Opinion

Miles Grant: Democrats’ “Us Too” Fishing Failure

Gulf of Maine cod has been overfished for decades. Image via NOAA.

Following up on Charlie Baker’s “fish tale,” a new blog post from “Green Miles” Miles Grant focuses on New England fisheries and the poor political decisions that democrats have made in addressing the current issues. He says,

“…in Massachusetts, it’s a bipartisan cause to embrace classic Bush/Cheney scientific analysis: Any study that shows fewer fish is junk science; any study that shows more fish is sound science. Some folks may say fishing communities will only support politicians who oppose catch limits, but that’s self-fulfilling logic: When do they ever hear anything else?

There are three main problems with this strategy: The fish really are gone, overfishing really is to blame, and it ignores the inequality at the root of the problem.

The myth that fish are simply poorly counted persists because it’s easier for the fishing industry to blame others than to look in the mirror.”

According to Grant, Democrats have missed an opportunity to unite with fishermen and their communities because their policies too closely relate to those of Republicans.  He calls on progressives to “stand up for science by supporting fish habitat protections and catch limits that allow as much take as possible while also preserving fish stocks for future generations. “ And then offers some political analysis/advice for the state’s Democrats:

“From pro-business centrists like Coakley to pro-worker progressives like Elizabeth Warren, Democrats have gone along with the “fishermen getting squeezed by big gubmint” story. Both Democrats and Republicans blast federal regulators and attack catch limits, perpetuating the myth that the fish are out there but those JACKBOOTED GOVERNMENT THUGS would let us catch them. If you believe government is the fishing community’s biggest problem, are you really going to vote for the Democrat?”

He then argues that Democrats would be better off focusing on the income inequality in the fishing industry and proposing progressive remedies.

“The real story of fishing community struggles in Massachusetts today is one of inequality. Reduced catches mean fewer deck hand jobs, but they also mean higher prices and exorbitant profits for boat owners. Just last week, New Bedford was named the top US fishing port in revenue for the 14th year in a row thanks to tightly-managed scallops selling for $20+ per pound. The money pours in, but it doesn’t trickle down.”

 You can read Miles Grant’s post originally featured on Blue Mass Group here.


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