Saturday, June 9, 2012

Conservatives Take Aim at a Great American Regulatory Success – Safeguarding the Sustainability of Fish Stocks

Conservatives:  Can’t Have the Feds Denying the Freedom to Deplete the Fishing Industry Can We?

Government regulation is neither inherently good nor inherently bad.  It just is.  Proper regulation can bring stability and prosperity to an industry, such as the financial industry from the 1940’s until the genius’s decided to de-regulate it.  Another great example has been federal and state regulation of commercial fishing, it has turned into a great success and preserved an industry that would otherwise have failed.

The Result of Freedom Destroying
Regulation of Commercial Fishing

Oh the Horror!
FOR American fish, this is a good time to be alive. On May 14th the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that a record six federal fisheries returned to health last year. After a decade of similar progress, 86% of America’s roughly 250 federally monitored commercial fish stocks were not subject to overfishing; 79% were considered healthy.

This is also good for American fishermen. Commercial and recreational fishing generates an estimated $183 billion a year and supports over 1.5m full-time or part-time jobs. Rebuilding America’s 45 remaining over-exploited fish stocks, NOAA estimates, could generate an extra $31 billion a year and half a million jobs.

Of course, this success is not for every fishing stock, cod in particular remains in serious condition.  But the cod situation led to strengthening regulation with great success in other areas.

Despite this totem, in the late 1980s cod fisheries in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank collapsed. This led to efforts to improve the fishery act, in 1996 and 2006, which forced the eight regional bodies that manage federal fisheries to introduce science-based quotas and ten-year recovery programmes for depleted fisheries. The recent recovery of species, including New England scallops, mid-Atlantic bluefish and summer flounder and Pacific lingcod, is the result. This signals another truth: given a break, the marine environment can often replenish itself spectacularly.

The lesson here is reported by The Economist, a center/right publication that has no love for more government controls.

That is a tribute to America learning a simple truth—that scientists, not fishermen or politicians, should decide how many fish can be caught—and enforcing this with simple rules.

All this sounds pretty straight forward, and who could not be in favor of maintaining an industry that is vital to the Atlantic coast?  Conservative Republicans, that’s who.

On May 9th the House passed legislation forbidding NOAA from developing an innovative means of apportioning fishing quotas, known as catch shares. These are long-term, aiming to give fishermen a stake in the future of their fisheries; market-based, since they can be traded; and, in practice, good for fish. Sadly, the two Republican congressmen behind the ban consider they have been designed “to destroy every aspect of American freedom under the guise of conservation”.

Yes, those awful conservationists want to destroy the American freedom to exploit a natural resources to extinction, destroy the American freedom to kill a vital industry and destroy the American freedom to leave future generations with no commercial fisheries.

  Do these people even know what freedom is? 

1 comment:

  1. It's freedom from the tyranny of fish /sarcasm