FISHERIES RANT FOR SUMMER READING: Volksverdummung’s Alive and Well in Fisheries

Volksverdummung’s Alive and Well in Fisheries:

The Germans call the stupefaction, misleading or brainwashing of the people ‘Volksverdummung’— which seems to be well-established in the seafood industry these days. It’s been largely ushered down the regulation-making aisles by a few greedy corporations and fishermen who feel entitled, and financially assisted by major conservation (allegedly) NGOs.

Especially in the Alaska zone, the Paradox of Plenty — the reflection of a Resource Curse, lives well, and profitably so for a few winners —and those winners continues to destroy thousands of jobs for captains and fishing crews. Certainly a few Congressmen settle for nickels in campaign contributions to ignore the rights of a majority of the People.

Especially when it comes to fisheries “Catch Shares” mentality (CS), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Alaska-focused North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) — despite access to information on global failures of privatizations of public resources — continues to betray a baffling ignorance of the subject matter under discussion.

Before I get into the dispossession of fisher family opportunities, incomes, wealth and rights caused by “Enclosure of the Commons” — privatization schemes such as catch shares — or into the abrogation of the promise that no American fisherman would be charged for the privilege rights to fish, and the postured shallowness of CS proponents who exploit fear and use disaster economic lies to exploit resources, why don’t we set up some thinking ground?!

Fisheries ‘Americanization’ Law Beginnings:

The Fisheries Conservation and Management Act of 1976, now called the Magnuson-Stevens Act, originally outlined that only Americans would fish inside our 200-mile economic zone, and more importantly that no American fisherman would be charged a fee for that right of access. Only foreign entities, processors, would be charged up to 3%, and the entire goal of the exercise was to Americanize our public fisheries under a stewardship right, manage it for economic benefits for the Nation, and manage for providing jobs and other benefits. Spirit and intent. Now violated by privatization.

Useful Quotes to Keep the Mind Unclouded:

Adam Smith reminded us that:

“Labor alone, never varying in its own value, is alone the ultimate and real standard by which the value of all commodities can at all times and places be estimated and compared.  [Labor] is their real price; money is their nominal price only.”

The internationally recognized visionary of Food and Development Policy, Raj Patel, points out:

“If one is looking to affix the word ‘tragedy’ of the commons, the nightmare did not begin with the creation of the commons, but with the process of their destruction, the process under which it was taken under private ownership.”

Patel also spoke about the real tragedy of once-multicrop diverse agriculture, on local sustainable lands, destructed by corporate monoculture agricultural privatizations sponsored by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund subsidies, in many countries.

Abraham Lincoln was unquestionably sure and unswerving about it:

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital.  Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed.  Labor is superior to capital, and deserves the much higher consideration.”

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council,

 “…argues polluters have long been trespassing on common property, and that this trespass is a form of subsidy that ought to end.”

Businessman Peter Barnes notes under a heading “The More the Merrier” that,

“Whereas private property is inherently exclusive, common property strives to be inclusive.  It always wants more co-owners or participants, consistent with preservation of the asset.”

Barnes offers solutions to Reinventing the Commons, and said:

“In the case of culture and science, enough means enough to assure a vibrant public domain.  Exclusive licenses … should be kept to a minimum.”

Peter Barnes & Thoughts on Public Resources:

Let’s take a few paragraphs to visit Peter Barnes’ book “Capitalism 3.0”: a guide to reclaiming the commons. Let’s take the common sense before the omen splashed with a lot of fear that proponents would use to scent their voodoo smoke.

Paraphrasing Barnes, “the requirement for us to manage common wealth , nature’s gifts, with future generations in mind. Markets don’t naturally do this. Assets in the commons are meant to be preserved regardless of their return to capital. John Locke noted that private property doesn’t exist in a vaccum; it exists in relationship to a commons, vis-à-vis which there are takings and leavings. Ownership isn’t the same as trusteeship. And regarding CSs, “the notion that the state promotes ‘the common good’ is sadly naïve.” Despite fishery statute requirements to provide for the net national benefit from USA ocean waters.

Fisheries are natural properties. Catch shares are artificial or acquired property—the invention of man. And when such commons birthrights are diminished by enclosure, there ought to be an “indemnification for that loss.” Yes, CS proponents should be charged market value — a significant portion of the present value of future profits. To compensate the Nation for its loss.

