GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Fishing Industry Stories

October 27, 2009

Leader urges federal action

Fishing panel hears fears of lost way of life

Click here to read David Goethel's full testimony

A commercial fisherman and federal official predicted yesterday that the New England fishing industry has a dim future, facing radical consolidation and the loss of "a way of life" that has existed for centuries without a "massive intervention at the congressional level."

In setting polices to implement mandates for catch limits in the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act three years ago, the New England Fishery Management Council rushed through a series of pivotal decisions, including "an allocation scheme and management regimes," David Goethel told a congressional subcommittee in Washington, D.C. The council serves as a federal legislative body in setting fishing policies.

The use of the "scheme and ... regimes" phrase was a clear allusion to the decision this summer, under a directive by the top federal fishery administrator, Jane Lubchenco, to rapidly phase-in "catch shares" — a top-priority national policy of privatizing the catchable common resources of the sea via the creation of a commodities market.

Only a congressional commitment to a buyout of boats and creation of a permit bank for surviving small fishing boat businesses will "stop the speculation of venture capitalists and private permit banks, which have already sprung up," he said.

Goethel was one of nine members of the fishing industry from various sectors and parts of the country to give testify yesterday at an oversight hearing before the House Committee on Natural Resources' Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife.

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., is the only New Englander on the subcommittee. But many of its members, notably Congressman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., have taken leadership roles in Magnuson-related fisheries issues.

Pallone has led an effort backed by Massachusetts and Rhode Island colleagues to modify Magnuson-Stevens, adding flexibility to hard deadlines for restoration of stocks, an action that has been met with a national petition by the Pew Environment Group aimed at keeping Magnuson as written.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Fishing Industry Stories

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video
Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament