Susanne Rust’s “Who owns the fish?” is a well written and insightful piece.
But, like all Catch Share authors, including myself, we are still learning how to really describe what is going on – having been overly influenced by the language of the wordsmiths brainwashing Congress and the public about quotas.
With all good intention, here’s an expanded Opinion Piece to go with the March 12 article. Topmost problem is that the USA does not OWN the fish, it has Stewardship rights and responsibilities within the 200-mile EEZ, which are to be met by the regulatory frameworks. The nation does not own the fish, and has no right to give it away as property rights. No nation does. The Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 was said, at the time, to be “tier one legislation” necessary to get foreign fishermen out of USA waters for better conservation and management.
No ‘American’ fisherman was to be charged for the harvesting of fish in the EEZ. Foreigners were to be allowed a transition period until USA fishermen could fully develop. The foreigners were to pay fees no greater than 3%. That was original spirit and intent. It was also said in the late-1970’s that “tier two legislation” – on economic management was needed next.
The New England Fish Company headquartered in Seattle wrote to President Carter in early 1977, shortly after implementation of the FCMA, to have him declare our fisheries national security resources. NEFCO had tried to ensure the grant of fish rights would guarantee a backing for its domestically financed building of a fish plant on Kodiak Island.
But the Korean motherships with USA fishermen delivering cod-ends to them at sea, still, got the bulk of the total allowable catch right out of the gate.
The US Coast Guard admiral termed it “economic treason” at the time.
But that is nothing compared to today, when Catch Shares owned by non-fishermen who can scalp off 70% or better lease rents from actual fishing participants, are the sealords controlling fisheries. That destroys the original intent that no American fisherman should have to pay a cost for access and ability to fish within the Nation’s EEZ.
In Alaska, we let a Trojan Horse of foreign investment dominate; as I long ago told the North Pacific Fishery Conservation and Management Council, stating “it’s America’s fault” if we let it continue. With that history in mind, we now find ourselves in the new century with Alaskan style Catch Share regimes dominating our regional management council agendas.
Adding insult to injury, it is the United States’ citizen-taxpayers who are forking out the funds to NOAA to pay for the Council meetings that flesh-out the giveaway of citizen-rights to public resource stewardship, so Congressmen can give away what the Nation does not own, in privatization ad infinitum. Quotas in perpetuity. Private property – created by acts of public larceny after public larceny.
These consequences were deliberately intended, as any historical geographer would have been able to tell NOAA from the start.
Rationalization schemes for resources have long global destructions of once sustainable local systems in favor of multinational ownership raking off the profits, while destroying an agricultural way of life that fits with the ecosystem which provides jobs and sustenance to the host nation’s populace. It has long been that globalist-takeover way, including with the Spanish-American war, and beyond.
Early in the Alaska process, I pointed out to the NPFMC the difference between Democratic Rationalization and Subversive Rationalization processes, by sending them a historical recap about the topic. Of course, it was ignored – at a time the NPFMC was chaired by a lobbyist for Japanese fishing interests, who also quashed efforts to examine the effects of abusive transfer pricing on the industry in 1998 after the industry advisory panel voted 11-4 to do so.
But chairman Lauber was not the only quisling lobbyist to chair the NPFMC, as “the Red Queen” Stephanie Madsen took over the chairwoman role later.
John Pappalardo joins a long chain of quislings and agents of influence that at the bottom line are clear economic treasonists to the USA. Ponder for a moment, if you will, that federal regional fishery management councils have fast become mere economic terrorism cells — a far greater threat to this nation than a few jihadists have been, especially of harm to our coastal communities and USA jobs.
Groundswell likes the Kodiak opponent’s shortened term for these subversive schemes: Pollock Ratz, Crab Ratz, Cod Longline Ratz, and Rockfish Ratz, because that word so well sells the gutter-based greed impulses and sewer mentality and stink of such privatizations. But we also favor the globally known word “Briberization” and how this is all a part of corporations over governments and people, by a process by “the Kleptocracy.”
Note also: Economist John Maynard Keynes is likely rolling over in his grave fidgeting over the stupidity of pursuing what he called “asset commoditization” schemes.
Noted free market economic philosopher 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.”
Former president Abraham Lincoln understood, stating:
“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.”
Internationally recognized visionary of Food and Development Policy, Raj Patel, (in “The Value of Nothing: How to reshape market society and redefine democracy,” 2009, 1st edition) 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.”
Nobel Prize winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, leveled criticism at the World Bank and IMF by pointing out that around the world, in the service of multinational corporations, in a piece originally called “”The IMF’s Four Steps to Damnation” in The Observer (London) in April 2001:
“Step One is Privatization” – which Stiglitz said could more accurately be called, ‘Briberization.’ “Rather than object to the sell-offs of state industries,” he said “national leaders – using the World Bank’s demands to silence local critics – happily flogged their electricity and water companies.” The same thing is happening in USA fisheries, beginning particularly in Alaska.
Stiglitz defined a multi-step process of how neoliberal economics (about “the Washington Protocol” model) dominating World Bank and IMF mentality wreaked havoc, concluding:
“A pattern emerges. There are lots of losers in this system but one clear winner: the Western banks and US Treasury, making the big bucks off this crazy new international capital churn.”
Groundswell challenges that the US Treasury benefits in any case where foreign controlled corporations (FCCs) get IPQs and run branch economies to extract Alaska’s wealth in such exploitative fashion. That is why my insider whistle-blowing on Abusive Transfer Pricing was all about, and the IRS has collected, if partially, on such tax evasion.
