Despite years of increasingly strict regulations on Northeast groundfish harvesters, cod continue to lag well below federal stock rebuilding target levels. Jerry Fraser photoI am a big boy and I am accustomed to commercial fishing taking it on the chin in the mainstream media. Even by that standard, however, The Boston Globe’s Oct. 13 editorial, “As codfish dwindle, communities need to reboot,” was a low blow.

Especially troubling was its cynical, world-weary tone.

For example, it suggests that fishermen view scientists as “nosy researchers,” when in fact the industry is totally committed to the gathering of data.  

Here are a few more free samples:

“Fishermen are again protesting that they will lose everything.”
Why wouldn’t they protest? After 20 years of sacrificing for a better tomorrow, they’re told tomorrow has been canceled.

“Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk has retreated to the decades-old political stance of calling the science ‘questionable.’”
The science in question is federal, and for decades — with monks, with scallops, and with dogfish, for starters — the questions have been more than justified.

“The reflexive insistence on the status quo is untenable.”
The reflex the Globe is dismissing is the survival instinct. And precisely because they have such instincts, fishermen are insisting on anything but the status quo.

“It is clearly time for a new model that shelves the insular response to new quotas…”
By insular I assume the Globe is referring to the small community that is the groundfish industry. It would be less insular if there were more fishermen.

“A full-scale effort to retool requires a complete attitude change.”
Yes it does. I have been saying for going on 20 years that advocates for the environment, editorial writers and politicians need to view harvesters as the linchpin of resource management. 

“Fishermen have relied on vote-counting politicians to enable them to avoid the inevitable by begging Washington for disaster relief and congressional earmarks.”
Inevitable? Well, at least we know where the Globe stands. The reality is that elected officials who count votes can ignore groundfishermen at little political risk. More often than not, the disaster from which fishermen seek relief isn’t the status of stocks, it’s wrongheadedness, as readers of Monday’s Globe can attest.

A collection of stories from guest authors.

Join the Conversation