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New Regulations Crush New England Fisheries

Even local Democrats are crying foul.

by
Patrick Richardson

Bio

January 9, 2012 - 12:00 am
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According to the New York Times, while the scientists claim the fish are in worse shape than thought, the men who actually catch the fish are seeing more, and there are conflicting studies as well:

Federal regulators are considering the unthinkable in New England: severely restricting — maybe even shutting down — cod fishing in the Gulf of Maine, from north of Cape Cod clear up to Canada. New data suggest that the status of the humble fish that has sustained the region for centuries is much worse than previously thought.

Fishermen insist that there are plenty of cod and that the real problem is fuzzy science. They say the data are grossly inconsistent, pointing to a 2008 federal report that concluded that Gulf of Maine cod, though historically overfished, were well on the way to recovery.

The man in charge of the catch-share program who was responsible for the devastation to the Northeastern fishing fleet, Dale Jones, was abruptly reassigned back in 2010 amid bipartisan pressure. While no official reason for his departure as the head of NOAA’s law enforcement has been given, it apparently had something to do with a document-shredding scandal.

According to an editorial in the Salem Times, everyone from Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (R) to Representative Barney Frank (D) are dumbfounded by fishing policy at NOAA. They quoted Brown as saying:

Just a few weeks ago, Administrator Lubchenco told us at a hearing in Boston that the fishing industry is on the rebound. That incredible statement demonstrated a total lack of understanding of the situation in Gloucester, New Bedford and across New England. I hoped that she would stick around to get the real facts from the fishermen and scientists assembled to testify after her. Instead, she left early.

The editorial continued:

[Brown’s] statement echoes the sentiments expressed by his Democratic colleagues, Sen. John Kerry and Congressmen John Tierney of Salem and Barney Frank, along with many others in this region.

According to a letter obtained by PJ Media, Reps John Tierney (D-MA) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) are both trying to find out exactly why Jones was reassigned:

“In 2010, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reassigned Dale Jones, the former head of the Office for Law Enforcement. We are writing to request a briefing regarding the rationale for this decision. Although the Privacy Act may prevent the Department from releasing some of this information publicly, the Department is authorized to release such information to Congress.”

PJ Media attempted to contact staffers for Tierney and his committee without success.

Once again, political and ideological agendas are driving policy within this administration. Environmentalist activists appointed to positions for which they have no background are deliberately destroying an industry and a way of life in order to further their own agendas. They are using the administration’s favorite tool, regulation, to do it.

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Patrick Richardson has been a journalist for almost 15 years and an inveterate geek all his life. He blogs regularly at www.otherwheregazette.com, which aims to be like another SF magazine, just not so serious.
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