You cannot appease them all

22 11 2012

This week we have been discussing the planning of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Much of the time has been devoted to incorporation of stakeholders and consensus building. In the United States that is still lacking among all groups involved!

A common sight in the Florida Keys during the creation of the National Marine Sanctuary.

The number of square miles of protected areas in the Pacific may be greater than the Atlantic, but the US East Coast is also well protected by MPAs. Under various auspices, such as national monument, national seashore, national wildlife refuge, they protect much of the Atlantic seaboard. Even tiny Rhode Island is home to four: Block Island, Ninigret, John H. Chafee, and Sachuest.

I used to firmly believe the government was working for the people but now I have my doubts. The community involvement is lacking and there is disrespect among all parties. The reality is there simply are too many fishing boats out of these harbours and too much effort. However, it is reasonable that a man wants to make a decent living and he should have the right to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. It would be great if regulators, fishermen, and scientists could work together – instead of duplicating efforts and wasting time. Everyone believes there are differences in world view and ideology, but most people want the same thing – sustainable and productive fisheries. There is a considerable amount of local knowledge that can be harnessed to better set stock quotas and implement tradable catch shares. The solution is not simple, but there must be one.

You won’t go to a single New England dock without seeing this bumper sticker.

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