Likewise, actual fishermen should get quotas, not enterprises who would extract high rents and steal the fruits of labor, the investment crewmen made, akin to their historical participation right. We’ll talk Lay Share law further down, in brief. The primacy of capitalism distorts democracy in the case of natural, public trust resources.

In a meager 1968 essay, ecologist Garrett Hardin hyped “The Tragedy of the Commons” — and envisioned only two ways to save the commons: statism and privatism. But what of the Public Trust, and government serving as trustee of natural resources? It’s not an option for the state, but an affirmative duty. When enacting CS regimes, NMFS and RFMCs are failing in their duty.

Oh the misunderstood cruel eugenicist Garrett Hardin, “a University of California professor who until then was best-known as the author of a biology textbook that argued for “control of breeding” of “genetically defective” people. And as Ian Angus points out, “In short, Hardin didn’t describe the behaviour of herdsmen in pre-capitalist farming communities — he described the behaviour of capitalists operating in a capitalist economy. The universal human nature that he claimed would always destroy common resources is actually the profit-driven “grow or die” behaviour of corporations.”

Hardin’s main purpose was not to examine the history of the English commons, nor the long process of their Enclosure (i.e. privatization). He didn’t do this at all. Instead, … his programme was to argue that the only answer to the [alleged] Tragedy was, wherever practical, to move all common lands or rights … into private ownership — thereby establishing clear ‘property rights’.

Contrasting Myth of a Tragedy of the Commons:

Groundswell asks, “Or is there really ‘a Tragedy of the Market’ under subversive rationalization schemes?” You know, Thuggery Capitalism under the Resource Curse and global ‘Briberization’.

American political economist Susan Cox first described ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’ as a myth. She said, “Perhaps what existed was not a ‘tragedy of the commons’ but rather a triumph: that for hundreds of years —and perhaps thousands …— land was managed successfully by communities.”

No, Congress, don’t go all ‘useful idiots’ on us and take that out of context as a reason to create bastardized ownership schemes known as Community Fishery Associations, which have no intention of actual community ownership. We don’t need more greed-based profit grabbing.

In “The Myth of the Tragedy of the Commons” Ian Angus noted “another fatal flaw in Hardin’s argument: in addition to providing no evidence that maintaining the commons will inevitably destroy the environment, he offered no justification for his opinion that privatization would save it. Once again he simply presented his own prejudices as fact: [with Hardin saying,] ‘The alternative of the commons is too horrifying to contemplate. Injustice is preferable to total ruin’.

Barnes poses a key question that we never hear raised by NMFS or RFMCs, “If managers are accountable to shareholders for profit-based performance, to who are they responsible for commons-based performance?” Corporate communications departments would try to maximize the ‘appearance’ of social responsibility for the lowest actual cost.

That is no different than their motivation for enclosure regimes to knowingly and willfully steal future captive crewmen profits, openly violating federal Lay Share and contract laws —aided and abetted by NMFS and the councils. They are content to enact a grand larceny on the labor segment’s historical, inherent capital investment, primarily by quota lease larceny, coupled with denying original shares to those who actually fished — i.e. those who harvested the pounds of multispecies seafood and without whom no consumer would have ever tasted a finfish or shellfish. They presume no Court will ever overrule ‘the Agency’ and that time will quickly launder the takings on to outside ‘investors’.

In 2007, Boal said, “Hardin’s fable was taken up by the gathering forces of neo-liberal reaction in the 1970s, and his essay became the ‘scientific’ foundation of World Bank and IMF policies, viz. enclosure of commons and privatization of public property. … The message is clear: we must never treat the earth as a ‘common treasury.’ We must be ruthless and greedy or else we will perish.”

But as the Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises once said, “Those who are in a position to appropriate to themselves the returns —…fish of the water areas… — do not bother about the later effects of their mode of exploitation.”


Environmentalism’s ‘Market-based’ Privatization is the Wrong Solution:

FisheryNation covers the corrupt financing and intellectual falsities of alleged environmental non-government organizations (ENGOs) quite well, so I’ll not make an attempt to tromp again over heavily marched ground. Barnes’ book not only covered the underlying fallacy of Hardin’s hypothesis of “the Tragedy of the Commons” and discussed Limits of Privatization. He eviscerated another 1960’s paper by Chicago economist Ronald Coase, who “challenged the then-prevailing orthodoxy that government regulation is the only way to protect nature… he argued nature can be protected through property rights, provided they are clearly defined and the cost of enforcing them is low.”

