To the editor:

Quantum physics tells us a particle can be in two places at once. Fish are like that, too. A fish can be both a fish and food at the same time. Most of the time fish are just fish, drifting with the currents like cod, charging across the Atlantic like bluefin tuna or hiding on the bottom like flounder. Those fish are invisible. They're just fish.

Fishermen have always been pretty good at knowing where and when fish are also food. Scientists have equipment like sonar, radar, GPS and computers to find fish that could become food. But neither can cover the ocean enough in time and distance to really know when and where fish can become food. Scientists only have a couple of research boats to scan a huge region and the fishermen are now required to spend most of the time tied to the pier. How can we figure out how to discover when fish are also food? Idea: Rather than charge fishermen $700 a day (a possibility for 2020) to carry a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration observer to keep track of fish and food, how about NOAA pay fishermen to go to sea daily as research vessels to carry federal observers on transects across the Gulf of Maine to accumulate hundreds of times the data -- data that both scientists and fishermen can agree on? Then scientists and fishermen could find fish and food together.

Shep Abbott


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