Thursday, April 19, 2012

Conflict expands over rockfish catch shares

As expected, more fishing vessel owners are asking for a say in the big rockfish lawsuit Kodiak processors have brought against federal fishery regulators.

United Catcher Boats, a Seattle-based trawl association, today filed this motion to intervene in the case.

This declaration from UCB executive director Brent Paine also was filed with the court.


Staufen said...

The case has been a tragic joke since its filing - due to the very idea that processors (buyers) have rights to the profits of fishermen (sellers) and can violate Antitrust laws - like Clayton Act on restraint of trade, through fleet boycotts etc. - and that the government is to be their hammer for resource exploitation. Furthermore, consider the foreign owned and controlled nature of the majority of processors involved in this crying routine.

Interestingly, it was Groundswell that gave public comment at the NPFMC a few years ago re-introducing that NOAA GC had nearly a 30 year history of legal rulings that applied to such Ratz program issues, centering on the definition of "fishery" and "fishing". As uncomfortable as it was for many who were ignoring the legal history, now we see that arising as the crux of this case.

Where was UCB and the other vessel groups then - cowering in the corner against their processor or plotting to finally break free of some chains? It doesn't matter much now, because the "link" was cut, and a group of transnational resource thuggery capitalists can't stand for it, so UCB has finally found a little courage today. Only, here's the thing: when we brought out the legal trail years ago, as NOAA GC sat quietly ignoring what they best knew as they allowed the RPP to continue, it was to protect market powers, especially for fleets, and the rights of other processors to enter and compete against the Big 5 (4 still in the case). More importantly, it was to protect the seller (fishermen) rights in order to protect the captains and crew - not merely "vessel owners" i.e. real fishermen.

Hmmm, federal judge, federal lay share laws, hmmm, just maybe a remedy might also offer protections for crew compensation and their historical participation rights, too. Should crew have to file an amicus too, to protect themselves from all sides - or does a century+ old body of law considering seamen as the favorites of the Admiralty cover it already?

Groundswell Fisheries Movement

Anonymous said...

The NPFMC has forgotten to include the crews when it comes to making allocations which will be in direct violation to National Standard 4
Sec. 600.325 Allocations:

(1) Definition. An “allocation” or assignment” of fishing privileges is a direct and deliberate distribution of the opportunity to participate in a fishery among identifiable, discrete user groups, or individuals. Any management measure (or lack of measurement) has incidental allocative effects, but only those measures that result in direct distributions of fishing privileges will be judged against the allocation requirements of Standard 4.

Excerpt from NS 4: Conservation and management measures shall not discriminate between residents of different States. If it becomes necessary to allocate or assign fishing privileges among various United States fishermen, such allocation shall be (A) fair and equitable to all such fishermen; …and (C) carried out in such manner that no particular individual, corporation, or other entity acquires an excessive share of such privileges.

So the processors throwing down a lawsuit because they want Processor Quotas sit way behind the crew getting their fair and equitable quota share allocation rights.

Next the Groundfish crewmen of the GOA will have to file suit if thee are not awarded their rights!