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December 19, 2012

Letter: Scientist's ouster another slap at fishermen

To the editor:

Dr. Brian Rothschild a world-renowned fisheries researcher and author, Dean Emeritus of Marine Fisheries Institute, has been removed from his co-directorship of the Institute which he founded and developed over the past ten years.

This move by the UMass president’s office will place the Institute under the control of the president’s office and the Institute’s co-directorship will go to the current School of Marine Science and Technology Dean, Dr. Steve Lohrenz, a champion of President’s Obama’s controversial National Ocean Policy and a former Vice-Chair of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership which partners with Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (a program devoted to deep ocean geology exploration associated with oil and gas production) .

The stated reasons for Brian Rothschild’s removal are at best flimsy and at worst they are a Kafkaesque rationale for a political purge.

“... It lacked an oversight board, a budget and annual reports and it wasn’t coordinated well enough to solicit research grants from industry, government and other institutions,” said university spokesman John Hoey.

Really? After 10 successful years, this Marine Fisheries Institute now isn’t coordinated well enough to get research grants? Grants coming from industry, government, and other institutions. Now who might they be? Could it be Pew or perhaps Environmental Defense Fund, Conservation Law Foundation, NOAA or the Department of the Interior?

Dr. Rothchild’s professional status now, for some reason, isn’t high enough to be co-director of the Institute he founded and has been dean of for many years?

“It’s appropriate that the co-director needs to be a dean or someone of that administrative level,” Hoey said.

Brian Rothschild has forgotten more about fisheries science than entire science departments at government and “other institutions” will ever know. He has used integrity and common sense in his work — rare commodities in the circus of fisheries science. He has benefited fishing enormously, keeping this vital local clean-food producing industry from the clutches of the ignorant faux science of self-serving bureaucrats and corrupt, plutocracy-spawned NGOs.

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