, Gloucester, MA

May 8, 2013

Letter: NOAA leader's actions don't add up

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

This is an open letter to NOAA regional administrator John Bullard.

Dear John, I’m leaving you. You’ve lost me. You’ve tripped yourself up in your misinformation too many times.

The honeymoon is over. It’s all over. My heart is broken. And I’m angry. Do you actually expect anyone to believe this gurry barge you just attempted to foist upon the public as truth? This is Gloucester. We still hear the shrill echos of your elitist “nobody is guaranteed a job for life” — unless you’re “the Shredder” and his enforcement gang. Then your callous “day of reckoning” comment! Bet you wish you could take that one back!

Comparing scallops to the entire multi-species complex is similar to comparing a barroom shoving match to a nuclear holocaust. We both know that codfish will never approach the ex-vessel price of scallops! Yet that inference seems to be just one of your numerous delusions.

Similar to lowering fish sizes, which flies in the face of everything the industry has accepted, and indeed, suggested over the past 20 years, we increased mesh sizes and their associated fish sizes so that every fish would have a chance to reproduce itself before entering the fishery. It works. It’s called sustainability.

Discards of undersized fish are currently insignificant in the larger picture. We haven’t been landing the monkfish total allowable catch as it was, so a measly 4.7 percent increase is meaningless. In fact, if it could have been responsibly increased, why hasn’t it already been done? And dogfish?

You really think another 1,000 pounds a day of 18-cent fish is going to save anybody? Then there’s my personal favorite — redfish, the biggest joke of all. To help out a handful of the biggest offshore players with the most political clout, and quota — and every one of them knows that we know who every one of them is — you’ve got the nerve to reduce mesh size by almost two inches and fish size for a full two inches on the slowest growing fish in the complex? When there’s no market, no infrastructure?

You know what size filet you get off a 7-inch redfish, even if you can find someone to cut it? Most of those people are long dead, as was the redfishery up until large mesh and fish sizes saved the stock from the brink. And what good are a few more blackbacks and hake if we haven’t got the codfish to access them?

Now I’ve got a few questions for you. When was the last time NMFS or NOAA went to Congress or the president and said, “We need some disaster relief funding for these guys, and we need it now!” — or “we’ve got to write some flexibility into the Magnusson re-authorization so we can ditch these arbitrary rebuilding timelines!”?

When, John? When was the last time NOAA went to bat for us?



Captain, F/V Sasquatch