In this video, Dr. Daniel Pauly, a leading fisheries scientist, discusses the problems with catch shares.
I was inspired to post the interview with Dr. Pauly after receiving a petition from the Environmental Defense Fund asking me to push my congresspeople to support catch shares. Had I not had this discussion with Dr. Pauly, I would not have realized how controversial they are. To find out more, I called Florida fisher and conservationist Don DeMaria to get his thoughts. “Catch shares”, he told me, “reward the biggest environmental violators at the expense of small, local fishers and their communities.”
Don also pointed me to some interesting articles on the history of catch share policy. Here is a link to one: http://bit.ly/9J9Jov (Read down for the Environmental Defense Fund/Walmart connection. Just sayin’.)
There are many favorable assessments of catch shares out there, which is not surprising because the EDF has put enormous resources behind them. If you go to their website, and search “catch shares”, you’ll find a lot of information. For an alternate assessment, go to Food and Water Watch.
One thing’s for sure, if we destroy the artisinal fishing culture in coastal communities, it won’t come back. And that will be a blow to fish as well as people. Another quote from Dr. Pauly: “In the future, we will have small scale sustainable fisheries or no fisheries at all.”
Before catch shares are instituted further, there needs to be a lot of discussion about how to make sure our oceans don’t become another corporate commodity.