The RFA: Stumping Again for More Dead Fish for RFA

RE: Response to Lee R. Crockett's Summer Flounder Opinion Piece, October 31, 2007

Dear Editor:

In case you missed it, the Pew Environmental Group finally admitted what we have known all along:they just want to shut down fisheries.In What's good for bass is good for flounder, Lee R. Crockett, director of the Federal Fisheries Policy Reform Project for the Pew Environmental Group and former Executive Director of the Marine Fish Conservation Network, suggests that a 10-year fishing moratorium ought to be imposed on summer flounder.His logic?It worked for striped bass in 1985.I suppose I could ridicule the suggestion, but the fact is I am glad that Pew finally made the admission they have denied for so long.This time, Mr. Crockett doesn't even attempt to hide behind Pew-paid-for science, he goes straight for doomsday predictions that can only be stopped by stopping fishing.

Mr. Crockett did include one fact in his scare piece:The current summer flounder rebuilding plan has increased the stock size fourfold.So, rather than continue to seek a balance between fishing and conservation, Mr. Crockett says "what's good for bass is good for flounder" - in other words, shut down the fishery.Unlike striped bass, where the fishery was near collapse and no longer a vibrant economic component of many fishing communities, summer flounder have been steadily rebuilding.Mr. Crockett breathlessly calls for "aggressive action" to provide "long-term benefits that we can all enjoy, and are well worth the short-term sacrifices".It is an insult to the men and women who depend on the recreational fishing industry that their jobs would be written off as a worthwhile sacrifice.

Mr. Crockett has the benefit of working for a well-funded organization, so you can be sure that we will continue to hear reckless charges and gloomy predictions for years to come.But for those of us who work as boat builders, charterboat crews, marina employees, and all of the other small businesses that depend on the ocean for our livelihood, what's good for bass is bad for us.

Robert Healey

Chairman RFA/CEO Viking Yachts