Term Paper: Political / Environmental Economics

Pages: 12 (3874 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Environmental Science  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] We have a groundfishing industry, and shellfish, lobster

QUESTION: And you won't have to sell out to developers?

ANSWER: Gloucester has a 380-year history of being closely joined at the hip to the sea. And I don't see that tradition being interrupted.

QUESTION: I take it the delay on Amendment 13 was due to the flawed methodology used in surveying the fish population by the NMFS?

ANSWER: Had the court had its way, and had the environmentalists had their way, there would have been no delay. Their goal was essentially to put the fishing communities of New England, out of business.

QUESTION: You really think that was their goal?

ANSWER: Oh absolutely.

QUESTION: Indirectly, you mean, right? You don't mean that they would deliberately try to put your town out of business?

ANSWER: They knew exactly what they were doing. These are very sophisticated organizations. Their idea of conservation is, ah, eliminate the harvesters.

QUESTION: Okay, and can you give me a thumbnail on why the judge granted a delay to Amendment 13?

ANSWER: The reason that the judge gave everyone a stay [until May, 2004], is because, a group called the Northeast Seafood Coalition [for which Bell is chair]...put a great deal of pressure on the court, to rethink its judgement. That, coupled with strong public support, and political support; it at least prevented a complete collapse of the groundfishing industry in New England.

SECOND INTERVIEW: Dr. Priscilla Brooks, Senior Economist & Marine Resources Project Director, Conservation Law Foundation, by speakerphone, 5/12/03.

QUESTION: During my conversation with Mayor John Bell of Gloucester this afternoon, he said your group's goal was "...essentially to put the fishing communities of New England, out of business." He said the CLF's "...idea of conservation is to eliminate the harvesters." How to your respond?

ANSWER: Well, we don't quite expect to hear that tone out of politicians.

QUESTION: But could you specifically respond to the mayor's charge that your group is trying to shut down New England fishing communities?

ANSWER: First of all, the delay in Amendment 13 was thanks to the conservation groups. We went back to the judge and said, we need an 8-month delay on that. We have to make sure we have the best available science to base these restrictions on. We got the delay. The second thing is, we have no such goal, to put fishermen out of business - or to eliminate the harvesters. That's absolutely preposterous. If anything, our goal is to help make the fishing industry a healthy, thriving industry. And in order to do that, we need to have healthy fish populations.

QUESTION: Where is the empirical evidence of the depletion of the fish resources offshore from Gloucester?

ANSWER: Where is the empirical evidence? It's plain as day. The scientists have been conducting research for about a hundred years, on the groundfish stocks. You can clearly see the pattern of the decline of the biomass. It was right around the middle 1990s, after regulations went into place, that we started to see some increases in fish populations. Before that, the fish population was at the lowest level ever observed.

QUESTION: Your group sued the federal government in 1991, claiming they were failing to correctly manage marine resources, right?

ANSWER: That's right. And, new management regulations went into place in 1994, and that was a direct result of our lawsuit. The settlement agreement said that the New England Management Council had to come up with a rebuilding plan. Unfortunately, by the time those regulations went into effect, that year, cod, haddock and Yellowtail were declared collapsed. They put into place year-long closures on Georges Bank, 6,000 square miles, responding to biomass declines.

QUESTION: And then your group sued the NMFS in May 2000, which was upheld in December, 2000. What did that result in?

ANSWER: Every fishing town and group signed onto that settlement except Gloucester. From Maine to Cape Cod to Rhode Island. The settlement allowed for interim management measures to govern while the NMFS developed a new plan for managing marine resources.

QUESTION: What is going on right now with the Amendment 13 situation?

ANSWER: Amendment 13 is a new fishing management plan. There will be public hearings in the fall...and the plan will go into place in May, 2004. The more we delay, the more we put these fish populations in peril. First of all, the fish population is a national resource, and its held in the public trust by the government. So, it's yours, it's mind, it's the fishermen's, it's the little old lady in Iowa's fish. And second, we don't know exactly how many fish there are, but we have a pretty good idea because we've been studying it for a hundred years.

QUESTION: You say on your Web site that with proper management, in a few years fishermen could be harvesting three to four times what they catch now.

QUESTION: Absolutely. And that's pretty dramatic. There's no doubt that decades of mismanagement by the federal government have left the fishermen with the short end of the stick. They're being forced to endure restrictions because the federal government did not have the backbone to manage the fishery.

THIRD INTERVIEW: Marlene Frost, Employee with a Gloucester Bed & Breakfast, Harbor View Inn. Interviewed by speakerphone, 5/12/03.

QUESTION: Has there been any noticeable decline in your business since the slow-down in fishing? Or, has there been an increase due to "The Perfect Storm"?

ANSWER: No, no impact on us because of fishing. But "The Perfect Storm" has totally increased our business, and practically every business in Gloucester. They want to go to the bar and see that. I've given a lot of directions to tourists on that.

QUESTION: From a non-fisherman's perspective, how do you see the current fishing restrictions?

ANSWER: Years ago, the boats would come in, and have so much fish on it, it would actually be going down, low, in the water. You're talking, fifty to sixty pounds of fish. And now, the boats come in with a small amount, compared with the past. And the government buys boats back from fishermen because they're not doing any business, and the government ends up sinking them.

FOURTH INTERVIEW: Jalen "Gus" Foote, City Councilman, Gloucester; interview by speakerphone, 5/11/03.

QUESTION: What other employment is there in Gloucester for a fisherman who is out of a job?

ANSWER: I tell you, I fished here for 30 years, before I went on the city council. Most of them are lifetime fishermen, and that's all they know how to do. Some of them are at ages where they only have a few years left to go fishing.

QUESTION: The movie, "The Perfect Storm" - what did that do for Gloucester?

ANSWER: It portrayed the fishermen that all they did was drink and everything. That isn't true. My dad came to this country and fished many, many years. My brother was lost on a boat in 1960. Yes, the movie showed the danger of being a fisherman, but I didn't pay too much attention to scenes where fishermen lived in barrooms. That's not true. It was never true of my family, anyway. And yes, we all go in and have a beer or two sometimes, but the movie showed that when we had four days off we spent it all in bars. That's not so. What the movie did show is that it's a dangerous life on the sea, but it's a good life, too. You feel like you're free. I began fishing when I was 14, and gee, there was nothing like it. You're like a free person out on the ocean.

QUESTION: And so, when did you retire from fishing?

ANSWER: I went into the Marine Corps for four years, in the Korean War, and came back and fished with my dad until 1963, I think. I was on a boat that caught fire down off Newfoundland, so that ended my fishing career. So I ran for city council, and I've been on the council now almost thirty years.

QUESTION: When that boat caught fire, how did you get out of the situation?

ANSWER: Believe it or not, when she caught fire, believe it or not, it was around midnight, and we were in a storm. This was a steel vessel. I was the engineer. The captain, the late Captain Willis Powers...he ordered the shutting and locking of all the doors and portholes on the boat, and we waited. The fire gradually went out. The deck itself bubbled up a little bit, but I guess God was with us

FIFTH INTERVIEW: Angela Sanfilippo, president of the "oldest fishing organization in the country," the Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association. Interview by speakerphone, 5/12/03

QUESTION: How many fishermen out of the Gloucester harbor have been lost at sea over the years?

ANSWER: It is an estimated 10,000 men.

QUESTION:… [END OF PREVIEW]

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