“For fans of privatism, Coase’s theorem was an intellectual breakthrough. It gave theoretical credence to the idea that the marketplace, not government, is the place to tackle pollution… all government has to do is assign property rights and let the market handle the rest.”

Coasian inadequacy visited itself on US fisheries, and it is no wonder that major processing transnationals favor his economic lunacy as their primary hypothetical economic backing for Catch Shares. Barnes remarks, “Capitalism is no longer ‘a brilliant solution to the problem of scarcity’ — it has become modernity’s central problem, disregarding nature and future generations … and it must be modified, as we can no longer reward capital above all else. The Commons has become victim of markets where corporations are placed first, and of government failures.”

When Capitalism started, Nature was abundant, Capital was scarce, and Social Bonds were stronger. Now we are Awash in Capital, Running out of Nature, and Losing Social Arrangements that bind Communities and enrich [everyone’s] lives.” We have a duty to stop government from being a fickle guardian that tilts toward corporations. We must preserve shared inheritances, charge corporations for degrading nature and boost the ‘demanding’ power of people with unmet needs. We have a joint obligation to preserve all of the gifts we inherited or create together. We must stop handing out leases then letting the freeloaders sublease to others and pinch the rent. In other words,

“Trespassing on common property is a form of subsidy that should end.” ~ R.F.K. Jr.

WHY FIX WHAT’S NOT BROKEN?

On the one hand, NMFS and regional fishery management councils (RFMCs or councils) claim the global high ground as the blue-ribbon champion of managing fisheries in avoidance of ‘overfishing’ and sustainability. Especially in Alaska. They recently awarded a lot more pollock quota to Gulf of Alaska trawlers, forever proving that (in the words of one of their own lobbyists) “there is no race for fish.” Right; there’s only been a race for quota rights, in anticipation of privatization.

If, as the NPFMC loves to claim, nowhere in its realm has there been ‘overfishing’ and TAC setting limits catches to a fraction of biomass, ensuring sustainable fisheries and conservation, then answer: Why fix what’s not broken? What is the ‘problem’ requiring a departure from open access, privilege rights based fishing, and what requires the public larceny of further (let alone existing) privatization? What justifies the Volksverdummung and quisling actions of CS proponents in the GOA groundfisheries today, or existing CS proponents turned government subsidized gifted-quota sealords?

They’ve bragged themselves up with underhanded propaganda since before Bering Sea and Aleutian Island pollock was ‘rationalized’ and the market-power shifting institution of Individual Processor Quotas, largely awarded to foreign-owned and -controlled shoreside subsidiaries in Alaska. The Individual Transferable Quota side of that equation went to only a few vessels, more accurately to their permit holders based on politically driven highly selective years of ‘recency’ of catch rather than long-term historical performance, with a slice taken off for the alleged Community Development Quota groups.

It’s somewhat certain that NMFS and the Council appeared to recognize the overall ability to overfish, and for decades has accordingly set the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limits — also known as Acceptable Catch Limits — at a low percentage of the total fish biomass in most cases. That alone is a sufficient guarantee of managed conservation and sustainability, so that no privatization scheme is required to do so. So sorry, I repeat!

But let’s revisit a base question: “If the vessels were largely financed by government loan guarantees and what many foreign nations consider the fisheries subsidy program of Capital Construction Funds (tax deferment and avoidance), and if they got expense deductions from taxable income for annual amortization or depreciation on their alleged investments, and the current book values of those vessels were hardly remaining “capital investment”, then why give permit holders rights far superior to actual captains and crews?

I refer you back to Adam Smith and Abraham Lincoln, quoted above. Yes, it is possible to remove the ignorance of Volksverdummung and see the light toward turning Quota Privatizations back over to Public Commonwealth. But not if you continue to breathe the ill-inducing airs of the CS mentality; and that brings us back to the essential question in 1977 still applicable today.

Why No Protection from Economic Treason?

Groundswell told the NPFMC in 1997, arguing against Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands “pollock rationalization” that allowing the multinational corporations to operate white-faced facades in Alaska, in the presence of unaudited and non-transparent, unaccountable shoreside processing FCCs, was akin to allowing a Trojan Horse inside our 200-mile EEZ walls. And that “It’s America’s fault,” if we let them rob us of billions of dollars of USA commonweal.

