September 30, 2011
Cape Ann Beacon, WickedLocal.com
A wonderful opportunity is presented to the distinguished panel composed of Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Scott Brown, and Congressmen John Tierney, Barney Frank, and William Keating for a fisheries hearing to be held on October 3 at the State House. Without putting too fine a point on it, this might be the last opportunity for the United States to save the family fishing fleet and its culture. To catch this opportunity the panel might want to explore the following three issues.
Issues for Dr. Lubchenko
As NOAA Administrator, when will you stop assaulting the family fishing fleet and go after the big corporations that are indeed doing the overfishing – often with improper fishing technology? This is an open and shut case. Whatever damage is done by the family fishing fleet is miniscule and is amenable to change. Our fishermen have adopted one improved technology after another; often at their own suggestion.
You are instead disregarding the effects of the large – national and international – corporations and concentrating your efforts on the family fishing fleet aimed at eliminating the small boats and favoring the large boats.
The large boats are necessarily going to cause more ecological damage than the small boats. Thus we do not understand why you do not see that your policies are working at cross-purposes with your hoped-for ecological goals.
Neither do we understand why you do not see that your policies are working at cross-purposes with our hoped-for national policies of creating jobs.
The jobs your policies are destroying are costing our communities dearly in increased welfare costs, lost income, and increased balance of payments deficit. Besides, the jobs you should allow to be created by changing your policies will not cost the taxpayer one cent.
There is one way for you to be convinced of the need to mend your ways. Do not stop at the bookish analysis of the benefits of privatization. Do look at the costs. Do look at all the costs.
Dr. Lubchenko, these are the substantive intellectual issues we urge you to tackle starting tomorrow. You will find that, if you successfully solve them, you are going to solve a host of issues of plain administrative justice that are currently plaguing your agency.
A NOTE. The neglect of accounting for true and complete list of costs is not peculiar to the fisheries. It goes across the board. You can see the pattern in the financial industry, and the local retail industry, and the nuclear industry, and Big Pharma, and the agriculture industry, and the communications industry, and the waterworks industry. It is a very broad cultural issue. Yet, the issue is not hopeless. It is an issue that can be solved by attacking its roots at any one of the above points. As with all tipping points, the rest follows automatically.
Issues for Dr. Richard Merrick (by late invitation or by telephone)
ou are new as Chief Science Advisor for NOAA Fisheries. You have a blank personal slate. Will you call upon true fisheries science to leave a wonderful heritage on your résumé? The first issue to look into is the predator/prey model of the behavior of the biomass. All the best science of the moment, as you certainly know, is showing that the food chain is not linear but chaotic. If there is a system, the system is composed of the predator/prey model, which teaches these lessons: overfishing is done not be the family fishing fleet but the natural predators of fish (as well as the large corporations).
The model shows a moveable feast. The predators of today are the prey of tomorrow. The most significant interplay occurs between bottom fish and pelagics.
Once you incorporate this model into your scientific investigations you will conclude that all the hardship imposed by the draconian regulations of the last thirty or so years on the family fishing fleet have been unnecessary. The current rejuvenation of bottom fish stocks has been due, not to the application of arbitrary regulations, but to the elimination of herring and mackerel by the efforts of private industry.
And regulations are now being advocated to restrict the operations of these corporations!
Dr. Merrick, these are the substantive intellectual issue we urge you to tackle starting tomorrow. You will find that, if you successfully solve them, you are going to solve a host of issues involved with the administration of plain science that are currently plaguing your agency.
Issues for Fishermen
When will you start realizing that you are all in the same boat and that the ocean is big enough to accommodate all your needs? Instead, one group tends to fight the other. It is the traditional way of life among fishermen. Well, stop it.
There is no other way to stop the onslaught under which you are living today. Fishermen unite! The differences among yourselves are small. Neglect them. Look at the larger picture as well as the long term picture. If you do this you will realize that you are the victim of powerful, misguided, shortsighted interests that keep you separate from each other.
You can win a small victory, if you fight among yourselves. You might even get a grant or two from the greens and even from the government. But you will lose the war.
Fishermen, this is the substantive intellectual issue we urge you to tackle starting tomorrow. You will find that, if you successfully solve it, you are going to solve a host of political issues that are currently plaguing your life.
Senator Kerry, distinguished fisheries panel, you can observe the fisheries industry slipping down the path that destroyed the family farm. Or you can try to clarify much intellectual confusion that goes on today and enforce true American values of economic freedom and justice for all, as well as personal and community enrichment.
Carmine Gorga is president of The Somist Institute. He is the author of numerous publications in economic theory and policy. He blogs at http://me-a-new-economic-atlas-and-you/