Opinion: Don't take NOAA for an answer

Barney Frank was in town last week and he was gloating, admittedly gloating, over a National Research Council report that basically told fishing regulators that they’ve been doing it all wrong.

Well, not ALL wrong, but wrong enough that the former congressman feels vindicated in his criticism of how the National Oceanic and Atmoshperic Administration fisheries does its business.
 
“Gloating is one of the few pleasures that get better with old age,” Frank told a meeting of the fledgling Center for Sustainable Fisheries, a new pro-fishing lobbying group organized by former New Bedford Mayor Scott Lang. “I don’t have to take a pill before, during or after.”
 
OK, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.
 
What we have here is a golden opportunity. This report about how NOAA manages fish has been percolating for what, three or four years? Former NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco ordered up this study to deflect the hailstorm of criticism she endured following the catch shares and sector management scheme started strangling the Northeast groundfishery.
 
It was an escape hatch, a holding maneuver, to keep critics at bay while the eco-lobbyists within and without NOAA commenced dismantling the fishing industry.
 
Now, Lubchenco is long gone and it is left to her successors to figure out what, if anything, to do about this.
 
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