GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

March 4, 2013

Letter: Fishing rules are about government control


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

Between 1932 and 1933, Joseph Stalin determined to centralize control of agricultural production in the Soviet Union.

The Ukraine had been the bread basket for the country. The mostly small, independent farms, had been significantly able to satisfy the vast country’s need for food. Stalin’s policies were not about improving either the production of food, or assisting the independent farmer, but were about an aggressive confiscation of private land for the consolidation of power. The consequence of that power grab resulted in the starvation of between 6 and 10 million of its citizens in those two years.

While our current administration is surely not about starving its citizens, it does appear to be seeking to accumulate heightened powers. The Times’ Feb. 19 editorial questioned the reliability of NOAA’s scientific data that has initiated new fishing limits, for reasons including “no rank and file fishermen who know the waters (were) allowed input into the study.”

Why would NOAA seek input if the goal is to consolidate the fishing industry into a few larger corporations that can be maintained, controlled and perhaps even influenced for campaign contributions? Independent contractors are unpredictable and far less manageable than corporate managers who can make deals over a vastly greater collective product than one small vendor can provide.

The fishing industry is not the only institution facing dramatic government challenge. Google sites like “Michigan declares war on family pig farms,” or “government interference, crop problem connection seen.” Investigation of various sites on the Internet related to the production of food, whether animal or agriculture, and government intervention, reveal a fertile ground for concern.

The independent and hardworking farmer/fisherman has always been at the heart of our country’s ability to feed and care for its people. Why would the government, seemingly, and even apparently, attempt to frustrate the efforts of the independent American food contractor and provider? The answer may include government ambitions to increase centralized power. If the government controls energy, and if it controls the nation’s food, it controls the people.

It is reasonable to expect that when there are only a few/no embattled folk left in a couple of years, the government may then declare to us that, through its great wisdom, the ocean has remarkably replenished itself. We may find it disconcerting in the future, to observe that the people fishing our New England waters are not our sons and daughters, but may be persons contracted for hire by a mega fish conglomerate.

There will be no consolation that the New England fisherman may be sharing a similar fate to the American independent farmer.

The cause of the demise of both groups will not be related to the failed efforts of hardworking Americans, however, but it may be because of an appetite for control by a power hungry government seeking to consolidate power to the few, in order to govern the many.

BEVERLY JOHNSON

Summer Street, Gloucester