Update on crab king case

Update on the nicknamed “crab king” case:

Oral argument is scheduled Monday June 10, 2019 at 2:00 PM before Honorable Judge Joseph M. Chiarello, JSC in Court Room 235, Cumberland County Court House, Broad and Fayette Streets, Bridgeton NJ for State vs. Tony Novak, Appeal #2-19. The state will be represented by Danielle Pennino, Esq. of the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office. The hearing is open to the public.

Because of the case’s potential impact on the future of social media marketing of the Philadelphia region’s “farm-to-table” and “dock-to-table” grower cooperatives, I have invited inquiries for an amicus brief (friend of the court) from other similarly situated groups. So far, no response. Preparing a brief is often an expensive undertaking and I suspect that not many grower and harvester cooperatives are aware of the potential legal threat.

The core issue is whether the state has the ability to hold off-site, online marketers who are not growers, harvesters, buyers or sellers responsible for keeping physical catch records of content they sell that might be related to New jersey fisheries. The language of the statute was written long before the age of social media when the word “marketing” and “selling” had the same implication and were typically under common management control. That is no longer true today. Now in the age of networked online “sharing” of other users content these two words have entirely different meanings.  Sharing online content is not selling under most legal authorities. The goal of this legal action is to establish this as the legal standard under New Jersey fisheries management law.

The brief on behalf of Baysave’s controller Tony Novak is filed and the state has until May 28 to respond. The brief, the state’s response and the rebuttal documents will be available to the public.

Phone call with two PhDs

In the realm of ‘firsts’, this was one that I could not have predicted. A surprise phone call came in Friday from our government relations liaison, a PhD with a background in economic development in the office of another PhD Director of Coastal Resiliency at Rowan University.

Government relations and coastal resilience: what a team! That’s exactly the combination we need around here.

It’s not appropriate for me to get into a “he said…” situation in a public blog post like this. But is is useful to say that I am learning about new areas of public policy that were previously invisible to me. The entire topic of what government needs to do in terms of long term planning largely escapes public view. I was introduced to the topics of what is a “win” in the eyes of government, its impact on future elections and even the survival of our economy and society. Simple topics like planning for enough food to feed ourselves is really a big deal. Yet it isn’t something that makes the newspapers every day.

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At the end of this call I felt more confident of the role that Money Island will play in the future as the region’s seafood landing port. Many shore towns will need to dissolve: “strategic retreat” is the popular phrase in public policy discussions. Yet some seaports will need to remain open for our survival. We will see a deeper channel for even larger oyster boats. Heavy duty commercial docks for the expanding aquaculture industry are already in the works. Loading dock, refrigerators and freezers need to be upgraded. The seawall project will be continued. We are one of the chosen few ports that will be supported; even at the massive costs required to adapt to climate change and rising tides.

In the end, our tiny rural seafood landing port will see more than a tenfold increase in its economic contribution to the region. Of course, in a long term saga like this most of the story is yet to unfold.

The End of the Line: How overfishing is changing the world and what we eat

The following is a republished book report of “The End of the Line: How overfishing is changing the world and what we eat”.

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This small crab skiff used in the Chesapeake Bay likely meets more of our societal goals than the larger boats that dominate the east coast crabbing industry today.

Author:

Charles Clover

Publisher:

University of California Press

Date of Publication:

2006

Date initial reading/review:

October and November of 2010

Location of physical book:

Baysave lending library book shelf

Review / margin notes:

The Problem:

75% of the world’s fisheries are fully exploited, over-exploited or depleted.

Demand continues to grow sharply.

Commercial fisheries use modern “fish-killing machines” (p 42); technology creep increases catches over time actual catch is 8 times the declared amount (p 48)

recreational fishing is 30-50% of total catch (p 274)

dredging damage: hard substrate bottom produced greater variety of species (p 55)

over-fishing is 1000 times more dangerous than drilling – Han Lindeboom

Orange roughy naturally outlives humans but few live to sexual maturity now (p 93)

“The trouble is there is not enough fish for everyone. It does not matter what system you have.” Gislason (p 247)

By-catch and Waste by-catch is 1/3 of total worldwide per UN Food & Agriculture Org. Only 10% of total fish killed is consumed as protein by humans

breakdown of menhaden use: 34% for feeding fish, 29% of hogs, 27% for poultry, <10% human and other uses tuna by-catch (p 211)

Fisheries Management comments on fisheries management (p 100) – fisheries are managed to preserve jobs – current overall worldwide management system is a direct cause of over-fishing irony of government’s fish monitor boat (p 99)

– US has several management successes: pollock in Alaska, shrimp in Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic scallops, herring, black bass, striped bass.

