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New York Times Dishonest in Support of Catch Shares, National Ocean Policy

Photo from Asbury Park Press

Big surprise. The New York Times (NYT) supports Catch Shares and the National Ocean Policy and believes “House Republicans do not much care about” fish and oceans.

The NYT makes that accusation because Republicans have led the campaign to deny funding for these Big-Government schemes that would limit access and tell us where we can and cannot fish.

But hey, NYT, Democrats also supported the amendment to limit Catch Shares. Among the more notable: Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York.

 Do they not care either?

 Of course, the NYT is entitled to its opinion. But supporting that opinion with half-truths, inaccuracies, and intentional omissions is dishonest.

It also says that “most commercial fishermen” support Catch Shares, which privatizes a public resource by allotting “shares” of a fish stock to individuals. If the newspaper said “some” or even “many,” I wouldn’t argue. But “most” simply is not true.

Catch Shares is an extremely controversial issue among commercial fishermen and recreational anglers alike. Those who oppose it believe that it will limit participation, while doing little to conserve fisheries. On the commercial side, a few big operators eventually would dominate, much as has happened with agriculture. And when applied to recreational fisheries, Catch Shares would deny growth to that sector by freezing its "share."

And here’s the part that I like best from this dishonest appraisal:

“Also caught in this anti-regulation slipstream was President Obama’s National Ocean Policy, a White House effort to address ocean-related issues, ranging from municipal water pollution to wetlands preservation, that are now spread over 20 agencies operating under more than 140 laws. Republicans saw this blameless attempt to coordinate policy as a threat to jobs and pet programs, and voted to prohibit the use of federal dollars to carry it out.”

Did you note use of the word “blameless,” implying noble intentions on the part of the Obama Administration? And how about the lie that the policy simply is intended to “coordinate policy”?

In fact, the National Ocean Policy establishes a huge bureaucracy that would decide what we can do where on public waters. It’s not about coordinating; it’s about control.

And here is how it would be done:

A 27-member National Ocean Council, an 18-member Governance Coordinating Committee, and 9 Regional Planning Bodies, each involving as many as 27 federal agencies, as well as states and tribes.

In this structure, nameless regulators would set 8 National Priority Objectives, 9 Strategic Action Plans, 7 National Goals for Coastal Marine Spatial Planning, and 12 Guiding Principles for Coastal Marine Spatial Planning.

Those who oppose Catch Shares and the National Ocean Policy, both Republicans and Democrats, do care about fish and oceans. They just don’t want them micro-managed by preservationist environmental groups using the Obama Administration as their surrogate.

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