The Pie Analogy – Fleet consolidation and loss of fishing jobs a hot topic at MSA hearing

Senator Dan Sullivan brought his Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard to Soldotna on Wednesday for a hearing on the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. One theme was addressed by many of the dozen invited experts who testified. Fleet consolidation is a predictable outcome of limited access privilege fisheries, or LAPs in the acronym-filled parlance of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, or MSA. A limited access fishery is one that has been privatized in some way. For example, in the Bering Sea, the crab fishery was rationalized more than 10 years ago, resulting in a fleet today that is just a fraction the size it was before privatization.,,, In his testimony, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten asked that Congress not take any action that would further consolidation. click here to read the story 08:32

  • David L. Allison

    Many of us tried to warn the fishing communities about some of the costs of consolidation of ITQs back in the Sablefish and Halibut days. But we were ignored. It was clear to some that the increased resource rentals resulting from consolidation did far more for the banks and the large operators than it did for the distributed fisheries that made Alaska and New England communities sustainable. The 20th century privateers won with the support of neoliberals in Congress, the White House, the Commerce Department and neoliberal economists in Universities like URI and UW.

    Much like those captured by the Chicago and Northern Europe schools of economic theories, professors advocated for privatization of public trust assets, including fish and fisheries without concern for the fishemen, fishing families and fishing communities around the USA, North America and eventually, the world, bringing massive profits to the few and devastation to the many. Now, having awakended to the real destruction of hopes for sustainability, even the ‘winners’ are speaking out and calling for a reversal of the ITQ scam. Listen for the whining to begin in earnest if Congress begins to listen to those calling for a restoration of distributive fisheries.