Taxpayers Asked to Subsidize Unsustainable Fishing Policies
|January 9, 2007||Posted by Staff under Archive, Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Gorton Wants Taxpayers to Subsidize Overzealous Fishing Companies
Here’s a news release from Greenpeace, indicating more and more efforts by “rent-seekers” to privatize humanity’s common heritage.
Backroom Lawmaking Uncovered As Industrial Fishing Interests Plot Further Domination Of American Oceans
SEATTLE – August 18 – In the darkest traditions of backroom lawmaking, Washington State is replacing Washington, DC as the home of shady deal-making. Tomorrow, Senator Slade Gorton’s office is hosting a strategy session for managing the nation’s largest fishery in the North Pacific. His guest list is composed primarily of top executives from the factory trawler industry. Gorton is trying to quietly placate factory trawler interests in his backyard, forsaking other fisheries which remain vulnerable to the return of these vessels.
Greenpeace Fisheries Legislative Director Gerry Leape called the meeting a deliberate attempt to subvert the established legislative process for developing national policy.
“This is a textbook example of the fox guarding the hen house,” said Leape. “It is ludicrous to expect the same corporations which have mined the seas to the point of collapse to plan for a sustainable future.”
Just two years after their failure to gain Congressional endorsement to privatize the billion-dollar pollock fishery in the North Pacific, the factory trawlers are now proposing a backdoor route to the same result — the right to amass, buy, and sell fishing quotas among themselves.
Publisher’s note — let’s be clear on this point. The trawler interests are NOT proposing that these fishing quotas be auctioned off by the government each year, and they are NOT proposing that smaller fishing interests be allowed to bid for these quotas. They are looking only for free handouts, not a free market.
“What the factory trawler interests are calling for is the next step toward totally privatizing a public resource at taxpayer expense,” Leape said. “When that happens, conservation takes a back seat to the corporate bottom line.”
The proposal is the factory trawler industrys counter offer to S. 1221, The American Fisheries Act, introduced earlier this year by Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. In its original form, the bill would have eventually phased out factory trawlers from US waters, prompting intense pressure from the Seattle-based factory trawler fleet on Sen. Gorton to water down the bills most effective components.
Greenpeace is currently conducting a summer-long bus tour, educating the thousands of Americans who have come to greet the bus on the dangers of factory trawling, both to the environment and the economy. Factory trawlers have nets as long as four football fields that can catch millions of pounds of fish in a single day — much faster than nature can replace them. These giant vessels waste hundreds of millions of pounds of unwanted “bycatch” each year. They are destroying the marine food chain, driving the decline of other marine species, and depriving America’s small-scale fishing communities of their livelihoods.
What do you think? Why don’t fishing interests favor good old American freedom and competition? Tell The Progress Report!