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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Teaching Men to Fish

It is important for any government not only to create jobs but also to ensure that those with jobs know how to sustain their livelihood unless all of us can depend on the authorities for cosy contracts like the few chosen ones.

This story about fishermen not wanting to follow regulations that were passed in 1985 shows how both parties were not smart to work out a proper schedule of how to meet those regulations with proper education, improved methods and a defined schedule.

Now we have a difficult schedule of enforcing the rules and making people change with drastic enforcement.

It shows how inept people in the government and the fishing industry have not been able to produce viable plans to achieve goals.

• Considering this law to change the mesh size from 20mm to 38.8mm is really quite drastic and the law should have included the following features:

• Studies to show how incomes are affected and how to create other sources of income.

• Increasing the mesh size by 5mm every two years or other reasonable time such as the life-span of the net whichever is earlier. Old nets can be used for fresh water ponds? If a properly agreed timetable had been set, the rules should have been achieved after 8 years.

• Educating the fishermen that leaving the shrimp to develop will actually increase income over the longer term and also over-fishing will destroy their future.

I watched a program on Discovery Channel about the fishing season for king crabs off Alaska. The boats are only licensed to catch crabs only for a few days and they strictly enforce the minimum size ruling. That program would be a good documentary for the local fishermen to watch.

photo: Thanks to The Star

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