Over Fishing and the War on Science

Blogfish has an interesting writeup on what they call “New England’s War on Science” ( might think of it as “Coastal New England’s War on Science”)

Fishing interests in New England have convinced politicians to launch a new war on science and common sense. They want to keep catching fish faster than they can reproduce.

New England’s war on science might be dismissed as simple regional protectionism if it didn’t include Senators Kennedy, Kerry, Snowe, Collins, Reed, Whitehouse and Shaheen. That’s not just a few fishermen throwing elbows. Or is it?

Which is, of course, a mix of Democratic and Republican politicians.

This war has been going on since Sixteen Oh Something when Samuele de Champlain watched his men pulling pulling ‘countless cod sufficient such ye can walk across their backs to reech thine distant shore’ or words to that effect and his first mate and ship’s surgeon started arguing over whether cod reproduced naturally or were placed there by divine intervention as were humans.

OK, I’m joking about the exact details of Champlain’s observation, but it is true that back in the day you could not swing a dead catfish without hitting a shoal of cod on the New England coast, and today there are almost none. The sea has been scoured almost clean in this region. And, most disturbing, we have good Democrats with their own war on science.

Go to Blogfish’s links and poke around with the links.

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0 thoughts on “Over Fishing and the War on Science

  1. I’m more than a little out of touch on this, but a couple of decades back stories were goin’ ’round that “fishing interests in New England” = the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon.

    More recently it’s been claimed that Moon controls at least 75% of the US wholesale sushi market, but those reports didn’t specify where the fish were caught. As the Moonies are famous for operating multiple levels of shell companies, connecting all the relevant dots would probably take more than a few minutes of web searching, but it might be worthwhile for those attempting to shame politicians into abandoning this particular crime against nature.

  2. I am a part time commercial fisherman with strong links to the science side of the issue. It is not as black-and-white as blogfish lets on. There is less fishing going on, landings are down, and regulations take too long to promulgate and show effect.

    This summer, in New England, there will be a dogfish quota, several years after figures showed that there was a population that could support it. Meanwhile, those dogfish were eating everything else.

    Quota for my own targeted species changes every year, but since I am so small time it has little effect on my fishing effort or result. Even so, my little piece of the fish pie is under attack, from my own state rep among others.

    25 years ago the Moonies were into giant bluefin tuna off the New England coast, mostly working out of Gloucester. They had an efficient set-up and did well.

  3. joemac.

    The fact that there is a commercial DOGFISH!!!!!! fishery at all is as starkly black and white an illustration of the decimation of fishing stocks as I can imagine. I remember reading National Fisherman magazine in the late 70s / early 80s – when they were also the best boating magazine around, bar none – and reading about a handful of fishermen wondering if there might be commercial market for dogfish, because as a trash fish it was starting to dominate the hauls of fish they were targeting. And commercial fishermen responding in disgust to the idea – targeting those slimy foul fish?! That one can now point to dogfish(!!!!) as an overpopulated problem top predator (“those dogfish were eating everything else”) and an important fishery is a stark comment on the problem.

    Your fisheries aren’t “under attack” by regulators or legislators. Your fisheries are largely gone – y’all are arguing over how many crumbs to scrape off the floor, after the great overfishing feast of the last several decades has left the larder bare.

    Overfishing is a fact, and it has decimated the fisheries. Erring on the side of underfishing – substantial underfishing – is the only acceptable way to manage what tiny remnants are left of those fisheries.

  4. My family were fisherman (a half of a generation ago) and had to give up the trade because of the lack of fish. Fisher people in the level of a family business can understand the problem of overfishing.

  5. It’s easy to just demonize fisherman when a fishery collapses, but many of these people are just trying to get by. It’s not that they “don’t understand”, it’s not that they’re “greedy”… in many cases fishing sustainably simply can’t pay the bills.

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