Yesterday, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration announced the latest change. The announcement came as no surprise to the growing league to progressive critics to the links between current NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco and her former colleagues at the Pew Foundation's so-called environmental wing. Here's part of NOAA's national catch share policy announcement:
Catch share programs, which include Limited Access Privilege programs and individual fishing quotas, have been used in the U.S. since 1990 and are now used in 13 different commercial fisheries. Four new programs will begin over the next year. NOAA estimates that rebuilding U.S. fish stocks would increase annual commercial dockside values by an estimated $2.2 billion, a 54-percent increase over current dockside values of $4.1 billion, and help support jobs in the seafood industry and across the broader economy.
“From Florida to Alaska, catch share programs help fishing communities provide good jobs while rebuilding and sustaining healthy fisheries and ocean ecosystems,” said Dr. Jane Lubchenco, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Although this is a national policy, our emphasis is on local consideration and design of catch shares that take into consideration commercial and recreational fishing interests.”
What the announcement fails to inform us of is that the prime beneficiaries of this ramping up of an already abusive system will be a very few, very large fishing companies, many of them foreign-owned. They have already been deemed "too big to fail," as witnessed in the early 2009 North Pacific Fisheries Management Council meetings in Anchorage. These interests, given more shares, more ties to the Wall Street firms (some tied to the Pew family's interests) that will underwrite their huge purchases of pieces of what had been parts of the public domain, will use their bigger power to further distort scientific information about the health of the fisheries the system claims to be designed to restore.
This sucks. Just one more Obama administration sellout. And Sen. Mark Begich will probably soon be issuing a press release praising this further wresting of control of our fisheries from Alaska's coastal communities.