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« Sport Fisheries Still in Hot Water as Heat, Drought Continue | Main | Team Up with Recycled Fish for Fish-a-Thon »

Why Is Catch Shares So Strongly Opposed? Here's Why:


One of the best arguments against Catch Shares that I’ve seen in awhile can be found in the comments section below a News Observer article here. The author is “DickyG.”

Catch Shares is a scheme pushed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and other environmental groups to manage ocean fisheries. They argue that is a “conservation” measure designed to sustain those fisheries.

In reality, Catch Shares would privatize a public resource, by granting “shares” to individual boats and companies. It is to fisheries what the failed and discredited “cap and trade” scheme pushed by this administration was for energy.

Under Catch Shares, eventually those with the deepest pockets would own the resource, as smaller businesses and independent fishermen are driven out of business. That is happening in New England, where the scheme already has been implemented.

Most of the focus, thus far, has been on commercial fisheries. But if the NOAA/EDF preservationists get their way, recreational fishing could also be restricted as Catch Shares are applied to “mixed” fisheries. That would mean one collective fixed share for the recreational sector, which would force limits on participation, deny growth, and cripple the economies of coastal communities dependent on sport fishing.

Here are some excerpts from DickyG’s comments:

"If catch shares are such a great cure for the fisheries, then why are the majority of the affected fishing communities, the fishermen, the shoreside businesses, Congressional oversight committees, a bipartisan Congressional delegation from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico and now some on the West Coast, the mayors, the governors, lawyers, judges, reporters, columnists, scientists, analysts and researchers, the DOC Inspector General, why are they all questioning, and most of them ultimately opposing, the Catch Shares scheme and the way it was imposed? 

"Is all this catch Shares resistance merely a conspiracy of deluded or ignorant individuals, a ‘...hotbed of whiners,’ or a well organized group of ‘itinerant alcoholic part-time drifter fishermen’? 

“Maybe it's the gobs of money that the fishermen are spending on media misinformation campaigns; or perhaps it's their grants to university departments to secure bogus agenda-driven ‘scientific’ propaganda articles that’s creating this catch share furor?”

Sarcasm alert. Actually, “gobs” of money is being spent by NOAA, EDF, etc. to prop up Catch Shares, including buying the support of some commercial fishermen and charter captains.

 “Or could it be that there is something very wrong with the fisheries management scheme of Catch Shares?

“The spending of tens (hundreds?) of millions of dollars pushing and defending and shoring up Catch Shares by NOAA and “partners” is a clear indicator that this management scheme is not working.  In fact, IT IS A DISASTER! 
“Rather than NOAA and “partners,” the Environmental Defense Fund and the Conservation Law Foundation, spending all those millions trying to defend this indefensible program, why not actually do some good in the world and put that money into a bit of ...conservation? 

“Perhaps the Gulf of Mexico could use some attention; or how about monitoring and stopping the pollution of the coastal estuarine fish rookeries, oil drilling pollution, ocean acidification, contributing to cooperative surveys for trustworthy stock assessments, or any project that would actually help the fish.  There are plenty of real conservation projects worthy of some of those millions that are now being wasted on spreading lies about catch shares.”

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