Those are comments the House hearing should have in front of them as they question the witnesses. Especially boat owner ranks that have already recouped alleged investments through the greatest tax benefits package in the world, Capital Construction Funds, and annualized amortizations of investments, largely made with NMFS financial loan backing at low interest rates.
The USA citizen-taxpayer get ripped off over and over again. The only real investment were by the labor sector, the captains and crew who were the creators of the base capital all others claim rights to, today.
So, back to comments on Rust’s piece, let’s keep that in mind as we also challenge more of the language used by disreputable CS proponents.
Remember foremost that fixing the MSA is essentially a matter of ensuring good descriptions of “fishermen” and other terms, and cleaning up what Congress’ intent is by clear language, and strongly limiting terminology.
It might also be a matter of going back and finally creating the tier two legislation on agricultural economics of fishing in the EEZ, protecting ourselves from sealordship, just as landlordship.
Start by stopping the indentured servitude of USA fishermen under Catch Share “stupidization” (coined by Phillip Lestnikof, a native of Alaska), and ensuring Lay Share laws are enforced by the Admiralty and courts.
Proponents of Catch Shares are not free market advocates. They are advocates of using public relations language to blindside folks by calling the ownership system “market-based solutions.” That is a batch of cooked up economic mishmash. The doublespeak of saying Catch Shares offer exclusive access quickly belies the fact that this is anything but free market.
In Alaska, as intended, the consequence is full-on restraint of trade, antitrust. Catch shares are really about asymmetric market power —especially by cartelized processors with plenary power over price-setting— being brought about under government sponsorship due to accompanying asymmetric political power. Nothing makes that clearer that the rigged witness list at today’s US House Natural Resources meeting (see Richard Gaines’ Gloucester Daily News at http://www.gloucestertimes.com/opinion/x2109939563/Editorial-Witness-list-shows-Magnuson-talks-a-sham-from-start .
John Pappalardo is a minor part of the national problem, as he was schooled by the real culprits of Alaska Ratz, some of whom are also on the rigged hearing witness list.
CSs do not bring economic efficiency – as the definition of EE is consumer oriented and quality and product form determined, as to which combination of end products from what quality of limited quantity inputs (bundle of resources – total allowable catch) will bring the best combination of economic wealth and needs satisfactions.
What EDF really means and CSs really go for is productive efficiency or cost cutting, which means job cutting, less investment in fishing vessels, and consolidation.
The CSs in Alaska are said to go to “harvesters” – but that should mean those who harvest, those who fish – i.e. the active participants, mainly captains and crewmen, not non-participants.
CSs were sold on “an overcapitalized industry” but in truth the system of Asset Commodification and the Privatization into Quota Shares attracted billions of dollars of new capital, overcapitalizing a once privileged-based public fishery, in favor of the new carpet bagging banksters and private equity/hedge fund investor who never brought a single pound of fish across the rail.
The Magnuson-Stevens Act etc. – our nations Fishery Laws – have no definitions for “fishermen”, “harvesters”, etc., let alone for something euphemistically called “catch shares”.
It is NOT sharing, it is anti-free market, restraint of trade, and government sponsored monopolization – akin to socialist stronghold theories of industrial planning and control.
Prices are no longer determined at arm’s length. Suppliers – fishermen – lose their bargaining power for ex-vessel prices when the buyers (like Japan’s, Korea’s and other transnational firms) hold “processor quotas” that fishermen quotas must match up to with IFQ shares in corporate serving cooperatives.
Reauthorization of MSA should foremost concentrate on good definitions. Regional fishery management councils should be made by the Secretary of Commerce and Congress to follow the Due Process of using Lay Share laws, complying with those statutes, first – so captains and crews maintain their historical shares.
But, top line and bottom line – the USA does not OWN the fish!! And if we do, it is a public resource. We cannot give away what we do not own.
The situation is shades of when the British tried to industrialize and privatize salt in India and met Ghandi’s ‘satyagraha’ non-violent fight for the rights of the people to the commons’ wealth of resources.
Groundswell was formed as a satyagraha, and quest for truth – a tool to educate and challenge the established, and wrong, kleptocracy.
Worst of all is Alaska’s fisheries — a Thalassocracy which serves foreign interests over domestic ones, violates World Trade Agreement and other treaty rights to openness in trade, and reciprocity, because it allowsJapan-based and Korea-based MNEs (multinational enterprises) to lie and cheat about the export values, pay little to no USA taxes, ‘product launder’ the profits offshore, even usually free from foreign taxes. This is Economic Treason, and resource exploitation warfare against the USA – and that is where the legal battle and Congressional powers must work to eliminate these illicit practices and the CS regimes.
Congress (plus Alaska’s chief legislators and giveaway governor serving Big Oil on their exploitation) knows all about the ABUSIVE TRANSFER PRICING and the global tax evasion crimes, and should begin to stop these illicit schemes in fisheries, timber and other resources. President Obama is well familiar with the leading global tax problem of abusive Transfer Pricing, as well. Alaskan waters have already seen an estimated $50 billion loss to the Nation for fisheries in the EEZ since the passage of the FCMA in 1976. For other regions of the nation to follow the quota regime privatization is tragically wrong, too. Groundswell Fishery Movement – Stephen Taufen