|A O U|
List 1 - Unquestionably
Did you know the National Marine Fisheries Service is getting PAID to eliminate all fisheries in the United States? It's true. There is a law called the Saltonstall Kennedy Act (SK) that imposes a tariff (probably called something else) on all seafood imported into the United States. The tariffs are mandated by law to be used to enhance and build up our domestic fisheries. Sounds good, don't it.
Okay, how do we do that? Well the most logical place is to put these funds to work is through the agency (NMFS) that was formed many years ago for just that purpose. How convenient. Lucky for us they were there.
Let's just examine that rationale for a second. It means that now the primary part of NMFS budget will be financed by import fees. (Note- NMFS budget went from an estimated $10 million in 1975 to maybe as much as a half billion in 1995 - No one really knows how much because NMFS refuses, even though mandated by law, to give an accounting to Congress.)
Great for the taxpayers, Great for NMFS- less budget competition in the halls of Congress. Great for the fisheries - money to build and enhance them. (Yeah right!)
What it REALLY means is that each pound of seafood NOT landed in the United States must be replaced by an imported pound of tariffed seafood. A tariff that goes directly into the coffers of NMFS . No one really knows how much it comes to but knowledgeable sources have estimated it to be above $250,000,000 to over $500,000,000.
Conversely, every pound landed domestically reduces NMFS funding by the corresponding tariff. Does anyone honestly believe that any government agency will voluntarily work to reduce its budget? NMFS goes to extraordinary lengths to create crises in the fisheries that guarantee reduced landings. There is no lie or rationale too far fetched for them to spew out in the protection (and enhancement) of the SK funding.
NMFS has become so dependent on the SK funding that it has infected the agency like the ugliest of prejudices ( "drugs" may be a better word) . It underlies their every action at even the most basic levels. Like a prejudice, it colors their thinking without them even knowing it (except at probably the highest levels). They will emphatically deny this, but it is nonetheless true. Just like drug/behavior addicts. To this end an extraordinarily elaborate propaganda campaign is constantly waged. Even Herr Goerbbals would be envious. It's even worse when they believe their own (cowpies). (More on this elsewhere)
A significant portion of the SK funding is funneled into the Universities (and consequently corrupting them) under a grant system. Ostensibly SK funds are dedicated to Commercial Fisheries development. In fact less than 2% ever go to anything with even the remotest connection to Commercial Fishing.
Additionally when grants are offered, they are extended with "parameters" (I used to call it the "Party Line" which offended government types - one of my life's little regrets). Outside parameters, no grant. It is obvious to anyone looking at the grants awarded the parameters consist of "Pretty much anything you want except anything that will show a fishery not in dire need of protection and landing reduction for its own survival."
The fact is there is tremendous pressure on University people to attract grant and scholarship money. One little known reason for that is that anywhere from 30 to 80% of the grant goes to the college for administration costs right off the top. Think about that, a $100,000 grant to study the eye of a sand flea (right at the top of life's great mysteries) might only leave $20,000 for the study. And $80,000 for six & seven figure salaries and perqs for those wonderful bastions of "academic freedom." Pretty soon some Congressman will blow it out on McNeil/Lehrer about $100,000 being spent for silly cowpies but now you know where the money really went (and why silly cowpies get granted.).
It used to be said of college professors "Publish or Perish". Well today it's "Get Grants or Get Out!" As a consequence, there is no lie or behavior too bizarre for the grant seekers. (They are the most important and willing part of NMFS's propaganda machine). Implicit in every grant proposal is that it must be made clear that Commercial Fishermen are nothing more than a bunch of greedy uneducated cretins who have only brought this upon themselves (that, of course, assumes the grant is among the questionable 2% even remotely related to Commercial Fisheries) . Every grant must have as a theme (even if only an undercurrent) the need for further regulation and reduced landings if there is to be any hope at all for species survival. If any should ever even breathe, must less speak of, of a healthy fishery, his grant proposals would become "out of parameters". No grants makes for an unhappy administration and creates a situation known as "Job Jeopardy" for university grant seekers.
I must tell you it was honestly one of the truly great disillusionments in my life to find the Ivory Tower for sale and populated by the basest hypocritical prostitutes (I really hate to use that word as it demeans a life style with much higher moral values, but it does best describe university professors in fishery management. Should you want to expand that to other academic fields, I would have no problem).
A retired professor (emeritus?) from Rutgers University. A particularly egregious example from the above list. He would weasel his sleazy way into the confidence of various fishermen (particularly surf-clammers, including myself) and then proceed to tell any lie he thought would advance the interests of NMFS regardless of whom it would hurt. When confronted with clear evidence of his flawed reasoning, he would either just ignore it or invent even more convoluted reasoning.
His reward? A bunch of new buildings in Rutgers named after him, almost certainly built with NMFS grants. A surf clam fleet reduced from 180+ to less than 50.
Oh yeah, one other thing that really gives a clue to his character. While finishing up the Paper Printed in the National Fisherman (see A O U 's Main Page), I had a massive stroke (another whole story in itself). Anyway I had been in a "could go either way" (literally Life or Death) situation for two or three days. I was laying in the hospital bed a couple days after that, fully 50% of my body paralyzed, and the phone rings. It was the good doctor, and he just couldn't resist giving me a "Ya da dahde da da". Words to the effect of "Don't you wish now that you had been more reasonable and less emotional when dealing with the authorities." The (insert the most foul and nasty name in your vocabulary)!!! Some (insert angry adjective) nerve, huh?
I don't know how it is anywhere else in the country but around here they are a huge waste of money and worse. They run around gathering information that can be pandered to those Great Grant Givers in NMFS. I'm tempted to call them Quislings but in reality should be considered spies and fifth columnists. We have one around here who is said to make over $60,000 a year in base salary, has no boss, no oversight, sets his own schedule, expense account, hours, vacations, travels at government expense to various meetings in such meccas of Commercial Fishing as Las Vegas and Paris, France. Plenty boats there to study.
Ordinarily such parasitical behavior would only be irritating ("Yeah what else is new, you wanna see what they get away with in (fill in the blank)"), you know like a gnat or something. But in Sea Grant's case, they not only bleed the system, they want to affect it as well. They attend political meetings shooting their mouths off about what's needed here (invariably more funding and study; and spouting NMFS propaganda) and what fishermen want there ("You know they really are too ignorant to know what they want on their own. That's why I'm here to speak for them.")
Further if someone has developed/invented a little trick in his business to gain an edge on the competition, the Sea Granter can't wait to be trumpeting it far and wide, write a paper to present the upcoming Annual Fisheries Conference ("Publish or Perish") being held in Aspen (only coincidentally being held at the height of ski season). So much for your proprietary edge.
They all have "education" (usually from a college at least 1,000 miles from salt water) and no common sense or real experience. In my opinion, ain't one I met yet was worth powder enough to blow him over the rail.
I have a lot more to say about the pompous pontificating (insert fecal organ here) (probably ought not to call them that as (fecal organs) perform a vital function, are a source pleasure to a few amongst us, and a true relief to all of us every once in a while). described in the list above. They have all but destroyed a fine healthy industry, done serious damage to our country but what's far worse ... their types are not confined to just the fishing industry .... but they are the ones I know about. I see the Commercial Fishing Industry as a microcosm of our country and merely an ugly precursor of what's to come. It's precisely because of the actions of (fecal organs) like these our country will one day explode/implode/disintegrate.
Members of the above categories are lower than dog feces (one of the few naturally occurring things in the world that has absolutely no redeeming social value) and the country would be far better off without them.