GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Letters/My View

October 1, 2013

Letter: Declining fish stocks are root of problem

To the editor:

The article by Sean Horgan (“Collateral Damage,” the Times, Wednesday, Sept. 25) regarding family fishing crises fails to acknowledge the real disaster; that of our commercial fish stocks.

Not mentioned too, is that every management strategy proposed or implemented by NOAA/NMFS in an effort to sustain our fisheries is rejected or criticized. But most importantly s the fact that our ocean resources, including commercial fish and shellfish, are a public trust resource belonging to all of the people — not the fishing industry or corporate energy and mineral extractors.

The ocean is the country’s largest public domain and should be managed as a public trust but isn’t. We are supposed to be managing and practicing sustainability but are not.

For the past 32 years starting with the Reagan Administration a deliberate attempt has been made to deregulate, circumvent or ignore our environmental laws, while agency budgets have been cut to prevent NOAA/EPA from carrying out their responsibilities and enforce our laws and policies.

We turned around and did what we prevented the foreign fleets from doing: raped our own public trust ocean fisheries. Now we cry hardship and call on politicians to provide subsidies. You don’t reward someone for depleting a public trust resource.

It isn’t the feds who are only responsible and accountable. The fishing councils, fishermen, elected officials and the general public all at fault.

I sympathize with the families affected, but we all have choices. Commercial fish stocks will never again support the number of men and vessels it once did. It is a sad story all around and we all lose.

GIB CHASE

Wildlife Biologist, Northborough

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