New England: Crackdown needed on fishing violations

The local fishing industry has seen itself beset with a seemingly never-ending barrage of challenges during the past few decades. Collapsing fishing stocks, rising fuel prices, and strict government oversight have created an imperfect storm that has decimated what was once a thriving and vibrant industry. Now a new report by the United States Coast Guard has revealed an extensive series of efforts by some to circumnavigate those restrictions,, >click to read< 09:46

One Response to New England: Crackdown needed on fishing violations

  1. Dick Grachek says:

    “Now a new report by the United States Coast Guard has revealed an extensive series of efforts by some to circumnavigate those restrictions, imperiling not only the very fishing stocks that continue to sustain a much-reduced fleet of individuals who rely on them for their livelihoods, but also the reputations of all of those who turn to the sea to live.”

    Nope, so sorry, but that is a grossly prejudicial misrepresentation of the findings of that report! It’s obvious that the way in which something is presented (or its “spin”) really has a great deal to do with its overall meaning and impression. For example, if you read the headline regarding this USCG report on misreporting, and one of its opening paragraphs:

    “Coast Guard: Catch misreported on 350 fishing trips”

    “The Northeast multispecies groundfishery may have been victimized by several misreporting schemes through a five-year period and “potentially up to 2.5 million pounds of regulated species were misreported by vessels from multiple sectors in the fishery, according to a Coast Guard investigation of misreporting.” And “The goal of the misreporting, according to the report, is to keep fishing without exceeding catch limits and annual catch entitlements.” (i.e., “exceeding” without getting caught, is the implication)

    So, Gees’, that all seems pretty egregious and dastardly doesn’t it? “The Northeast multispecies groundfishery may have been victimized by several misreporting schemes”, and “2.5 million pounds”, reads like that oughta’ be the End O’ Days for fishing! But, read on a bit further and some pretty significant information emerges:

    “Using three separate databases supplied by NOAA Fisheries, the Coast Guard said its analysis was applied to 60,713 Northeast multispecies groundfish vessel trips in the four-year period and flagged 2,154 trips, or 3.5% of the analyzed trips.”

    ‘“Upon examination, many of the 2,154 flagged trips were easily explained by legitimate fishing practices, border tows or glitches in the data system and were therefore disregarded,” the report stated. “However, on over 350 trips, there was evidence of potential misreporting.”’

    “In total, these 350 trips amounted to less than 1% of the 60,000 (Northeast multispecies groundfish) trips that were taken during this five-year period, but represents a significant amount of fish that were potentially caught in one stock area and reported in another.” (that’s 350 out of 60,173 over five years)

    Oh, so that’s quite a different story, isn’t it? Quite different than fishermen “victimizing the stocks” with the “goal” to keep fishing even though their annual catch limits have been exceeded. Quite different than a “misreporting scheme” which implies intention to break the law and exceed the allotted catch, and as per the usual indictment: to ultimately destroy the resource and “catch the last fish”!

    So, actually 350 out of 60,173 trips is just over 1/2 of 1%, or a 99.4% success or accuracy in reporting rate! Not too shabby, huh? What other government regulation reporting program achieves a 99.4% success and accuracy rate? I’ll bet way less than 99.4%.

    Oh yes, and do you suppose that this report coming out now has anything to do with the Carlos Rafael “misreporting” caper being discussed during the Council Meeting in Newport?

    Or is that just some Coinkydink?

    “The report chronicling the Coast Guard investigation from 2011 to 2015 will be presented to the New England Fishery Management Council on Tuesday during the first of its three days of meetings in Newport, Rhode Island.”

    The Coast Guard presentation is one of two scheduled agenda items dealing with catch misreporting that will be before the council on Tuesday.

    The same day, NOAA Fisheries’ Office of Law Enforcement is scheduled to make a presentation to the council specifically on misreporting uncovered during the criminal case brought against now-incarcerated New Bedford fishing mogul Carlos Rafael.”

    So indeed, “The Northeast multispecies groundfishery may have been victimized by several misreporting schemes”. Yup, victimized by misreporting schemes like this one by the USCG presented as just another prejudicially negative spin on the fishing industry.

    This kind of presentation and selective emphasis is not unlike the headline so often found in major media fishing articles pushing aquaculture, when they state “Scientific studies show that the world’s fisheries are fully exploited, to their maximum, and cannot keep up with increasing world need”. This, of course, is total BS. It is the GOAL of fisheries management to fully exploit the resource—without endangering stock sustainability! It’s what they call Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY).

    And “wild caught” fisheries are quite capable of fulfilling the need for fish, sustainably! That is, if the regulatory-conservationist-oil-gas-wind Industrial Complex would LEAVE THE FISHERIES THE HELL ALONE.

    But, Really? 350 out of 60,173 trips, a 99.4% accuracy rate over four years, and that constitutes a report “where there appears to be evidence of misreporting”? If that’s evidence of misreporting then what would corporate tax reporting rate of accuracy be called?

    C’mon man! The entire tone of this report (and its Cape Cod Times sequel), as presented to the public or to the regional fishery council, is clearly slanted toward villainizing the fishermen. It does its best to leave the reader with the impression that some intentionally destructive scam was uncovered by the brilliant sleuthing in this report!

    Why? And who or what is fostering that kind of prejudice?

    Is the USCG now in the service of the Corporatistas as they endeavor to clear off the Outer Continental Shelf for their Industrial wind and oil and aquaculture “parks”, all for some industrial fun and profit?

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