Written by Jen Finn
September 25, 2012
One more time
Here's the news as we were going to press in November.
The cover of the most recent issue of Trade Winds, the newspaper of the North Carolina Fisheries Association, featured photos of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, NOAA's Jane Lubchenco and Eric Schwaab of NMFS, and asked, "Can industry survive these three?"
In Massachusetts, the mayors of Gloucester and New Bedford called for an investigation into virtually all aspects of federal regulatory processes around marine fisheries.
Along Florida's Gulf Coast, 64 percent of respondents to a Naples Daily News poll said neither the government nor BP had been truthful about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
And Steve Bodnar, executive director of the Coos Bay (Ore.) Trawler Association, declared that the implementation of catch shares means that "most of us will not be in business in 10 years."
There's really not much to say about NOAA that I didn't say last month, except that it is operationally so egregious that if commercial and recreational fishermen stay focused and cohesive I believe we will see the replacement of Lubchenco.
It's one thing to disagree with policy makers. I disagreed with Bill Hogarth all the time. (Strictly speaking, Hogarth was not Lubchenco's predecessor, as he ran NMFS, not NOAA. But both can lay claim to being the face of U.S. fishery management in their time.)
However, Hogarth had a background in fishery science and management, and I remain convinced that he wanted to do right by industry but was constrained by circumstances as he perceived them.
It's much harder to empathize with Lubchenco, whose orientation is limiting fisheries, not fulfilling their potential.
And although she took the NOAA position pledging to be guided by science, she has effectively turned her back on the study of the natural world and committed U.S. fishery management to the shaky political science of catch shares.
Meanwhile, the enforcement debacle in the Northeast malingers on, unresolved, raising questions about how well prepared she is to run a federal bureaucracy the size of NOAA.
* * *
If you've read this month's "Hail," you know that I am stepping aside as editor in chief. I had hoped to devote this space this month to a somewhat more lyrical swan song. But alas, I reasoned, coming into this issue I'd tried my best through 136 Editor's Logs to get things right.
Why not, I decided, give it one more try?
Thanks for the opportunity.
– Jerry Fraser
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