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Opinion

October 25, 2012

Letter: Fish 'reopenings' another false premise

To the editor:

All through the fisheries “crises’” over the past 25 years, the New England Fishery Management Council has always left the offshore fleet somewhere to fish — not so with the inshore fleet, which has been admittedly overburdened by extensive inshore closures, forcing them to tie up for periods of up to six months over the course of a season.

So it comes as no surprise to me that the closed areas now under consideration for reopening are all outside — or in the so-called Cape Cod hook fishermen’s back yard. There’s no leg up for the day boats who are arguably in the toughest shape out of anybody.

It is hardly shocking that the commercial/recreational industry endorses status quo in order to preserve their exclusive access to thousands of square miles of prime bottom. And then there’s the eco-industry and its incessant threats to take anyone to court who disagrees with their agenda.

If these closures had achieved their intended objective, we should be up to our eyeballs in fish by now — but we’re not. If they were about habitat, then passive gear types like hooks and gillnets, should be allowed — and they’re not, with the notable exception of the commercial/recreational industry.

The fact is, management manipulation by and for special interest groups is ruining the resource and the industry, as a whole, simultaneously. This whole deal stinks worse than a gurry barge in July!

I believe, in the end, some of the less sensitive areas offshore may reopen despite vigorous opposition from radical eco interests. But that will only allow the most powerful fishing interests to further consolidate their grip on the fishery as they harvest a finite resource to the exclusion, and at the expense,of those who physically lack the opportunity to access these virgin areas.

It will be a gold rush, and that gold, in turn will finance the further contraction and consolidation of the fleet as those who are left out drop by the wayside one by one — just another master stroke in the master plan.

PAUL COHAN

Captain, F/V Sasquatch

Gloucester

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