"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.

 "For the past several years, fanned by what’s going on in modern Russia, there has been a lot of interest by the media in oligarchs and oligarchies.  Defined as “a country, business, etc., that is controlled by a small group of people” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary), an oligarchy would seem to be the antithesis of government as Lincoln envisioned it. But along with the foregoing, follow some of the links below and then consider the influence Pew has in or over the domestic fisheries management system (and on fisheries management in other countries as well). And consider as well that thirteen people wield all that power. Of those thirteen people seven are in the founder’s family and at least twelve have significant ties to Sun Oil/Sunoco and/or the private bank that was formed to administer the trusts established with Sun Oil/Sunoco stock. You decide!

To the extent that multi-billion dollar foundations such as Pew continue to have their way by mounting campaigns that any of the affected groups can’t afford to effectively counter, and by exerting influence in Washington that few in the private sector are capable of, the folks at the St. Augustine Lighthouse Museum who think the people can’t change government will be justified. And the rest of us, those of us who know that Lincoln had it right at Gettysburg, will be increasingly marginalized."

For most of the past two decades the Pew Charitable Trusts have been playing an increasingly dominant role in how - and to what end - our fisheries are managed in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (and in the fisheries of other nations as well). Backed by a multi-billion dollar endowment, the Trusts and their thirteen member Board have directly or indirectly (through many millions of dollars in grants to selected "fishermens" organizations, ENGOs, academic institutions, on their own and with "hired help") impacted fishery after fishery, and those impacts have largely been negative. In Who's really in charge of U.S. fisheries? at http://www.fishnet-usa.com/Of For By the People.pdf I examine the relationship between the Pew Trusts and fisheries and ocean governance.

"It doesn’t matter that overfishing in U.S. waters is no longer a concern. It doesn’t matter that increasing ocean temperatures are affecting the “sustainability” of our fisheries to a much greater extent that overfishing ever has. It doesn’t matter that they are increasingly focused on what are nothing more than token fishing issues like saving deepwater corals, saving forage fish, completely eliminating bycatch or protecting huge areas of natural ocean through Marine Protected Areas (which are generally protected only from fishing). The sum total is fewer fish landed and at greater cost to the fishermen every year.... The bucks keep rolling in, the misinformation those bucks buy continues to influence the public and the non-coastal politicians, the lawsuits those bucks fund continue to put our fishermen out of business, the anti-fishing bureaucracies continue to grow and the anti-fishing salaries continue to increase."

In Their careers and their futures depend on attacking fishermen and fishing. What more can we expect from them? I address the ever more trivial exercises that anti-fishing organizations and individuals are pursuing in order to keep their Blame it all on fishing band wagon rolling along and to keep their coffers overflowing. That's a natural condition for a successful bureaucracy to be in, because few of the people involved would be willing to call it a day while there was still money to be grubbed, regardless of how irrelevant their original mission has become. The full FishNet is at http://www.fishnet-usa.com/Living down to expectations.pdf

"If the populations of most marine mammals and other highly efficient predators such as spiny dogfish have increased significantly over the past decade or three it’s obvious their predation, the largest part of natural mortality, inflicted on their prey species would have increased correspondingly. Yet is this factored into fisheries management programs? It appears not. It appears as if, as is apparently the case in New England, controlling fishing mortality is the only “effective” method (which really means “is the only easily available method”) by which managers assume that they can affect total mortality. Fisheries managers have to do something, because the whole fisheries management system is predicated on managing or on appearing to manage fisheries. So the natural mortality of a stock increases because of increasing predation and at this point, given research funding limits as well as limits on what we know about predation, the only way that the managers can compensate, which they are required to do by federal legislation and forced to do by a handful of mega-foundation funded ENGOs with huge bank accounts and droves of lawyers, is by reducing fishing mortality. What comes immediately to mind is a snake busily at work eating its own tail."

In the FishNet Dogfish and seals and dolphin, oh my! I consider predation by several groups of voracious marine animals on our most valuable fisheries and the fact that neither our management system system nor federal laws allow it to be handled effectively, in fact making any claims that we are advancing towards true Ecosystem Based Management at best mistaken and at worst purposefully misleading. It's posted here in Adobe Acrobat format at http://www.fishnet-usa.com/Dogfish and seals and dolphin.pdf.

They’re still so wrapped up in their “fishing is bad” agenda that they’ve started to argue that even if the new and improved science shows that there are a lot more bluefin tuna in the western Atlantic than was previously believed, precaution demands that the quotas remain where they are, because the scientists might not be right. But why wouldn’t they? The future of the foundation-funded claque depends ostensibly on there being crises to fix, and if there aren’t any real crises, why not manufacture one or several, ‘cause that’s what keeps the dollars rolling in.

In this Flotsam and Jetsam issue of FishNet the results of an FDA study of mislabelling fish in the domestic market, the dismal state of the integration of fishermen's knowledge into management and some really good news about the status of the Western Atlantic bluefin tuna stock are discussed. It's available at http://www.fishnet-usa.com/Flotsam_Jetsam2014.pdf.

It’s about time that an objective group take a close and thorough look at the undue level of scrutiny that fishermen are forced to endure and determine what that scrutiny is actually accomplishing. It doesn’t seem to make fisheries management any more effective, though it does make the management of the fishermen who are trying to survive a lot easier – because it’s going to guarantee that there will be less fishermen fishing. And the constantly reinforced message that without 24/7 scrutiny the fishermen are going to cheat makes them seem as deserving recipients of whatever the next step is going to be.

"Monitoring" fishermen is becoming increasingly burdensome and increasingly intrusive. Compared to other professions is this level of scrutiny required to protect the public health or the marine environment? In Monitoring fishermen - sampling or sentencing (http://www.fishnet-usa.com/SamplingOrSentencing.pdf) these and other vital questions are considered.

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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.