Sinking the Fleet



No, not the US Navy.  Other people are doing that.  Sinking the New England fishing fleet.  Which is a 350-year old industry, among the oldest in the land.    Sinking it not with weapons of war or A2AD technology, but by something far more destructive.  Gummint regulation.  The Associated Press tells us the story.

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.

Another industry damaged to the point of ruin by Government over-regulation.   For Mr. Bullard’s part, his is a now-familiar refrain that science has proven beyond question that the Government and the environmentalists who populate it are correct.

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

Like Global Warming, perhaps.   Which became “Climate Change” when they could no longer hide the evidence that the globe was, in fact, not warming.   The climate is changing, of course, and has been for nearly 4.6 billion years, give or take.   But it opens up a whole new list of conditions that can be blamed on Capitalism and mankind, and then “proven” with the shoddy and fraudulent pseudo-science of the Environmentalist Far Left.  Not a new technique.   Just another example of the old terminology bait-and-switch, like substituting “Violent Extremists” for “Muslim Extremists”.

Unfortunately, NOAA has become heavily politicized, the de facto scientific justification mouthpiece for the EPA and other  environmentalist groups bent on stifling industry with regulations.   In all of its prognostications, here’s betting that neither NOAA nor the New England Fisheries Management Council can answer the most basic and important question:

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.

If NEFMC and NOAA have been so consistently wrong in the past several years, what on earth would give me confidence that they are close to being right now, insisting upon regulations that will eviscerate the centuries-old crucial New England fishing industry and all the economic benefits derived from it?    (See: Snail Darter, Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, melting ice caps, Nepalese glacier retreat.)

Never fear, however.   Gib Brogan, he (presumably) of the environmental group Oceanahas it all figured out.

Gib Brogan of the environmental group Oceana said too many boats have been chasing too few fish for too long. Industry downsizing will is actually “right-sizing,” he said, and when those fish come back in greater numbers, the industry will figure out how to benefit.

Perhaps Gib and the rest of Oceana can come up with the money to keep the New England seacoast fishing industry from disappearing.   But one has to wonder whether they have the same concern for people as they do for cod and haddock.

In other news, the economy shrank last quarter by 0.1%, and unemployment claims shot higher.  And we haven’t even begun to see Obamacare’s impact.    I can’t wait.

3 thoughts on “Sinking the Fleet”

  1. I have the answer!! It’s true! They (Gummint regulation) will correct the deficiency to consumers with the cousins of the almost FDA approved genetically modified salmon!

  2. I am not sure I want to trust someone named “Gib”. That sounds like a progeny of a wealthy Mass family, educated in environmental pseudo science at an Ivy. It would be like trusting a “Biff”, or a “Muffy”.

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