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Letter to Wash. Post Re: Marine Fisheries
posted Oct 8, 2006 by Jim Beers

Your valiant attempt to describe the problems and solutions facing our commercial maritime fishermen, US Attempting to Reshape Fishing Rules – NATIONAL NEWS page A3 in the Sunday October 8 Post, suffers from two major flaws; one of commission and one of omission.

First, to use the Natural Resource Defense Council to comment on the “economic value” of fish stocks and how things will “hurt fishermen” is bizarre to say the least. The NRDC is an anti- natural resource management coalition that has shut down management programs and resource use programs all over this nation. Using them as a reference here is like asking PETA for their favorite fish and game recipes.

Second, you omitted the 800 lb. gorilla in the sea, that is the 90 species of whales, porpoises, and dolphins et al that enjoy sacred status under US and the rigged International Whaling Commission (IWC) laws and regulations. This does not include the 31 species of seals, sea lions, and walruses et al that are similarly protected under US and UN restrictions. You cannot recover the commercial fish stocks when 6 to 8 million (a conservative estimate) of these animals, many weighing tons, are unmanaged and reproducing like mice as they eat more and more plankton and bait fish and young and old and breeding commercial fish needed to recover ocean fisheries.

One need look no further than the decimation of elk and moose and sheep (bighorn and domestic) in the Yellowstone ecosystem as similarly protected wolves wreak havoc on what were once huntable populations, imagine their increased havoc on populations in trouble and then superimpose that impact on the fishery problem you describe.

This latter point is politically important at this moment. The Chairman of the House Resources Committee, Richard Pombo (R) of California is the target of millions of dollars and volunteers from the NRDC and it’s allies who want to defeat him for trying to set an acceptable limit on incidental take of porpoises in tuna nets (an incidental take of no biological significance). For that and supporting drilling in ANWR he is characterized unfairly as a villain.

We should amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act into the Marine Mammal Management Act (remember optimum sustainable populations?) it was supposed to be and change our position on the IWC from one of slavish “protection” of all these species to a position of proactively managing their numbers and distribution consistent with the commercial fish stocks everyone is so pious about.

Jim Beers
8 October 2006
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- Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Centreville, Virginia with his wife of many decades.

posted on October 8, 2006 3:10 PM ()

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