"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.

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.

That's not real grass, it's Astroturf, and so are the roots - "The minority staff of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works recognized in the just released report The Chain of Environmental Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA what they termed a 'Billionaires Club' which has gained access to “a close knit network of like minded funders, environmental activists, and government bureaucrats who specialize in manufacturing phony ‘grassroots’ movements and in promoting bogus propaganda disguised as science and news…."

With all of the attention on Magnuson reauthorization, supposed fishermen seem to be crawling out of the woodwork claiming to speak for the commercial fishing industry. Would you believe that some of those "fishermen" and some of those organizations are shilling for ENGOs and/or mega-foundations who will apparently stop at nothing to destroy the domestic fishing industry as it exists today? Read the current FishNet-USA, Your roots are showing, at http://fishnet-usa.com/RootsAreShowing.pdf

It was back in August 1997 that Pew Environmental Program Director Joshua Reichert wrote in an op-ed article titled Swordfish technique depletes the swordfish population printed in the Philadelphia Inquirer "the root problem is not only the size of the quota, the length of the season, or the number of vessels involved. It is how the fish are caught. Use of longlines must be barred...." How legitimate was Mr. Reichert’s and his minions’ commitment to saving swordfish and to ending longlining, the principal method developed for their harvest? Obviously that’s information that I’m not privy to, but consider that in a 1998 article in the St. Petersburg Times (FL), titled En Garde for Swordfish (http://www.fishtruth.net/PDF/SpruillSwordfish.pdf), reporter Bill Duryea detailed the SeaWeb strategy behind the Give Swordfish A Break campaign. "The first thing (SeaWeb Executive Director) Vikki Spruill did when she went looking for a fish to save did not have to do with fish at all," Duryea wrote. Having decided that the most effective way to "engage the public interest" in ocean problems was through the food on their plate, "Spruill” Duryea wrote "needed a certain kind of fish. A poster fish, if you will. Shrimp and salmon rank at the top of the most popular seafoods, but half of the shrimp and salmon sold in the United States are farm-raised, tempering their status as overfished. Besides, shrimp lack a certain weightiness. 'We wanted something majestic,' said Spruill. Number 3 on the popularity list, according to Spruill, was swordfish, whose firm-fleshed steaks had become a mainstay of fashionable restaurants across the country."

In spite of Josh Reichert's and Pew's best efforts to the contrary, the U.S. pelagic longline fleet is still fishing in the Northwest Atlantic and Blue Water Fishermen's Association, its leadership and its members are still involved in what is almost a quarter of a century worth of efforts to make their fishery a model of sustainability. For the highlights of their efforts see Blue Water Fishermen's Association - Raising the conservation bar for almost a quarter of a century at http://www.fishnet-usa.com/BWFA_25 Years.pdf.

In a somewhat tortured analogy Mr. Shelley equates the overharvest in Area 1B to driving 104 mph in a 65 mph speed zone.” From the perspective of the two areas where Georges Bank and Gulf of Maine stocks of Atlantic herring mix, 1B and 2, and using the same analogy, the under-harvest in the two areas combined would be the equivalent of driving 32 mph in a 65 mph speed zone. That’s hardly the potentially catastrophic picture that he was trying to paint. (I’ve always felt that relevant data should be presented in as comprehensive a manner as is possible. While it might not seem as dramatic, it allows readers to more fully and accurately understand what’s really going on out there.)

In a blog the Conservation Law Foundation's Peter Shelley characterized the people involved in New England's Atlantic herring fishery as "pathological" because of the fact that they exceeded their quota in one area in spite of them not being in any way, shape or form responsible for closing the fishery down when the quota is exceeded. In Atlantic herring - lots of smoke but where’s the fire? Mr. Shelley's blog is put into the proper perspective. Read it at http://www.fishnet-usa.com/Herring%20Smoke.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.