A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Fishy APP Editorial

The Asbury Park Press ran an editorial today that reads more like a balanced news story than any sort of expressed opinion. Or even worse. The topic was NOAA Chairman Jane Lubchenco's appointment of three environmentalists to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Fishery Management Council. While APP dared to predict that these new members "may well bring a better balance to a group long influenced by the industry" and one might anticipate "a sea change in fishing regulations" in a few years, the editors were less than enthusiastic about taking sides.

Their seeming lack of resolve may actually mask ambivalence or support for the fishing industry. After all the perhapses and may very wells, the editors have buried in the counterpoint prominent hints of their unease with the candidates. Their equivocation ultimately steals their opening's meager thunder and leaves the reader wondering what the paper wishes to say. "[S]ome in the fishing industry have a sinking feeling the council will be overly influenced by those who know relatively little about fishing and may be inclined to make rules that will unfairly restrict the work and play of anglers." The editors went on to question why Lubchenco was not treating New England similarly, instead renewing four fishing industry members to the 25 member board.

Maybe the editors think they've been bold to take whatever slight stance they have taken, but to me this is no editorial and maybe not even an advocacy of the "sea change" it describes. They could just as easily written: Change will be slow and might not even pan out in the end because these environmentalists are only getting a small stake on a large board. Hopefully, these people, who don't know the fishing industry very well, won't screw things up too much while they are there. And what's with New England not having to accept these outsiders?

FishnLand makes a firmer statement, saying it believes that the appointments might help reverse commercial overfishing of the Mid-Atlantic fishery.


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