Written by Linc Bedrosian
Thursday, 22 March 2012
The Keep Fishermen Fishing rally in Washington, D.C., has come and gone, as have the buses that carried commercial and recreational fishermen alike to Wednesday's demonstration. So was the event a success? The answer may depend on the yardstick you're using.
If you're measuring its success by attendance, you may initially have doubts. According to a press statement issued by the Marine Fish Conservation Network, which opposes bills seeking to relax the Magnuson-Stevens Act's 10-year stock rebuilding mandate, crowd size was estimated as a paltry 300 people. Yikes!
But mainstream media news story estimates set the number of commercial and recreational fishermen attending as between 1,000 to 3,000 people. If it was closer to 1,000, then folks could argue that the demonstration didn't attract as many fishermen as the 2010 fishermen's rally did. Back then, fishermen similarly gathered in Washington to voice their dissatisfaction with increasingly stringent regulations that make it more difficult for small-boat fishermen to earn a living.
Of course, one could also argue that thanks to those onerous regulations, there may be fewer fishermen left to demonstrate than there were two years ago. However, the Gloucester (Mass.) Times cited reports indicating that some buses carrying fishermen to the demonstration site, which would have bumped up the attendance figure, got stuck in traffic in Manhattan and Delaware.
If crowd size was closer to 3,000, then the same number of folks attended as did in 2010. Moreover, Wednesday's rally reportedly attracted even more politicians than the 2010 one did. Politicians who are backing the fishermen-supported legislation to amend the Magnuson-Stevens Act spoke at the rally, proclaiming their support for the fishermen's cause.
That alone suggests that fishermen are increasingly gaining the ears of federal lawmakers who have the power to bring about change. And if that translates into passage of bills that make the Magnuson-Stevens Act more fisherman-friendly, the rally will be deemed a success by the only yardstick that matters — action.
Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.
Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.Read more...
The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is teaming up with leading shark-tracking nonprofit Ocearch to build the most extensive shark-tagging program in the Gulf of Mexico region.
In October, Ocearch is bringing its unique research vessel, the M/V Ocearch, to the gulf for a multi-species study to generate previously unattainable data on critical shark species, including hammerhead, tiger and mako sharks.Read more...