Best available science…

A term that have been thrown around quite a bit over the last two years while sector management has been implemented.  Seems to make sense:  Use the most recent numbers to make decisions and allocate quota to the fleet.  Unless, of course, that science is going to bring too much bad press to the sector system which must be protected at all costs to ensure that the cash cow continues to spew milk for the profiteers.   Case in point: Pollock.  Immediately considered a ‘choke’ species, whose allocations were too low (based on the best available science) to allow vessels to continue to fish for other species.   The powers that be recognized the potential for anti-sector press and simply said: “Whoops.  Seems our numbers were off.  There are actually ten times more pollock than we thought”

Now, after a year and a half of listening to the big green machine regurgitate numbers to assure us that sectors will be a huge success once a few little wrinkles are ironed out,  it seems the best available science has discovered a crash in the Gulf of Maine cod population.   Talk of a potential 90% cut in allocations for next year.  Just three years ago the cod stock assessment assured that what the fishermen were seeing was right on: a healthy population on the rise.   While the contradictions as to who is at fault begin to stack up, I think that it is important to remember one thing: it won’t matter what the allocations are; it won’t matter who will profit from selling quota that they do not have to catch; it will not matter how many offshore boats are fishing inshore; it will not matter who’s ‘fault’ it is; If there are no fish to catch, everyone who goes to sea to make a living is fucked.

NOAA’s army of recent college grads will not suffer.  They will conduct business as usual.  As will EDF, CLF, PEW and all of the other enlightened regurgitators who believe they can make predictions on how  nature will respond to numbers on paper.  Someone will eventually have to recognize that the best available science is either not being conducted and/or acted upon timely  enough; is not being used properly; or is so far off base that on the whole it resembles a fine set of tits on a bull.

Fishermen have always dealt with boom and bust.  But remember, before sectors there were more options.  Hand-cuffed by groundfish allocations, there is only so much  room for more  lobster traps; there are only so many tuna to catch; and native shrimp populations are starting to look like the first casualty of the sector system.

Merry Christmas.

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2 Responses to “Best available science…”

  1. tuf Says:

    well done doug .beyond your blog ….. can you submit this article to gloucester times ? editorial section of commercial fisheries news ?
    EDITOR — LORELI STEVENS lstevens@fish-news.com would like to see it there . MERRY CHRISTMAS

  2. Sean Says:

    Not only wont they lose their jobs, but you can bet your ass that the fishermen will get the blame from the well oiled big green machine’s PR flunkys. Keep up the muckracking Doug, you speak well for fishermen.

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