"Some of the hottest journalistic action is still in following the money. But don't look to your local newspaper, newsmagazine or public radio station for enlightenment, because the money trails today often radiate from a handful of the nation's wealthiest "charitable" foundations, and end with those media outlets themselves." (Robert Fritchey - author of Wetland Riders)





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A directory of all past Another Perspective columns and the earliest editions of FishNet USA are available here.

For information on who's getting what to control fishing in U.S. waters, visit the "Big Green Money Machine" website here.

"All things being equal, this could just be passed off as business – and government ineptitude - as usual. However, when tens of millions of dollars in donations by mega-foundations with “marine conservation” agendas that are looked at skeptically by so many in the fishing industry are thrown into the mix, should this be considered as just more business as usual or does it warrant a much closer look?"

An examination of several recent initiatives to have fish and seafood suppliers in the United States provide sustainability certification to the products that they provide abd some not-so-obvious connections between and among the involved organizations,  Seafood certification - who's really on first? is available at http://www.fishnet-usa.com/SeafoodCertification.pdf.

"A looming problem in both the Mid-Atlantic and New England is a pending cutback in the sea scallop quota for the next fishing year that at this point is expected to approach 40%. While the effects of a cut of this magnitude will obviously be significant to the scallop fleet, there will be not so obvious but potentially devastating effects on the other fisheries and on fishing communities as well."

This is a follow-up a year after the FishNet issue on the overall state of our domestic fisheries (see http://www.fishnet-usa.com/After 35 years of NOAA.pdf). While there has been an upsurge in the value of landings nationally, in the Northeast (the Mid-Atlantic and New England) there is trouble looming on the horizon. The FishNet piece Fisheries Management–More Than Meets The Eye is available on the American Institute for Fisheries Research Biologists website at http://www.aifrb.org/ and in a pdf version at http://www.fishnet-usa.com/HowWeDoing_Prt2.pdf.

 "As was so convincingly demonstrated by the complete recovery of the swordfish stocks in spite of continued harvesting by the longline fleet, Pew science as voiced by Pew scientists was then far from the last word in the world of fisheries management. That hasn’t changed. Nor has their strategy. The same hackneyed messages of doom and gloom by the same overwrought scientists are presented as if they represent the main stream of fisheries research."

In Bluefin tuna and Pew, here we go again a Pew campaign to reduce the catch of Western Atlantic bluefin tuna today is contrasted with a similar Pew campaign which was organized to "save" the North Atlantic swordfish from the supposed depredations of the pelagic longline fleet. Needless to say, the Pew people's dire predictions and skewed science proved to be totally inaccurate, the longline fleet remained in the fishery and today the stock is fully rebuilt. But the Pew people keep on trying. The full FishNet piece is at http://www.fishnet-usa.com/Bluefin tuna and Pew.pdf.

- But what about the thirty-six percent of the fish stocks that hasn’t rebounded? The landings for cod, yellowtail flounder, haddock, white hake and winter flounder charted above plainly show that fishing on these stocks can’t be reduced much farther than it has been, but they are still declining. Can any conclusion be drawn from this other than that there are other sources of mortality for thirty-six percent of the fisheries that NRDC examined that far outweigh fishing mortality? -

The fourth FishNet on the condition of the New England groundfish fishery, the ongoing crisis, and the (non-fishing) factors that have contributed to its creation and perpetuation - The New England groundfish debacle (Part IV): Is cutting back harvest really the answer? at http://fishnet-usa.com/Groundfish_Debacle_IV.pdf.

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Oceans are large, they are constantly changing, they are affected by all sorts of human activities and natural phenomena, and most of what goes on in them is hidden to us. Unless you're someone who makes a living dealing with the oceans at some level, your primary source of information vis a vis fishing, habitat degradation, etc. is the popular media. Unfortunately, today's journalists, producers and editors are poorly equipped, either via education, background or budget, to appreciate how complex ocean and fisheries issues actually are. Hence reporting on ocean issues - and the vast majority of the public's understanding of them - suffers greatly from today's soundbite culture. Poorly documented (or completely undocumented) press releases, supposed independent researchers bought and paid for by agenda-driven foundations, recreational fishing columnists who are little more than industry shills, short-sighted politicians whose interests extend no farther than keeping narrowly focused pressure groups happy, and competition among user groups are all conspiring to obscure what's really going on in the world's oceans today. Our goal is to present the "other side" of the picture, to do the research that isn't being done, and to - in the words of Watergate's Deep Throat - "follow the money." We need rational ocean policies, and we're never going to have them if our decision makers, and the public they are serving, don't fully appreciate what's going on.  


Earthjustice just announced a lawsuit in which it is representing several small recreational fishing groups, claiming that by the Council's declining to move ahead with Amendment 15 to the Mackerel, Squid and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan, NMFS is not providing adequate measures to "protect*" blueback herring and alewife and American and Hickory shad." This is in spite of the fact that both the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and NMFS fully explained their reasons for proceeding as they have been and extending assurances that the management provisions now in place would adequately protect both river herring and shad (http://www.fishnet-usa.com/Flotsam and jetsam_13.pdf)

Contact Nils Stolpe or get on the FishNet USA mailing list by contacting me at nilsstolpe@fishnet-usa.com

Did they really write that?

"Daniel Pauly, the director of the Fisheries Center at the University of British Columbia and a noted expert on global fishing trends, cites the example of the earliest anglers, Stone Age peoples in Africa who eradicated a six-foot-long catfish 90,000 years ago and then moved on to another animal. 'This pattern,' Pauly says, of fishermen 'exterminating the population upon which they originally relied, and then moving on to other species, has continued ever since.'" (The Catch, P. Greenberg, NY Times, 10/23/05)

 "In the developing world, entire countries depend on fishing. If fishing is doing what we say, then essentially, there is no tomorrow for them. We can expect that in a few decades there will be no fish left." (Daniel Pauly quoted in In A Few Decades, There Will Be No Fish, D. Jones, The Toronto Globe and Mail, 10/29/05)

 '"I realized one has to work through the public and the conservation community," he (Daniel Pauly) said, adding that he has received international notice partly because he is not "one of the gloomies." While other scientists deliver dire messages about the state of the world, he says, "I always laugh, because it's so absurd that it is funny. People think [others are] gloomy, and they know I am saying the same thing, but they don't put me among the gloomies.'" (In the same Globe and Mail article cited above)

Unless Dr. Pauly means something other than crepe hangers when he refers to "gloomies," not only is he one of them; as his words demonstrate so precisely, he might be considered a charter member of the club.