The Real “Seafood Fraud” Mislabelin​g Miscreants – Further Thoughts on Oceana’s “fight seafood fraud” Campaign

Further Thoughts on Oceana’s “fight seafood fraud” Campaign:

What is this “mislabeling” and “seafood fraud” scuffle all about these days? Why, you might ask, is Oceana suddenly so concerned about “truth in packaging” for fish? And what is behind their somewhat baffling concern for the fish-consuming public?

Actually, Pew, Oceana, EDF, NRDC, and CLF (and too long a list of their additional subsidiaries to cite here) have for many years been doing some of their own “mislabeling” and “seafood fraud”. They’ve been “mislabeling” fishermen as overfishing-greedy-habitat-destroyers. In addition, these public welfare-minded NGOs perpetrated “seafood fraud” and violated any “truth in packaging” ethic when they poured millions into campaigns of misinformation and outright lies promoting the privatization scam of ITQ’s or catch shares. In the years leading up to their imposition on the New England Fishery in May of 2010, Pew/Oceana/ EDF employed “untruth in packaging” when they wrapped their catch shares product in the fallacious claim that “catch shares were a fish conservation effort and were guaranteed to enhance fishermen’s profitability and safety”. They were also “mislabeling” this Individual Transferable Quota System as “catch shares sector management” which was a legalese semantic maneuver clearly designed to skirt statutes in the Magnuson Stevens Act which would have required a 2/3 referendum vote by permit holders, a vote which, in all likelihood, would have stopped this privatization scam in its tracks. But Pew, EDF, and Oceana got catch shares installed. They worked the media and “worked it from the inside” through the “you’re getting’ catch shares …like it or not” decrees from NOAA director Jane Lubchenco, a Pew Fellow and former EDF Board Member.


But Oceana is an Environmental Non-Profit, Right? You know, Protecting The World’s Oceans?

Non-profit indicates non-taxable, and a tax deductible status for donations. It’s an IRS designation. But, non-profit does not indicate non-revenue or non-fat salaries and compensation packets for the non-profit’s corporate-style executive officers. If the “executives” that run these “non-profit” NGOs were not donation-plowing in order to “increase the market value of their Fund” and lining their pockets with six and seven figure salaries under the guise of “free-market-environmentalism” or “doing good while doing well” or getting very wealthy while saving the ocean from the greedy fishermen; if they were not so hostile to domestic fishing and were not pouring their resources into dismantling the US domestic fishing industry, there wouldn’t be such a vacuum in the domestic market and there wouldn’t be such a gaping hole in domestic supply for the inferior imported fish to pour into.

If the so very concerned NGOs were not working overtime to do all they can to eliminate local fishermen along with the abundant supply of local fresh fish that they provide, the consumers they’re so worried about becoming victims of “seafood fraud” would have plenty of affordable fresh domestic and properly labeled fish at their local fish monger or supermarket fish case. If domestic product was not choked off, distributors wouldn’t be so desperate for fish to fill their orders. Imported, mislabeled, unhealthy contaminated product, in most cases, would not be any competition for fresh local quality fish. Mislabeling would not be an issue if U.S. domestic fishermen were respected and not seen as the eco-villains; and if they were not being prevented from supplying the public’s demand for healthy fish protein.


But how did this antagonistic attitude toward domestic fishing come about?

Clearly, NOAA’s posture of “too many greedy fishermen chasing too few endangered fish”, and the consequent impossible constrictive fishery management posture, originates with the NGO blitzes of the endangered-species-of-the-month-club media campaigns. One month the NY Times, The Boston Globe, PBS TV, and the internet blogosphere will be inundated with NGO warnings of impending doom for a particular fish species, or category of species, or a type of reef coral, all on the brink due to overfishing and destructive fishing techniques. Next an amendment to a regulation which would save from extinction and protect for perpetuity the chosen endangered fish (or coral or turtle or dolphin or sturgeon or essential forage fish or the forage fish’s predators— depending on the month) mysteriously appears “on the table” for discussion at a regional council meeting. Add the threat of a lawsuit from some vociferous Pew lawyers in the audience and several (not particularly impartial when it comes to commercial fishing) council members grumbling their limited understanding of the intent and spirit of Magnuson statutes, “Spawning Biomass” and “Maximum Sustainable Yield”… and there you have it, a new more restrictive and long overdue management measure and “conservation tool”. And the NGO headline… Ocean Creatures Saved from the clutches of the “greedy industrial fishers! Accomplished through your Ocean Donation! And by concerned scientists and conservationists and dedicated government fish managers working through regional councils just full of stakeholder representatives!  And…Eureka, Fisheries management is Working Great! See? So, more of the same, Please.

The ridiculous regulations are bad enough which along with the fallacious catch shares have certainly achieved their “consolidation goal” and have already put many fishermen out of business…and counting; but one of the most disheartening aspects of this corporatist NGO war on independent fishing businesses is that it has leached into the general public’s attitude toward U.S. fishermen. Fishermen are right up there with forest clear cutters as they “… drag enormous nets scraping the ocean bottom clean of all life, destroying the habitat as they go further and further offshore seeking new grounds and healthier fish stocks to exploit and destroy” made possible by their technologically advanced electronic fish-finders”.