But the NPFMC long served foreign interests, as it was chaired by ‘agents of influence’ under hire, as lobbyists, for the Japanese fishing industry. Their propaganda and council failures was a double-whammy on the USA Treasury as our commonwealth was absconded in service to a foreign nation, and taxes went unpaid on billions of understated exports in crossborder intercompany trade, free of market forces and competition. It was sheer theater, a Kamikazi Kabuki directed by the Gyogyo Kabushiki Kaishas, with Alaska playing the role of a branch economy of a foreign nation. Now, they’d have Kodiak and the Gulf of Alaska become another branch (as if the greater profits aren’t already being stolen).

But NMFS and councils continue to accept the propaganda of Catch Share proponents (a faction wanting to be made instantly rich by the public, without paying a dime for the fish) who, to the contrary, contend that the only acceptable solution is for government to socialize the costs, and give them in-perpetuity rights to private fish quotas. Then they’ll hide behind nontransparent walls where alleged private information protections (about public fisheries) even keep the instituting councils and NMFS from assessing the future success or failure of fishery management plans (FMP) and amendments: the regulations that manage resources by species and areas and allocate catches and processing.

But under IPQs the latter ‘supplier’ segment — fishermen and those who hold permits to fish, and get awarded IFQs — would lose market power and this would ensure shifting profits overseas to non-USA interests. This aligns with the global tragedy of privatizations that have seen the supplier side (actual fishermen) returns diminish through price-fixing under increased buyer side ‘plenary’ market power. It is reflected not only in the ongoing economic reductions and job losses in small boat, local fisheries, but in the risk governments must subsequently take for a socio-economic safety net for the few non-industrial fishermen (or even larger operations) should they finally tap out their entire portfolio due to low ex-vessel prices and the reduced supplier side market power.

Under proposed Bycatch Quota Shares (BQSs), the door would be inched open — for if you can reward violators of the global Precautionary Principle for their harms to the environment, then it would be a small kick required to open the door to complete Gulf of Alaska privatization (i.e. CS).

The situation is already dire, given that Halibut and Rockfish fisheries have largely followed the Quota Lease larcenous pattern of off-the-top high rents for non-participants, especially well demonstrated in the crab rationalization (privatization) scheme. The term ‘rationalization’ was long applied, but even back in 1997, Groundswell pointed out to the NPFMC the vast difference between ‘subversive rationalization’ and ‘democratic rationalization.’ The GAO found in 2006 that stakeholder input and due process was rather lacking, and certain players dominate Council regulatory making in substitution for a true public voice.

Let it not go unsaid, banks love regulatory capture and the resource privatization that results, as they can take an interest rate shave-off as they get in on the game of ripping off historical fishermen in favor or “corporate borrowers” — or worse yet, serving the alleged “investor class” and hedge fund bandits. Volksverdummung is happening everywhere these days, and Congress knows it. President Obama call USA 200-mile rights a “stewardship” and knows all about illicit accounting techniques and the tax evasion of ‘transfer prices’ among global affiliates, but he too supports ENGOs and their privatization propaganda, and gives away the Nation’s commonwealth.

Now, it matters not who is president, as they’ve all forgotten the role fishermen played in the creation of this once-a-democracy now ‘of-, by-, and for-the-multinational corporations’ and their Kleptocracy of all resources, intellectual properties, pharmaceuticals, and more. I once again remind fishermen to write on the bottom of all tax forms the simple phrase “Investigate and Stop Abusive Transfer Pricing in Fisheries.” Or, “Catch Shares rob me, so how long will I keep paying taxes if they aren’t removed?” Oh yes, when we did that back in the early-1990’s (“stop ATP in fisheries”) and several regional IRS centers noticed it, they heard about it in Washington DC. Congress has to back it up and make sure the IRS Criminal and International divisions can go after the globalists and their crime.

Harms of the Lay Share and Quota Lease Larceny:

Rather than continuing to pay appropriately fair (higher) ex-vessel prices and catches upholding the historical ‘Lay Share’ proportions for fishing trip settlements to captains and crew, one can easily see Labor Surplus being absconded, so that the drivers of a US economy have and would diminish in the overall. Our communities suffer greatly already.

