Sunday, November 22, 2009

FL-18 Ros-Lehtinen: Saving the Atlantic and its fisheries is “unacceptable”

Talk about short-sighted. And this is my member of Congress, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-FL-18. As always, except for her very reluctant vote in favor of expanding children’s health insurance after numerous votes against it, she is on the wrong side of an issue. O woe, she bleats in the US House. If they impose these rules limiting fishing for grouper, her constituent in the Florida Keys will have to give up his charter fishing business. Exactly. Her constituent has been over-fishing since he was able to start an outboard motor, and it’s got to stop.

I don’t see that this foolishness has made it into the Miami Herald, so thanks to Keys newspapers  for bringing up Ros-Lehtinen’s willful neglect of the world we live in. She prefers the narrow interests of a few of her constituents to maintenance of the food chain we all inhabit. Check out the story linked above. She says it’s “unacceptable” for rules against over-fishing to drive commercial fishermen away from their boats. Well, that’s how she’s quoted, and it sounds like her.

Here’s a different analysis, from the Dec. 3 issue of the New York Review of Books, a review by John Terborgh, a Duke professor whose passion is preservation of the tropical world. Sorry to report that his trenchant article is available only to subscribers. He laments the failure of (no less than) modern democracy to protect natural resources.

“This is because both the regulators and the regulated are inextricably linked as each side pursues its self-interest. Fishers, many of whom are paying mortages on expensive boats and gear, fear a loss of income if limits are imposed. Staying afloat financially in the present takes priority over prospects of a more bountiful future. Thus, the industry reflexively resists any imposition of limits and makes sure the politicians understand this priority. In turn, the politicians fear losing their seats if their constituents rise up in wrath against them. The upshot is that the resource loses nearly every time.”

Did we all get that? “The upshot is that the resource loses nearly every time.”

The overall message of Terborg’s article is that the world is in overshoot in practically all areas. Too bad we don’t have wiser representatives in Washington than Ros-Lehtinen.

There are meetings soon of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to consider these rules on over-fishing. There still may be time for you to send in a public comment. Don't forget to send a note to Ros-Lehtinen.

No comments: