No Need for Another Fish Bureaucracy - NCFA alleges Pew Oceans Commission engaged in fear mongering

North Carolina Fisheries Association, Inc.

June 4, 2003

A North Carolina commercial fishing group has joined the chorus of many other such groups across the United States criticizing the Pew Oceans Commission for their recently released report on the state of the United States' ocean
resources and management. The North Carolina Fisheries Association (NCFA) is one of many members of The Seafood Coalition. Collectively the groups represents thousands of families involved in the harvesting and processing of seafood, and are actively engaged in state, national, and international fisheries management.

The Pew Charitable Trusts, which is bankrolling its own commission as well as many ongoing anti-fishing initiatives, is spending heavily on a media campaign declaring the oceans in crisis.

"It's certainly disappointing that this group has spent a great amount of money to come up with such a negative report," said Jerry Schill, NCFA President. "However, when you look at the history of the group and its public relations
arm, it shouldn't surprise anyone." Schill was referring to the PR firm of Fenton Communications, well known for the Alar apple scare of 1989 that ruined many apple growers; although it was found that apple consumers panicked needlessly.

"The Pew folks think we should throw out the current 8 regional fishery management councils at the federal level, and start an all new federal bureaucracy in Washington. While NCFA will never be accused of having a love affair with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), neither are we willing to substitute the current system with a huge faceless beltline bureaucracy void of any stakeholder or public input."

When looking at the stock status in our region, it contradicts the findings of the Pew folks as follows:

In the Mid-Atlantic region, striped bass, summer flounder, Atlantic monkfish and sea scallops (fisheries also shared with New England) and other species that are extremely important to recreational and commercial fishermen and coastal communities are at or approaching record levels of abundance and the remaining stocks are being rebuilt on schedule. In addition, there is a significant and increasing emphasis on cooperative research and management in this region and recent monkfish research is a textbook example of what can be accomplished through this process.

In the South Atlantic, king and Spanish mackerel have been successfully rebuilt, gag grouper is nearly completely rebuilt, and bycatch is being significantly reduced in the snapper-grouper complex and shrimp fisheries through gear modifications, such as turtle excluder and bycatch reduction devices.

When looking at our state's fish stocks, many other species can be included in the healthy list such as gray trout (weakfish), striped bass, croaker, and others.

The domestic fishermen believe that, with few exceptions, U.S. fisheries are in better shape now than in many years. "Pew is like many environmental groups that engage in fear mongering to achieve their goals," added Schill. "The facts are that fishermen face many obstacles, but the status of the fish stocks pales with the biggest problems facing fishing families, such as terrible prices due to imports and the tremendous amount of regulations. Groups like Pew favor bigger government, and will find any way to rationalize that goal."


The North Carolina Fisheries Association, Inc. is a nonprofit trade
association, established in 1952 for the purpose of representing the interests of its
member commercial fishermen, seafood dealers, and processors.

The full 26-page complaint document is available by contacting NCFA at

A copy of the press release by The Seafood Coalition is available by calling

North Carolina Fisheries Association, Inc.

P.O. Box 12303

New Bern, NC 28561

Contact Jerry Schill: 252-633-2288

Fax: 252-633-9616


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref.]

Back to Current Edition Citizen Review Archive LINKS Search This Site