Allowing leases for quota to be taken right off the top of the fishing economy, meant that a gifted-rights (mailbox fishermen) and then an investor class could distance itself from the work of actually fishing and delivering catch to once-bargaining buyers. Crews’ federal Lay Share rights were regularly violated, despite laws on the books, and no one policed the NMFS and regional councils. Worse yet are unaudited illegal accountings that extract from the captains and crew a portion of the costs of “buyback programs” in the privatization schemes, i.e. from those who are not recipients of IFQs.

A good Lay Share attorney could file a lot of worthwhile cases in federal courts, especially once grasping that the past 8 years of Alaska Crab Ratz alone denied crewmen upwards of $800 million in value, the combination of lost quota rights (valuable, resalable on markets) and seasonal trip settlement reductions due to quota leases coming off-the-top, first.

Crews have been denied their third-party rights to negotiate on quota lease agreements that subject them to illicit bargains that steal from their small business revenues, as IFQ shareholders and a vessel’s ownership do two-party closed door ‘private contracting’ without the third parties available for mutual consent, agreement on considerations given and taken, and other contractual doctrines. NMFS and RFMCs don’t care and neither does the USCG commander — the Admiralty.

Historical crews (captain and deckhands) complement shares typically were 30-40% in most major fisheries;, but as Alaska Crab privatization proved, it dropped from about 36% to around 18%. In other words, less dollars went through the hands of ‘the labor segment’ (actually independent small businesses) and coastal cities felt the huge drop in crew jobs and per-crew paychecks. Meanwhile, IFQ holders could take leases of 70% off the top, and put it into family net wealth buckets or risk it on all manner of get rich schemes suggested by the world of global finance advisors and, frankly, con artists.

Under the Quota Leasing violation of preserving historical participation rights according to Lay Share laws governing the split of net adjusted revenues — adjusted for trip expenses such as fuel and bait, common charges for the activity of actually fishing — the seafood industry was subjected to a public larceny, given IFQ holders got private rights to fish (as portions of the TAC) in perpetuity, instead of annualized privileges to fish.

I Pardon Your Begging, But the USA Doesn’t Own the Fish:

Excuse me, but after asking for over 20 years, no federal attorney or council member, no law enforcement agency or congressional office staffer or member has ever been able to show me that the USA “owns” the fish in the 200-mile zone. Exclusive economic zones are not ownership rights, they are exclusionary constructs – in the case of Alaska, to exclude many foreign nations from under- and unreported fishing and profiteering on USA adjacent fisheries. The ocean’s is (if owned at all) “globally owned” and the USA merely has economic Stewardship Rights and beyond into trustee responsibilities; and management obligations over the ocean fish near our shores, in the EEZ.

Barnes noted, “stewards care for an asset, but their obligations are voluntary and vague. By contrast, trustee’s obligations are mandatory and quite specific. Trusts can be in charge of financial as well as physical assets. …my concern is natural assets—gifts we inherit from creation. One of my premises is that each generation has a contract to pass on such gifts, undiminished, to those not yet born.”

In that light, and given the sentence below, the fishery Reauthorization process has always a failure. In 1976, Congress addressed Americanization and established resource management and regulation — what has been called ‘tier 1’ of the process. Congress has never sat down in proper fashion for ‘tier 2’ economic management legislation. So, in the meanwhile, circuitous legislation was dropped into all manner of Bills or Acts by the likes of the abusive Senator Ted Stevens and others; buried in Omnibus spending bills as nefarious language, or in Coast Guard legislation instead of in the MSA directly.

Trade Legislation Trumps but is Ignored:

Congress reserves trade pacts and related Acts as the superior law of the Nation in Commerce. Why does it ignore the violation in IPQs?

The World Trade Organization and trade pacts is to guarantee mutual and reciprocal business venturing around the globe, not grant exclusive territorial rights to a few select nation’s firms and prevent other nations’ businesses, for the seafood example, from making direct offers to our fishermen for their catches. You know, fair trade, market-force determined economics, and the ability to place the wondrous pure proteins of the ocean into all global consumers’ hands, not allocate specific species largely to a cartelized transnational corporate faction. You know, rule of law, not rule of might. Multinational business opportunities, not merely bilateral closed trade.

