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Catch shares, the BU professor and the gray haired old fat guy with money to spend on a Globe op-ed ad

A few months ago, the Globe ran an ad on its op-ed piece that had something to do with the way the feds are regulating fishermen out of Gloucester. BU prof John Carroll was curious who Gwilym McGrew, who signed the ad was, so he plugged his name into Google, natch, and what he found didn't seem to satisfy him.

Even on the Tubes, word travels slowly sometimes, but the mysterious Mr. McGrew eventually popped up and told Carroll to brush up on his search skills.

Geez man, my life is out there for all to see. Do some work if you want to know about me. Trust me, you will just find a gray haired old fat guy though.

I love how you make my efforts seem conspiratorial. Very funny. No, I was not on the grassy knoll either.

Also, he said he could teach BU students a thing or two about catch shares, which are at the center of whatever the whole issue is about.

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It's about making sure fishermen don't fish the sea to extinction just because they need to pull in more and more, year after year, just to break even. Fish are a much less stable resource than other commodities and can't be continually taken in greater amounts.

Catch shares have worked in those evil, socialist ends of the world and allowed fish populations to rebound, while at the same time allowing fishermen to continue to make a respectable living, at the craft they claim to love so dear.


The ocean is in big trouble, and like the huge plums still in the gulf, it's ignored by the public and media because it can't be readily seen on a camera and makes bad news.

Once the last round of fish/lobster/ect is too young to mature and reproduce, that's it.

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Catch shares have failed in many respects. You said: "Catch shares have worked in those evil, socialist ends of the world and allowed fish populations to rebound." Uh, sorry, catch shares have failed in some of those "socialist." Some coutries are or have backed out of the system.

The overfishing off your coast is naturally repairing though its cause is complex.

My main concern with Catch Shares is deals with the actual ownership of the right to fish. If you ask more people "who owns the fishing rights off our coasts," you will generally hear a response similar to, "well THE PEOPLE do, our citizens own that right collectively." That used to be the case but no more. NOAA's Catch Share system gave away those rights owned by you, me, and those in fly over country to fisherman based on supposed historic fishing patterns. However, the vast majority of those fisherman got either such a small share of the rights they cannot make a living from this or even if they had enough rights most of the fishing boats are too small to make cost effective the regulatory burden that is also put in place on them. So, the effect is 3 fold 1) small fisherman go out of business, need to sell their boat into a market flooded by others selling as well 2) the cost of fish for consumers goes up 3) many small boat owners sell their shares, their rights, and soon those rights will be consolidated by investment folks that will control the fishing rights.

There are many ways to control overfishing. Catch shares is the worst solution.

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Here here, Gwilym.

Catch shares are one issue where true progressives and fishermen, who typically hail from red states, can really unite behind. It's the mushy, bamboozled middle that can't figure out the obvious.

Catch shares DO privatize what has always been known as a public resource - and DO lead to massive consolidation at the expense of the fishing public. Imagine being a responsible fisherman your whole life, and then seeing your "quota" go to a private multinational corporation, which sends its behemoth factory ships up and down the coast right in front of your eyes. It rewards the ones who fish most irresponsibly.

Stopping overfishing is about better limits on all the fish, not picking who can fish and who cannot based on arbitrary criteria.

It's corporate welfare, plain and simple - who pays for it? The people of course.

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Gwilym complains that the oceans were previously a shared resource that have now been privatized into individual property rights. That's true. It's the whole point of the system. Shared resources are not used responsibly. When you have ownership of something, you care for it much better.


It certainly does suck for individual fishermen. I'm not gonna disagree with that. But it's the collective actions of fishermen that caused the problem in the first place, even if you personally didn't do anything wrong.

Gwilym is also correct to note that this will cause fish prices to go up. As it should! Fish are a scarce resource, and a higher price brings us closer into line with the reality that we catch too many.

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protect the natural resource that is delicious fish? It one thing to identify issues with a solution, it's another to advocate for the alternative. Advocate for the best alternative if you please.

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The problem with blogs - they allow you to humiliate yourself in public far too easily. John Carroll falls naturally into that trap. He turns his failure at basic reporting into a 'mystery.' Then he has the nerve to say 'bio please?' as if the guy was doing something wrong by putting down his own money to get access to 'the press.' Evidently, in John Carroll's world, only special people like himself should be able to speak directly to the public.

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