To: Kodiak City/Borough Joint Fishery Working Group – GOA Trawl Presentations

To: Kodiak City/Borough Joint Fishery Working Group

GOA Trawl Presentations

Stephen Taufen – August 19, 2013  KFWG – 3 minutes.

  1. Regarding Americans for Equal Access – it is “important to make every fish count,” but the way to do that is from full-time Observer Coverage on all Trawlers, year round, in the Central GOA.  Calling excessive Bycatch Shares a “hard cap” is just a cute way of saying “give us all the known damage we’ve done to fisheries to date (in the race for quota), and never take it away from us.”

For carbon, Cap and Trade never worked because it commoditized the harms against the environment and pollution marched on, unmitigated.

Bycatch Quota Shares will not work either, because they also simply guarantee harms against the fisheries, instead of using the legally required Precautionary Principle and statutory mandates to reduce bycatch.

Award the harms to the fish complex, then it is a short step to awarding private rights to the fish itself.

  1. Regarding the AMCC/AEB/GOACCC proposal to present “a new paradigm for a catch share program,” and for distributing the public resources of our fisheries, which puts communities at the center of the program.

Those dream-state words themselves, again, point to the problem.  Promoting Community Fishing Associations is a nice thought, but it leaves out the competitiveness, open markets, and ‘purposeful human action’ economics that generates the greatest return to the economy because it places the fishermen themselves as the chief recipients of direct revenues that, when respent, actually fuel regional economies far greater than CFAs ever will.

Just look at the failure of the Western Alaska CDQs for a shocking example of such failed thinking.

  1. The AGDB proposals are the work of those who want to stand up against the parent authority of the existing laws and regulations already passed by the NPFMC – saying “you shall reduce your impact on halibut, salmon and crab” by 15%.  This is a matter of fishing behavior, gear changes, deploying mitigation devices, and other on-the-grounds actions.  Yet they claim that ONLY if they have catch shares — private ownership conversions of public resources — will they have the required tools.

It is a public larceny, as they want giveaways, so that they can go forth renting shares to each other (at the pre crew settlement gross level) and thus gouging captains and crews, ad infinitum.  That often means lease rates of up to 75%.

So, why not simply have the USA collect such a high shave off and share it with communities, and do so only based on the remainder after the net crew settlement (assigned portions of the adjusted revenues) — in order to guarantee real economic multiplier effect?  Why rip off independent businesses, who have made the largest investment of all?

  1. Regarding the Plesha (Trident) paper.  He relies on the wholly mistaken economics of “the famous ‘Coase Theorem’.”  Yes, it is famous – for its flaws.  It proposed back in 1960, 43 years ago, that a “Tragedy of the Commons” existed and that the solution is “that all the government has to do is assign property rights and let the markets handle the rest.”

Clearly, this is a form of “trespassing on the public commons.”  But there was no tragedy, and yet the result most often proves that the only true tragedy of the commons is the privatization of them.  The Processors also want linkages and PQs for themselves, because these elements restrain trade and thereby allow the lowest fish prices to be paid – leaving Kodiak with the lowest economic multiplier “positive shocks” possible.  That, and all of these senseless proposals will only do one thing – hurt Kodiak.

Your listening radar will be tested today.  Good luck in listening careful to the propaganda you are about to hear.

[Handout – Kodiak Daily Mirror piece below]

Stephen Taufen

Groundswell Fisheries Movement

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