Thursday, April 15, 2021

Watch your mouth

At its April meeting, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council has been considering, among other things, halibut and salmon bycatch in the trawl fisheries.

The council also has been grappling with another issue — unruly public comments posted to its website.

Aside from reflecting unfamiliarity with the council process, some comments have included profanity or threats, the council reports.

Here's one example Deckboss was able to snag off the council's website before it was scrubbed.

The council is now looking at reforms to its public comment policy. Ideas include delaying or screening comments before posting. Read more about it here.


Anonymous said...

Profanity is nonissue, it's the fishing industry get over it.

The real issue is people responding to comments made by others. Some of the trawler comments were slammed pretty hard. I saw one comment where someone pointed out that one lady was ghost writing letters for Ocean Peace crew.

It's a $300 Million dollar fishery that supports a lot of local business and people, but the vast majority of the public would like to see shut down for sustainability reasons. NPFMC is in a tough spot, and public comments make it even more difficult.

Anonymous said...

Hard to take take these people serious. What's more offensive profanity or millions of pounds of bycatch?

Anonymous said...

And I thought the Courts majority opinion in Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski last month clarified that speech decisions are made by the speaker, not that agency. Sombody's going to take this council fishing, and teach them how to trawl in our United States Supreme Court. "Uzuegbunam experienced a complete violation of his constitutional rights when respondents enforced the speech policies against him."

Anonymous said...

Its not just the profanity. That comment has no relevant content and is a waste of time. Poeple often mistake comments as some kind of vote. It isn't. They want actual helpful critical comments on the planned action, both positive and negative.

Anonymous said...

8:19 The profane commenter bases their opinion on there experience as an Alaskan and references the sport and subsistence fishery. The commenter also artfully balances there perspective on filet o fish sandwiches against bycatch. Not seeing how their is "no relevant content".

Anonymous said...

Here is the executive committee report on the Written Comment Policy:

It includes: "Allow staff to sort the comments into the appropriate agenda item, to the extent practicable. Comments on fishery related items not specifically on the agenda would be put into staff tasking."

This is an erosion of public process, and is ripe for abuse. The action makes the least accessible public process even less accessible and is intended to quiet the masses. I'm not advocating for disrespectful or tangential comments, but the reality is that Joe Fisherman's sentiment on bycatch (or whatever issue) is valuable and the Council should be looking for ways to engage more people in the process rather than figure out how to make it harder for them to participate. The reality is that it made them uncomfortable and shined a light on how captive the current process is to the trawl industry. I trust that council members can adequately filter profanity on their own and will disregard opinions they don't agree with anyway.