An op-ed in the Post & Courier by our president, Wayne Mershon, about the threat of job killing catch shares in the South Atlantic. A pilot program is in the works for next year despite overwhelming opposition from commercial and recreational fishermen.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing: something that seems to be good, but is actually not good at all.
I can’t think of a more appropriate saying to use than “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” to describe the reality of what the Seafood Harvesters of America want to do with our offshore fisheries.
The Post & Courier recently published an article and editorial that bought into the sheep’s clothing side. Year-round fishing and better fisheries data are touted. Who could be against that?
But there’s a wolf: privatization of our fisheries through a scheme called “catch shares,” where fishermen and corporations are actually given ownership of our fisheries with shares that can be bought or sold like stock on Wall Street.
That’s the real reason for the Seafood Harvesters of America’s existence. They’re working hard to ensure commercial fishermen own our fisheries, and in this case it’s our snapper and grouper, starting with a pilot program that could be considered by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries next year.
The term “catch shares” does not appear in the article or editorial, but the innocuous sounding synonym “individual quotas” does. The Seafood Harvesters have been well coached by their public relations team to not use “catch shares” because it will draw intense fire from most commercial and recreational fishermen.
Last year, when the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council sought input on its long-range management plan for the snapper-grouper fishery, 97 percent of the responding stakeholders said they opposed catch shares.
It’s no wonder.
Studies by the Lenfest Ocean Program, Food and Water Watch and others have shown that catch share programs provide no biological benefit or enhanced sustainability to