Misguided management threatens sustainability of fishing communities and fisheries alike
If you care about the fisheries resource and the traditional fishing communities that rely on them, take the time to read through this article and listen to the audio educational link contained within it (http://communityfood.posterous.com/fish-grabs-the-corporate-concentration-of-our). Allotting fisheries quota's to individuals (IFQ's), has become a popular fisheries management tool. What may have been good in theory, has come back to haunt small, family owned and operated fishing businesses and fishing communities around the world.
Small fishing vessels are the backbone of sustainable fisheries and fishing communities. While profits are not large, all of their dollars stay in the local community supporting other local small businesses. Each time quota needs to be reduced, it is the small IFQ holders that take the biggest hit and are eventually driven out of business all together. The system concentrates IFQ's in the hands of large fishing operations and makes it difficult for small vessels to compete. In addition, the sons and daughters of fishing families find it almost impossible to acquire IFQ's and own their own small fishing business.
President Obama, your State and US legislators need to listen to families living and working in real fishing communities, not large NGO's that claim to represent the best interest of the fisheries and communities. Our legislators need to work directly with the fishing families these regulations impact in order to ensure fisheries resource, fishing family and community sustainability into the future.
Tracy Kuhns is founder and executive director of Louisiana Bayoukeeper in Barataria, Louisiana, founder of the Fishing Community Family Support Center, and president of the GO FISH coalition. A shrimper, mother of 5 and grandmother of 17, Tracy is dedicated to protecting and preserving the natural resources, traditional coastal fishing life and communities of coastal Louisiana. Follow Tracy on Bayoukeeper's Posterous Updates.