Friday, December 11, 2009

Fish for Friday - Obama to Turn Fish into Derivatives for Loafers

The first two years I fished commercially in Alaska, 1973 and 1974, were the "interim" years for the new Limited Entry program by the State of Alaska. I watched the beginning of what has slowly morphed into the "Catch Share" program. From 1974 through 1979 I bought into the program as an Area E permit holder. So much has changed in the 30 years since then.

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.


Anonymous said...

Some day, with luck, you will make a statement about fishery policy that rises above the simplistic and sophomoric rhetoric you use in this post. You sound an awful lot like Sarah Palin when you babble on fisheries issues about which you know very little.

Philip Munger said...

anon @ 8:47,

Easy enough claim to make, but pretty worthless without explaining what it is you mean.

alaskapi said...

Sorry anony-
You're the one who sounds like SP. Family members attended a talk she gave on fishing issues and they and all the folks around them agreed she had said nothing when she left...
Even when I don't agree with Phil , he puts it out there and invites comments and discussion... remarks like yours add NOthing.

I am unconvinced that fisheries as managed now are sustainable and not heartened by the direction NOAA is heading now. Don't think is going to add anything positive to the mix.

We all know unregulated fishing doesn't work but the catch share thingy has some real drawbacks and we do NOT talk about them.

Also, I am bummed that the UFA doesn't even want to entertain a real look at fisheries on the Bering Sea in relationship to each other - per MSC certification coming up- MORE head-in-the-mudflat behavior?

harpboyAK said...

The reason the UFA will do nothing is that they were co-opted several years ago by Bobby Thorstenson & his buddies, including Ben Stevens.

alaskapi said...

I know harpboy...
I know.
And meanwhile we are looking at certifications which help market AK fish which are based on horsepunky...
or something akin to it.