"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.

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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.

"In reality commercial fishermen and the people in every other business in the seafood supply chain are dedicated to producing the best possible product at the lowest possible price, as are any business owners engaged in producing products in a free market system. If they weren’t they wouldn’t be in business for very long, because there is a world’s worth of alternative center of the plate proteins competing for the US consumers’ dollars. On the other hand recreational fishermen aren’t buying fish when they go fishing, they are buying a recreational fishing experience, and the more pleasurable that experience is the more they are likely to spend. Within limits this isn’t determined by the amount of fish caught. Recreational fishermen aren’t driven by anything approaching the bottom-line constraints that commercial fishermen and others in the seafood supply chain face."

The American Sportfishing Association has a video on YouTube in which it's Executive Director claims that recreationally caught fish are more valuable to the economy than commercially caught fish. In Of gumballs, the American Sportfishing Association and fisheries management we present an alternative view. Read it at http://www.fishnet-usa.com/Gumballs.pdf.

"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.

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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.