Jes Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman magazine and NationalFisherman.com.
Friday, 09 April 2010
Blogpic I find it quite curious that when it comes to the practices of American fishermen, we tend to get on a high horse (and rightfully so) about doing everything just right: the best gear that ensures the least bycatch (including, in the case of shrimpers, turtle interactions), leaving enough of the biomass to ensure the long-term survival of the species and bringing the catch to market when the processors and consumers want it the most.
All these factors often add up to high costs for fishermen, which they pass on in the form of dock price, as the market will bear.
Yet, somehow, when it comes to imported seafood, our regulators seem far less concerned about the gear and techniques being used to bring the catch to market.
I know this is not necessarily true of consumers, because sustainability and the MSC label are very popular subjects these days.
So I have to applaud the move to ban Mexican shrimp — and indeed any imports that come our shores via methods that are illegal in the United States. I would love to see the same action taken against consumer goods produced in sweatshops. It just happens that the Mexican shrimpers are easier to regulate.
And that's where I feel a little conflicted. U.S. fishermen have long been picked on because they're an easy target without a lot of lobbying power. But I suppose that will be easier to swallow as long as we're sharing the love.
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