Fight the Big Box Fish Companies; Save Family Fishermen and the Fish
My name is Ron Borjeson. I'm a second generation fisherman and I've fished for 42 years. Over the past 15 years, together with my fellow fishermen, we have taken conservation measures to bring back the fish. Now, new policies are allowing the biggest boats to take it all away and, in the process, the stocks are decimated.
A policy called Catch Shares is squeezing out family fishermen like myself who have spent years taking conservation measures to restore overfished species, ensure a more healthy ocean, and provide access to a healthy source of food from the ocean.
Fisheries managers have made it clear that consolidation through Catch Shares is a priority. As they stand, Catch Shares concentrate the rights and access to fish into the hands of a few larger-scale businesses whose bottom line is primarily money. In just two years, Catch Shares have led to just three corporations controlling nearly 40% of the catch quota for one fish species here in New England and yet there is no limit or quota cap. This is not the way to conservation.
If we truly care about our oceans and our fisheries, then saving our family fishermen really matters. Family fishermen bring more value to the ocean, local economies, and access to locally harvested food.
We know from the experience with our US family farmers that consolidation resulted in large-scale factory farming corporations driving out family farmers and degrading the land based environment, biodiversity, and security of the food system everywhere. We must not repeat these same mistakes on our ocean.
We need to level the playing field for family fishermen and the fish.
Please support family fishermen and help save the fish by adding your name to this petition. Fish are still a public resource and should stay that way. They don’t and shouldn’t be anyone’s private property, except maybe when you buy some for your dinner. Fishery managers must understand they cannot give the rights and access to the resource away to the highest bidder. Catch Shares are about giving away the rights to fish. Our fight is about access rights, food access, jobs, and conservation. Thanks for your support.
I just signed the following petition addressed to Terry Stockwell, chair of the New England Fishery Management Council.
Dear Mr. Stockwell,
It’s time to stop crisis management and start fixing the core problems. Consolidation of the fishing industry and lack of protections threaten the fish and the family fishermen and leads to one crisis after another that distracts the Council from dealing with the real problems facing our ocean. In just two years of the new Catch Share policy, we have seen what it can do to the fish stocks that fishermen worked so hard to rebuild.
The Council can’t hide behind short term emergencies that are rooted in problems associated with consolidation and the disappearance of family fishermen. This is a major problem because family fishermen support local economies, a healthy ocean, and access to locally harvested food.
I urge you to adopt policies that protects fleet diversity, levels the playing field for family fishermen, and ensures that the rights and access to fish are NOT concentrated into the hands of a few players.
Consolidation is not conservation.
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