Thursday, August 5, 2010

open federal waters?

Emily as the Commercial Fisherwoman of New Hampshire's Opinion:
I fully support changing the federal law to allow fishing in federal waters. New Hampshire has banned the commercial fishing of Stripped Bass altogether, so I have no opportunity to fish. If the federal law changes, I would be able to fish again. Furthermore, if the federal law changed, perhaps, New Hampshire would be persuaded to change it's commercial fishing laws to accommodate for stripers caught in federal waters off New Hampshire. Frankly, there is no reason commercial fishing doesn't have a share of the quota. In New Hampshire we have only about 18.5 miles of ocean shoreline, and a quota of close to one million striped bass. But, because of our tiny amount of state waters, we never fill that quota. If federal waters were opened, we would have more space to fish for the same quota which would mean we could catch more fish! This increase in landed fish (assuming we are still fishing under the present quota) would create more revenue for New Hampshire.
Emily's Opinion:
Although I understand the position of commercial fishermen and others in favor of lifting the ban of fishing in federal waters, I am still skeptical. I am worried that opening more areas to fishing would have a negative effect of the species. Even if the quotas aren't changed, surely they will come closer to being filled. In places like New Hampshire where the quota never comes close to being filled, opening more waters will mean more fish will be caught. Now, I'm sure that scientists came up with these quotas taking into consideration that even if the quotas were filled that the bass could be sustainable, but I still think the quotas and other laws would have to be rearranged and rewritten to accommodate for each states access to federal waters and such. Call me a tree-huggin-hippy but I don't want to see bass go the way of the buffalo, and so for now, I think fishing in state waters is enough.

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