So again, if the regional fish management councils and NOAA’s legal department was not so cowed by the intrusion of Pew’s anti-fishing litigation mercenaries, i.e. the Conservation Law Foundation and their looming threat of endless lawsuits. If the “Commerce” Department didn’t roll over for big biz and advocate reprehensible trade scams like the Trans Pacific Partnership which would supersede tariff, safety, and probably most FDA inspection regulations. If U.S. fishermen were not prevented from supplying fish, then cheap and unhealthy Pangasius, Tilapia, and farmed Shrimp would not be found on our menus and would never be significantly competing with domestic landings in our venerable fish market auctions.

As W.C. Fields says, “You can’t cheat an honest man…” or if the product being scammed wasn’t so inferior, if it was honest fresh domestic fish, it wouldn’t require any “seafood fraud” in order to sell it. It wouldn’t have to cheat and be “mislabeled” as quality fish.

It really wouldn’t make a great deal of sense to mislabel a domestic fresh product such as Atlantic Haddock and Cod or Pacific Flatfish and Pollock as Panga, or Yellowtail Flounder as Tilapia, or fresh Southeast Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Shrimp as a product of Viet Nam. It works in the other direction. The “seafood fraud”, the sleight of hand, the mislabeling of the imported product as local fresh quality fish, becomes a marketing ploy in order to move inferior fish by some unscrupulous dealers and big chain-store buyers when the market is blitzed with “dumped” imported uninspected and contaminated Tilapia, Pangasius, and pond-raised Shrimp.


Well then, what is behind this expensive Oceana media and legislative campaign to “fight seafood fraud”?

This is not a case of legislating 1,827 names for our fish that already have names. That is not the fix for this problem. This is not a problem of a lack of specificity in labeling as the mindless Oceana campaign advocates. This is the same old problem of corporation/government corruption and the big-biz-shill NGO’s’ self-serving exploitation of an unsuspecting public through the usual scapegoating of the domestic fishing industry.

If altruistic Oceana is so concerned and wants to “fight seafood fraud” they should look to their own Ocean Programs first. It’s fraudulent to spawn a full media blitz declaring Swordfish and Tuna as full of mercury and as an overfished and endangered species with nothing to back up such preposterous claims as Oceana and the Natural Resources Defense Council have done in the past—not to mention the “endangered” Sturgeon. It’s fraudulent to use their own propaganda articles as a reference (or even worse Worms’ and Pauly’s bought and paid for Pewian “science”) and declare saving the “forage fish” as the basis for a campaign to constrict fishing on prolific stocks such as Butterfish, Sardines, Menhaden, and Herring. It’s fraudulent to characterize small independent family-owned and family-funded fishing vessels as “industrial trawlers taking way too much and destroying the ocean habitat in the process”. It’s fraudulent to fund, with tens of $millions, a fraudulent campaign to impose a fraudulent privatization ITQ scheme fraudulently called catch shares and then fraudulently justify the resulting “fleet consolidation” or the elimination of the majority of the local fleet as a conservation measure helping the fish and making the fishermen “more profitable”. Now that is “seafood fraud”!

If Oceana or any other NGO is truly interested in protecting the fish-consuming public and wants to guarantee them a safe fresh healthy fish product, they might stop trying to kill U.S. fishing on some of the most productive fishing grounds in the world. They might work on getting the government to abandon sleazy trade agreements and instead demand the enforcement of existing tariffs that were designed to protect domestic fishing and enhance marketing for the domestic fresh product. This would then go a long way to prevent the inferior imported fish from entering the U.S and would make obsolete the need for any marketing scams of “seafood fraud” mislabeling.

Saving the consumer from mislabeled domestic fish is just another “easy-to-catch” media straw man created by NGOs like Oceana. This endeavor is nothing but more fund–raising public opinion manipulation along the way of their well-engineered and very well-funded mission to discredit and remove the local domestic fishing industry from the U. S. Continental Shelf.  Such a clearing-off might just be of some interest to the oil industry—just a thought. and

And how might anti-fishing Oceana be connected to big oil?

Oceana was established in 2001 by a group of leading foundations — The Pew Charitable Trusts, Oak Foundation, Marisla Foundation (formerly Homeland Foundation), and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.


Pew Foundation, as most people interested in ocean matters are aware, is the Joseph N. Pew Sunoco Oil fortune, with holdings in Exxon Mobil and other major oil corporations.
Oak Foundation was started by Alan M. Parker the current President of Government Group of ENERGYSOLUTIONS, INC a natural gas consulting firm.
Marisla Foundation is the Getty Oil fortune.
Rockefeller Bros. Fund: Rockefeller? Standard Oil and Exxon Mobil should ring a bell.


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