(EDF Blog post can be viewed here)
Kate, when you mention "other stakeholders" are you referring to the investors that were in attendance at the Milken Institute Conference in Los Angeles, April 2009, when David Festa assured them at least a 400% return on their catch share invested money? Catch shares which, by the way, were not approved and implemented by NMFS until June. What a financial visionary is your VP. Are these the opportunities you refer to that were never available under previous management?
If it's investor capital opportunities you're referring to, you are absolutely correct. Previously the fish always stayed with the license and the fishermen. Catch shares separate the fish from the fishermen and invite investment "Funds" to make some "real money", as it was put at that conference, from a publically owned fish resource. Yes, what opprotunity! And it saves us all from the "tragedy of the commons", as well. Actually, the real "tragedy of the commons" is that the resource has been stolen from the common people and awarded to the investor class.
The largest fishing port in Massachusetts, New Bedford, has two thirds of its fleet tied up for lack of catch share allocation. Only large fleet owners made out under the catch share system in New England and even some of the winners know how destructive to our industry this scheme will be, ultimately. Many small boat fishermen and some vital shoreside support businesses are already gone, with many others on the brink of bankruptcy. Is this the "menu of options" and benefits that catch shares afford to fishermen and fishing communities that were never before available?
Communities did not "suffer under traditional fisheries management" because of the TYPE of management; they suffered and still are and even more so today, because of unnecessarily low TAC's due to inaccurate and stale stock assessment, spawned by negative PR campaigns, and politically driven hyperbolic "research" conclusions.
Days-at-Sea, hierarchical ecosystem with a point dis-incentive system, catch shares, input-output, closed spawning areas, makes no difference, it's the TAC that controls fish mortality. Days-at-Sea at least do not commodify a publically owned resource for Wall Street and "Funds" like yours to play with, while creating economic havoc for the fishing communities.
Read and review the list of recommendations outlined in the previous writer's comment and please state how many of these "opportunities" have been implemented for the fishing communities of Gloucester MA, New Bedford MA, Point Judith RI, Stonington CT, Montauk and Shinnecock NY, Point Pleasant and Cape May NJ, Hatteras NC, etc.
These "fishermen and their communities" are in big trouble not for lack of fish in the ocean, but because of your wonderful "options for improving communities and fisheries" that "explode under catch shares". When revenues are honestly appraised by factoring in the new additional cost of first buying the fish before catching and landing them---which requires GAMBLING on the future market price thus adding another variable to the process---REVENUES ARE NOT UP! Many fishermen are winding up a trip in the red, because of a drop in prices which were higher when the poundage was purchased sometimes months in advance and, at best, fishermen are spending 40% to 80% of the ex-vessel revenue before they leave the dock. With very little financial liquidity in the system for most fishing businesses, THIS IS NOT A VIABLE SYSTEM FOR SMALL BUSINESS INDEPENDENT FISHERMEN!
Your organization has previously spun ECOTRUST's research; it looks like you're at it again.
Stop the Lies. Back up your Spin!
Dick Grachek, F/V Anne Kathryn, Point Judith RI