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I was a member of the GOP growing up and a registered Republican. I would be embarrassed to be a member of a party today that seemingly revers stupidity and calls it 'freedom' or equates any regulations with 'interfering with the free market.'
Do these two Congressman even remotely know anything or or have any experience with commercial fishing?
This is great news for American fisheries. At the same time, Americans import 89 percent of the fish they consume. This means that even though the U.S. has had some success at managing domestic stocks, the country is still contributing to overfishing (or unsustainable aquaculture practices) elsewhere in the world, including illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Still much work to do.
And just who are these two Republican fence-posts? It is clear they are part of the willfully ignorant and stop-progress-at-any-cost wing of the party, but surely they have names and districts.
"That is a tribute to America learning a simple truth—that scientists, not fishermen or politicians, should decide how many fish can be caught".
Hopefully, this lesson will be applied to many more areas of public policy as a rule, and not an exception. I'm not holding my breath, however.
One of the most confusing things about the GOP, in my mind, is that they are obsessed with the idea of not getting something for nothing when it comes to social programs and the like, but when it comes to the environment and natural resources, they desperately cling to free ridership and completely ignor social costs. Markets aren't just natural occurances that operate independent of human intervention, they ALL are designed in some way.
Can we start overfishing some Republicans? (at least the modern version of republicans) They seem to stand in the way of everything that makes sense.
But don't forget that the whales in question, on Norway and Iceland's part, involve the minke whale, of which there is great abundance and no threat of extinction.
There's a lot of mis-information and misunderstanding around whaling.
Sadly, the two Republican congressmen behind the ban consider they have been designed “to destroy every aspect of American freedom under the guise of conservation”.
Finally someone stands up to the aquatic menace lurking right off our shores. We all know fish are terrible people. Fish: don't trust em.
"a simple truth—that scientists, not fishermen or politicians, should decide how many fish can be caught"
This truth is know everywhere, but politics gets in the way. It helps that the US leads the world in marine biology, butI think the American success is tribute to the fact that this issue can be decided centrally, by one government. There have been other successes in places around the world, e.g. the UK management of the Falkland Islands fisheries.
Where it goes wrong seems to me to be where fisheries are controlled either by inept or failed states, or by international committees. For instance ICCAT which is supposed to conserve Atlantic Tuna is manifestly corrupt and is quickly destroying the tuna stocks.
There is still a lot of work to do, but unfortunately it is very tricky (not necessarily hard, but tricky). I would love to know what the solution is to elsewhere in the world. If the US interfered in anyway in these other countries fishing policies (for example by providing aid with strings attached) surely it would be labeled imperialistic, if it somehow stopped buying seafood from fisheries labeled illegal, unreported, and unregulated it would be labeled protectionist, and if it did nothing it would be labeled an ignorant consumer. But then again, no matter what America is always wrong.
I live on the other side of the Atlantic where fish stocks are managed by political influence and not science. Our stocks are some of the poorest in the world. We too have a proposal to give ownership of the fish to commercial fishermen. Its called ITQ's (Individual Transferable Quotas) If the proposal goes thru then commercial fishermen can sell "their " quota on the open market. I have a massive issue with this. The fish in the sea belong to us all and not to people who own a commercial fishing boat. They should be managed to give the best, sustainable return to everybody. It may be different in the US but in Europe it would be like handing over ownership of the chicken house to the foxes!
"That is a tribute to America learning a simple truth—that scientists, not fishermen or politicians, should decide how many fish can be caught"
But not how many whales, apparently.. This should be left to the politicians' interpretation of their voters preference, and then attempted enforced globally.
"America’s fisheries are probably now managed almost as well as the world’s best, in Norway, Iceland, New Zealand and Australia"
Strange isn't it, that the countries who agree on a scientific basis for fish stock management, disagree so strongly on applying the same to marine mammals.
Great article. Thanks to the Economist for shedding more light on this high stakes topic. Senator Southerland and the other elected officials who voted for the ban on catch shares must be educated. I have spoken to several law makers about fisheries management and, in particular, conservative republicans have a knee jerk reaction about conservation laws. One politician told me that using our resources up was not only our God-granted right but doing so would ensure the Rapture was not delayed. How does one counter arguments so completely ungrounded in reality?
Our local Republicans are indeed bone-headed about this issue but so are the NOAA people who have been allocating fish shares based on favoritism. Our smaller fisherman (often poorly educated Portuguese who cannot maneuver through the NOAA bureaucracy) have been locked out of the market completely and are being driven out of business while the larger fleet owners are cleaning up.
IFQs are certainly the way to go but we need to get NOAA politics out of the picture before the system can be seen as equitable.
New Bedford, Massachusetts
good for the bluefish but its oily flesh is not as good as flounder or grouper. how is the red snapper fisheries faring? the article doesnot say. it was overfished too. politics should intervene and not science to curb the export of tuna and swordfish to asia. those longliners are killing everything in the sea and sending most of it to japan. that is not sustainable.
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