My brother sent me this article on blue crab stock decline in Chesapeake Bay:
It’s amazing how many times you see “overfishing” in an article like this. Yet if you were to look at the harvest, it’s likely the fishermen were not fishing illegally, but were harvesting according to regulation. Which means whoever was managing the fishery did not set regulations properly – or were not allowed to by the political system. This government problem almost always sets the commercial fishermen as the scapegoat. It would be like saying the deer population is down because hunters “overhunted”, even if each hunter only harvested up to what the government said he could.
I saw the same attitude in the south, where commercial fishermen were blamed for “overfishing” red drum stocks, the same government that should have been regulating the fishery properly then shut down the fishery (because that’s a whole lot easier with so few employed in commercial fishing and appease the sport fishing interests). Then – what a surprise – all the Louisiana cajun restaurants were now out of fish for their trademark blackened cajun redfish dishes.
The people always left out of the discussion are the biggest users of these resources – the non-harvesting consumer. Commercial fishermen don’t harvest fish for “fun” or “sport”, they harvest it because consumers want to eat their catch. And if they are US consumers, they are the people who “own” the fish, and should demand more accountability from their government if they want to continue to eat wild seafood.
Mark Stopha and Sara Hannan
Alaska Wild Salmon Company
Wild Salmon and Salmon Pet Treats
4455 N. Douglas Hwy
Juneau, AK 99801