The current Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard overlooks ‘lay share law’ of the Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Safety Act of 1988, 16 USC 2101, (102 STAT. 1591-2), P.L. 100-424, whereby the Admiralty is to protect the interests of seamen. In case of crab, the Alaska crab captains and crew members whose historical share of the “net adjusted revenues” from fishing ventures was gravely diluted by failure of USCG to conduct full and proper inspection of fishing vessels to ensure that ‘trip settlement’ contracts were aboard, and in compliance with 46 USC § 10601. Boarding checklists include verifying contracts for seamen or fishermen are onboard and available for inspection, but the USCG won’t usually enforce the law.

Senator Mark Begich listened and responded well in Kodiak this spring; but the pudding will set with the selection of a new commandant. All of Congress should note this violation of Lay Share law, not only when the Coast Guard new chief scrambled-eggs-on-the-cap is chosen, but during Reauthorization, too.

Catch shares are public larceny. It’s been said that in just one generation, the People could lose their Freedom, if rule of law was abandoned and Congress served factions, like the global corporatocracy, instead of public interests. Yet, in only one generation — approximately from the 1980′s through 2015, we’ll have lost federal fisheries public resource rights to a pro-Catch Share faction and the banksters and investor-class entities behind it.

Fisheries privatization is shoe-horned into place by NMFS, and under propaganda of alleged “conservation” groups that embraced errant adoption of so-called ‘market-based economics,’ at the hands of ‘the winners’ class and their lobbyists, and the shoe leather is shined by a few fools in Congress who fail to grasp that many existing laws are being violated. Worse, Congress fails to grasp what IPQs have done to harm the U.S. Balance of Payments and our tax coffers, as FCC use global illicit accounting tricks to transfer price profits in exported fish and deny our economy the fair share of global trade.

That’s just the way resource exploiters work, unless governments ensure protecting host-nation rights first. But it is clear that NMFS and Congress are happy as clams that the USA loses out in global seafood industry profitability and reciprocal trade. Faulty economic structures are preferred over containing the resource curse, and Congress is content to doom major Alaska fishing zones to the status of being mere low-earning ‘branch economic arms of Japan’ and Korea. Congress is content to ignore the WTO rights of other nations to also participate in USA business, as the IPQ system selected a few Japan and Korea-based corporations as the cartel players to suppress US fish prices — i.e. granted plenary market power to non-USA entities in spite of the intention of the MSA. Blind monkeys throwing darts could do better at hitting the target of Americanization and maximizing the net economic benefit to the USA.

The combined and inseparable IFQ and IPQ regime, its Quota Leasing violation and Lay Share enforcement failures — and ‘the Admiralty’ ignoring USCG act enforcement – has, in effect, meant that USA fishermen and vessel owner-operators currently pay from 50% to 70% for the ability to fish inside the 200-mile EEZ. And FCC run price-fixing cartels in the USA, and abusively transfer price the real profits to related affiliates and parent firms outside the USA. Oh, there’s also the part about how USA fish, secondarily processed overseas, is then imported back into the USA – with all that intermediary economic profits being held offshore, also free from taxation in our host nation.

MSA Reauthorization’s mole is sticking its head up out of the hidden caverns of unfair global trade, and it is time to whack-a-mole! If you are in Congress, and can’t understand these simple perspectives, then please abstain from legislating on USA fisheries. If you do understand, then it is past time to stop further privatization, ask the GAO to study foreign ownership in USA fisheries, ask the US Treasury to outline the effects of Abusive Transfer Pricing from tax evasion to market power and banking harms, and undo any WTO-violating IPQ systems.

It is also time to choose a new commandant for the USCG who seems to grasp the centuries-long responsibility of the Admiralty to protect US fishermen in our oceans, and that failing to enforce Lay Share laws is tantamount to aiding and abetting economic treason against the USA and the People.

Fisheries are a renewable resources, and opportunities for USA participation and more jobs, fairer trade are renewable too. Congress can take the private gifts back — the law allows it! — the privatization of Catch Shares has no basis in that “you can’t give away that which you do not own” and other reasoning. The answer is to reallocate and re-establish the open access privileges to fish, opportunities for generation-after-generation of all American fishermen.

If Congress can’t do it, then it is time to hand the monkeys the darts and point them in the general direction of the regulatory game board. They could hardly do worse. We’d love to be at the hearing when a federal judge rules “we couldn’t overrule ‘the Agency’ so we can’t overrule the monkeys, too!”

Have a good summer.

Stephen Taufen, founder of the Groundswell Fisheries Movement, a public rights advocacy.

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