. The government changed the rules, and Russell and many others suffered. The heartless and soulless bureaucracy didn't care.
In the 1990s, the government requested that fishermen avoid overfished species such as cod and haddock. Many of the fishermen -- the more responsible ones like Russ -- complied and fished for underutilized species such as whiting, skate, and dogfish. Others said it was not an order and continued to take cod and haddock. These less responsible fishermen were rewarded by higher allocations for cod and haddock based on their landings during the 1996-2006, period while the responsible fishermen were penalized for a lack of landings. No good deed goes unpunished.
The meanest of the NOAA fisheries misdeeds came about by accident or by sloth. The record-keepers of NOAA made several mistakes in the landing records of individual fishermen. As a result, some fishermen received as little as a zero allocation for 2010. Not to worry, said the government; we will fix the errors in next year's allocations. Try running a small business when you're forced to shut down for a year....
Next year, FY2013, the government will no longer subsidize the required observers for catch shares. The fishermen have to pick up the cost -- about $700 a day. This goes onto overhead and comes directly out of paychecks. This may push Captain Sherman over the line.
The mistreatment of fishermen has been independent of the party in power, although Obama has exacerbated the problem by ceding NOAA to the environmentalists with the appointment of Dr. Lubchenco. Most fishermen are small businessmen and naturally conservative, though there are exceptions. Captain Sherman voted for Obama in 2008, but Russell says, in no uncertain terms, that he will vote against him in 2012.
Russell Sherman is a Harvard graduate with all the talent and drive that goes with the territory. Why has he spent forty years fishing? I asked him, and he told me that upon graduation, he wanted to be independent, on his own in someplace scenic and fun. He chose Gloucester and ended up going fishing because he needed the money. He has been fishing ever since, and not without tragedy. The vessel he was in sank off the coast of Maine in November 1978. Two crewmates were lost, two others rescued, and then Russell, at death's door, was
- plucked from the small rowboat he had clung to for 14 hours.
There is something in the psyche of some individuals that makes them fishermen, seemingly through no choice of their own. Russ speaks of the majesty, the grandeur of the sea, and his personality sparkles and his eyes shine. You cannot, in good conscience, ask this hardworking man to give up his life's work so that some
- bloated bureaucrat can make a fortune selling fishing rights.
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."
Comments to AT article
Well it proves a degree from Harvard does not make one smarter than a high-school dropout. I did not get my degree from one of the overpriced liberal bastions, but I knew better than vote for the community organizer, Mr. Obeyme. I have learned a long time ago that hope will get you nothing.
This breaks my heart. The bureauocrats are doing everything in their power to completely eliminate all small businesses. It's easier to control when there are fewer of them. We need to wake up and smell the coffee and elect people to begin dismantling these empires.
So, you have the ripe opportunity of black marketing looming ahead on the sea. A Banana Republic is full of black markets. No stone unturned ; these goons in government have been working on their plan of destruction of the free market system for years and years. It will take years to undo the multi-layered bureaucracies little barry and his minions have been so busy setting up in the U.S. over the past several years....The myriad of damage currently being wrought by presidential orders and the constant appointment of czars is startling and scary.
Where's Barney? He was supposed to be helping the fishermen of New Bedford. Guess that fell by the wayside, eh? He was NOT going to vote for anything Obama wanted until he addressed the situation of the fishing industry...idiots here keep voting for idiots in power and this is what they get...a big fat nothing! This has nothing to do with "green" energy or high speed rail so it's not on his "to do" list...it's really too bad because a way of life in New England is disappearing...Obama doesn't care.......and apparently neither does Barney care about the people who voted for him....
If you're for smaller government, less government interference and freedom, then you are for catch shares http://washingtonexaminer.com/... Catch shares are defined by a transition away from government control over to control by fishermen.
Bailouts and waste defined the old system before catch shares that Mike Johnson seems to be yearning for. Consolidation and fishermen gong out of business are nothing new. It went on for many years under the old system. There's a proposal now that would impose consolidation limits on the industry. If that's what you want, then go ahead and support it, but it's a limit on free enterprise. You can't have your cake and eat it too.
In response to wreckfish: (by the author)
The article by Mr. Cooper that you link is the idealized propaganda being pushed by EDF and NOAA. It is not wrong, it just is not what is being implemented.
In September 2010, The Washington Examiner ran their “Big Green Special Report,” an ambitious five-day 25 article series. One article was “An Iron Triangle Based in NOAA is Killing the U.S. Fishing Industry” by Ron Arnold. The direct link is not active but Saving Seafood referenced the piece. The article discussed the synergy between NOAA and EDF. Follow the links to Nils Stolpe in my article today (above) for insight into the problem.
Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute took exception to Mr. Arnold’s piece in an op-ed titled “Fish Enough for All.” A few days later, Mr. Murray wrote a second op-ed retracting his first. ...As happened with what became cap-and-trade in energy policy, the left has taken a good idea and perverted it so that it is a ghastly parody of the free market institution.