– European Union Common Fisheries Policy is the worst management program

– examples of “garbage in / garbage out”; Canadian cod management in the 1980s “A scientist’s first duty is to the truth. His secondary duty is to the public interest and his third duty is to the minister.” – Professor John Shepherd of Southamptom University in England. scientists who manage fisheries get offended (p 216)

“Everywhere in the world the fisheries manager is there just to perform the traditional role of keeping the fishing industry happy”. (p 219)

quota management (p 235)

Conservation amount of ocean for conservation (p 262)

No take zones work (p 269)

4 year ban on herring was successful (p 64)

Aquaculture fish farming is the fastest growing industry (p 291)

– commercial growing will save blue fin tuna (p 303)

– short comparison to land-based agriculture learning curve (p 326)

Failure of Subsidies (p 136)

“The only equilibrium in a subsidized system is zero fish. The system is set up to fail necessarily. Randy Myers, Newfoundland (p 133)

“So what lies at the root of a democratic politician’s impulse to dish out subsidies? First is a disgraceful need to buy votes with other people’s money, often dressed up as the redistribution of wealth. Second is the misguided belief that subsidizing fishing is somehow investing in the industry. In fact, in a hunter-gatherer economy, you invest only by leaving the resource alone. The way to defeat subsidies in well-governed countries is to create transparency, a free press, and proper scrutiny by public auditors’. (p 140)

– subsidies create a mathematic model that must fail.

ownership of the sea issue (p 151)

“tragedy of the commons’ concept published in Science (p 154)

Consumer Issues labeling (p 200, 281)

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) eat / don’t eat list (p 285)

Certification of fisheries works – eventually 6% of world’s fisheries will be certified sustainable

– eat more blue whiting; low in PCBs and dioxins or antibiotics

Conclusion “the time has come to change the laws of the sea so that they are more like the law of the land.”

“You have to be willing to write off one of the three dimensions – ecological, economic, or social – to solve the problem of sustainable fisheries management” – the conclusion of UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) at Rome conference

“The idea of leaving part of the sea alone is very simple. It cuts across the ideas of traditional scientific fisheries management with its impressive-sounding professionals telling us how much they know”. (p 269)

Amount of ocean needed for conservation: 10% to 50% depending on goal (breakdown on p 262) – consumer environmentalists are effective (p 324)

“sustainability is part of the overall quality standard the top eateries should be hitting”. (p 191)

Environmental education is effective “It strikes me that one ways of feeling less concerned about one of your fellow creatures is to not give it a name”.

– open access to data will help (p 327)

Some fish are more equal than others.

Other notes:

Wikipedia entry

Suggested Follow-up: Subscribe to Nature Magazine, Science Magazine

Small local fisheries and aquaculture play an important role in economy and food security

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO.org) lists among its priorities “Recognizing small-scale fisheries as a fundamental contributor to poverty alleviation and food security“. While this concept is widely recognized in economic planning of third world countries, it is just as important in disadvantaged US seafood landing port communities.

Baysave is working to promote healthy, sustainable local aquaculture and fisheries industries in the rural and disadvantaged bayshore region of New Jersey on the Delaware Bay. The key to success in revitalization of this industry is the availability of high impact investment funds from angel investors with a vision to convert today’s low priced fishery and aquaculture assets into more productive facilities using technology that is already successfully employed in other places.

Success in this area isn’t ‘rocket science’. We know that the Delaware Bay crab and oyster industries are poised for sustainable long term expansion. This conclusion is based on observation of tenfold go twentyfold overall production increases in nearby Chesapeake Bay and Barnegat Bay. We simply need to align government permitting so that we can attract investment capital for infrastructure and business development. Unfortunately, New Jersey has a history of ineffective governance in this area and a political structure that resists change.

Small local fisheries and aquaculture remains dependent on two factors:

1) Ability to obtain state government permitting

2) Ability to attract investment funds

We remain committed to addressing these needs for the local bayshore community.

Sustainable fishing: bigger isn’t better

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This cartoon by Darrin Bell of The New Yorker illustrates the obsession we have with the false belief that  “bigger is better”. Our State of New Jersey and the Marine Fisheries Council have fallen into the trap that encourages recreational fishermen to harvest the largest breeding stock fish while throwing smaller ones back, often to die.

Our fisheries scientists know that this practice is unsustainable. Yet we as a society refuse to change it. Yet we are not alone. History provides plenty of example where denial of the facts led to extinction of species, even of humans. One thing we do know about extinction is that it happens more rapidly than anyone would have guessed. We are living dangerously when we focus on “bigger is better”.

Sustainable fishing depends on managing the harvest of smaller and more abundant juvenile fish. Large trophy fish should be protected, or at least should not be the target. There is no shame in that, and in fact should be promoted as a positive approach. I’ve been told directly by industry and government leaders that this practice won’t change in my lifetime no matter how loudly the scientific and environmental communities object.

We live in an age where ignoring and/or denying facts is popular. All I can do is to be a voice for the truth. I am individually committed to encouraging sustainable fisheries and my small business will do what it can to change the current culture of “bigger is better”.