Jes Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman magazine and NationalFisherman.com.
Friday, 08 October 2010
The National Marine Fisheries Service took another step away from serving fisheries yesterday.
Doug DeMaster, a research director at NMFS, announced on Thursday that the service is rejecting the North Pacific Fishery Management Council's recommendations on restrictions and closures in Pacific cod and Atka mackerel fisheries of the Western Aleutian Islands and will instead hurry forth with its own drastic measures to completely shut down these fisheries.
The goal, they say, is to adhere to the Endangered Species Act to protect Steller's sea lions. However, the protection efforts, resulting from a "jeopardy finding," are based on two of seven subpopulations of the western population of Steller's sea lions.
So by no means is it clear that this species, or even its western population, is in serious danger.
Yet, we are in such a bind, apparently, to protect a minority of a population of this species that we are shutting down an entire jobs sector in Alaska.
If NMFS wanted to shut down these fisheries entirely, and the council wanted to avoid closures altogether, why can there be no middle ground?
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