On 12 March 2011 Mr. Murray and co-author Dennis Grabowski ran an op-ed titled “What’s the catch with NOAA’s catch-shares program?” I quote:
Implemented properly, catch-shares are allocated as individual fishing quotas, which give fishermen a property right in the stocks they fish. This gives them an incentive to ensure that fish stocks stay healthy and grow, as has happened in Iceland and New Zealand, for example.
However, that is not the model NOAA has followed. American fishermen have no property rights. Moreover, the total allowable catch has been set far below the level needed to sustain fisheries.
There is little correlation between what is published by NOAA and reality.
"Mr. President, we desperately need your leadership." There's the rub. You foolishly asked for HIS leadership and that’s exactly what you got: nada. The fishing industry in New England is a long and storied tradition. There was a time when Washington was ignoring the pleas of the fishermen to stop over-fishing on our shores by the huge factory ships of the USSR with their small mesh nets. Now the victims are the enemy requiring the scrutiny of full time guards. The great experiment is failing fast.
Today 02:56 PM
Small business is the real free market at work. You don't find much crony capitalism here and there in lies the rub. Our current president does not know a thing about small business other than it they are hard to control unless you regulate them to death. By over regulating anything you drive the cost up dramatically. Can anyone reading stories like this really believe that Barack Obama is
- trying to create anything other than government jobs!...
New England states can handle the fishing regulations since the people there know the industry for 400 years. Central Government has to be small in nature because it has no local knowledge. Local knowledge never seems to make its way back to D.C. Republic of states, with small central government is the only viable solution."
Computer models used by government, in the following case Canada's, to predict fish populations have proven grossly inaccurate:
Canada Fisheries and Oceans experts' catastrophic mismanagement sees 34 million fish come in from the sea to Canada's Fraser River. Commercial fishermen had been sent to dry dock, so there aren't enough fishermen to catch the fish.
- 9/3/10, "Canada Sees Shock Salmon Glut," Nature News, Macmillan Publishing, K. Larkin
- is taking fisheries scientists by surprise — and causing frustration across the fishing industry,
- which is largely unable to access the windfall."...
8/24/10, "Fishermen aim Vineyard Haven Protest at Obama" Boston Herald, by Richard Gaines of Gloucester Daily Times
2/17/11, "Unfortunately, since you (CBS) put this piece in the can, the Secretary of Commerce has reneged on his pledge to review previous fines and
- has severely limited the Special Master's scope of remedies."...
- 2/17/11, "CBS News takes NOAA Fisheries Management to the woodshed," AT, Mike Johnson
12/18/08, "Lubchenco will helm National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration," Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin
- 6/28/10, "Getting help from the press," Gloucester Times, Nancy Gaines, Lubchenco founded a group to train global warming scientists to use media to shape government policy.
- (Following recent investigation of NOAA, the US Inspector General was met by a lack of cooperation from NOAA counsel Lois Schiffer, a Lubchenco hire).
- "Congressional reaction to the (US Inspector General's) IG's report has been angry and varied.
- sell off the cars and boats and other unauthorized purchases and fund fishermen who were unjustly or excessively fined and whose fishing seasons have been shortened."
"The IG's report discredits the whole rotten operation," Congressman (Barney) Frank said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
Frank and Tierney, who represents Gloucester and much of the North Shore,
- last week sought the firing or resignation of Lubchenco, who was appointed to head NOAA by President Obama and who, in turn, named Schiffer to be chief counsel. " (Frank and Tierney have since called off their request at the urging of President Obama, following).
Frank late last week said
- the White House had promised him the changes he sought could be achieved
- without costing Lubchenco her job.
But North Carolina's Jones raised further questions Tuesday.
- "If (Lubchenco's) not going to step down, the administration needs to explain why, and somebody needs to answer not only to fishermen but to the taxpayers," said Jones, who represents the fleet along the Outer Banks. "There is something amiss here and it needs to be thoroughly vetted."
Jones and most East Coast federal lawmakers of both parties have announced agreement with Ouellette's position that past miscarriages of justice must be rectified....
- Ouellette wrote to Schiffer his "complete disagreement with your position that the abusive NOAA enforcement cases of the past
- should remain intact .."....
- Abuses of NOAA have gone on for many years. Today's reality is NOAA is more influential than ever but headed by an entrenched bureaucrat who has stonewalled clean-up of sickening and massive fraud. People should be in jail, not rewarded with a cushy government job for life:
- there would be no looking back or effort to rectify past miscarriages of justice.
NOAA has also fought against Freedom of Information Act requests by the Times seeking official clarification of whether Jones (who shredded documents) remains on the federal payroll.
- Lubchenco did not respond to an invitation to comment Thursday, but NOAA released a statement saying the agency "expected this review, appreciates the level of detail it provides and is evaluating the data and results carefully."...
UN thinks fishing is 'perverse'
2/21/11, "Green economies for growth, urges UN," BBC
"Governments have a central role in changing laws and policies, and in investing public money in public wealth to make the transition possible," said Pavan Sukhdev, head of the
- UN Environment Programme's (Unep) Green Economy Initiative.
"From phasing down and phasing out the $600bn global fossil fuel subsidies,
- to re-directing more than $20bn subsidies perversely rewarding
- those in unsustainable fisheries."
UNEP defined a "green economy" as one that resulted in "improved human well-being and
- social equity..."...