Monday, June 22, 2009

New York Times on Fishing Councils

The New York Times recently published an editorial about overfishing. As you read it, keep in mind that the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands recently approved a plan to open up the United States Exclusive Economic Zone surrounding our islands to foreign fishing.

Some commentary:
Most of the world’s important commercial fish species have been declining for years. Nearly one-fourth are unable, essentially, to reproduce. The biggest cause of the deterioration in ocean health — bigger than climate change or pollution — is overfishing. American fisheries are in better shape than most but not by much.
Anyone who has fished on Saipan in the last 30 years knows that our fish stocks have crashed. Sure, the establishment of the small marine protected areas a few years backed have slowed the decline, but it has been a decline nonetheless. The same decline is being seen around the globe.
George W. Bush, though more sensitive to marine issues than other environmental problems, was slow to offer remedies, the most important being the establishment of three large protected marine reserves in the Pacific.
There it is again. The creation of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument was the most "important" environmental action President Bush took during his eight years in office. Go us!
Under the present system, America’s regional fishing councils, which are run largely by fishermen with federal oversight, set annual catch limits.
I have no comment on the fishing councils.

The editorial goes on to explain "catch shares" and how Dr. Jane Lubchenco is going to end overfishing in American waters.

Meanwhile, we just opened our waters to foreign fishing vessels.

No comments: