While this incident occurs thousands of miles away (and a couple of years ago), it underscores the real threat to our fisheries which is wanton and willful intent by fellow humans to do as they darn well please. All of the great science, dedicated research, honest exchanges of both numbers and by-catch as well as the tremendous participation by better than 99% of folks out here in sharing this resource isn't worth a flip when hundreds of thousands of tons are illegally and wastefully harvested daily. I believe publicizing these arrests needs to be made a priority so that the public at large will become involved. Funny how all of these so-called PSAs we fund never address the fact that IF we kill our Seas, we kill ourselves. Strange isn't it or is it just me?
From reading here for many months now, Alaskans have a far better situation in that you are by yourselves up there and without the noise of millions as we have down in the L48. You are, by and large, an activist population in the true spirit of our Founders. The degree of participation in the management process is far, far superior to that in our locale that it isn't even comparable. In my State for instance, the discourse has devolved into a battle for authority marked by conflicts of interest, corruption, and of course $$$ from overseas commercial interests. The closest blue water fishery to me is the South Atlantic and the Washington regulators have very nearly nuked all but the in-shore part of it for rec fishermen. Very economically devastating as the oft ridiculed trickle-down economic model can be viewed in all of its ugly reality as family marinas dry rot, local mechanics and tradesmen move to where the work is, and the tax bases of coastal Counties and Cities vaporize and along with it, the fiscal base to exist.
Alaskans are all too familiar with this situation as many of your local towns and communities have lived against all odds since Man first walked this old Earth. Too few people to share in the collective needs of the many so that all can survive is par for the course in AK yet despite it all, you flourish. This is because you have not permitted your local governance to usurp your Liberties. The single biggest error is to open the door so that an entity outside of the Citizen's ability to seek redress (elections) is created, for just as in the failed Washington model, such only leads to waste, abuse, and the worsening of whatever situation said entity was created to address. IOW, keep it LOCAL and DEMAND that the resulting arrangement is always within the ability of the Citizens(voters) to redress (vote out).
And finally, I do not grasp this notion that reporting illegal activity is ratting out or narcing particularly when we are discussing a mutually shared resource. Somebody called in on these clowns and they will receive a painfully expensive end to their ill considered activities:
This account is several years old and came from a LONG thread on a local forum:
"Four American men are expected to appear in court today charged with a number of offenses in breach of the Fisheries Act and the Bahamas Customs Act, after their fishing vessel was discovered in local waters without permits with approximately 7,000 pounds of fish on-board.
Petty Officer Jonathan Evans of the Royal Bahama Defense Force explained that at approximately 3:00 a.m. on Wednesday, officers were on routine patrol in waters about 35 miles off West End, when they spotted the boat, named Janice Ann. The men on-board said the boat had broken down; however, the men were unable to produce any documentation showing that they were legally in Bahamian waters.
"We decided to take a closer look and upon doing that we realized that it was a long line fishing vessel, which is illegal in The Bahamas," Evans said. When officers boarded the vessel and conducted a search, they discovered a large amount of assorted fish, including swordfish, wahoo, kingfish, dolphin and tuna. Officers then reported their discovery to officials on land and were given instructions to detain the vessel until it could be pulled into the harbour at the Bradford Marine shipyard.
Evans said the team of seven officers left the Little Bahamas Bank at approximately 3:15 yesterday morning, and it took about 12 hours for the vessel to arrive at the Freeport harbour. "Through a long day of work, efforts by my crew being very alert at all times, having to maintain law and order on- board to make sure that everything was safe and secure. They worked very well throughout the night,"?Evans said. "All of it is just in a day's work that we as the Royal Bahams Defence Force has to offer to our country, to protect our fisheries resources and the other things that we are out here to do to protect our nation against illegal activities which are taking place."
Once docking at about 3:00 p.m., further investigations were conducted by the Department of Fisheries officials.
Assistant fisheries superintendent with the Department of Marine Resources Clement Campbell said, although the fish had not yet been officially weighed, he estimates that the amount found would be between 6,000 and 7,500 pounds.
"The equipment on the boat is totally different from what we use in The Bahamas, from what I see on the normal Bahamian fishing boats."
"There's about 20 or 30 miles of long line on that boat, so whatever catches that line is gone. That's a serious thing – we're highly opposed to that," said Campbell.
Also discovered on-board the boat was a shotgun, a handgun with some live rounds of ammunition and several knives.
Campbell said he receives complaints from local fishermen on a regular basis about foreign fishermen in Bahamian waters.
"I get complaints from all the fishermen every weekend, especially on holidays and good weather days, that the foreign boats are out there fishing ... We've got 100,000 square miles of water, so it's hard for us to cover all that area. So what we want the public to do is always be alert and tell us what's happening out there," he said.
"A lot of the fishermen who fish off of West Grand Bahama, where this boat was, always say that some of the boats that they run into have confrontations with them. They will be fishing with no permit, no entry fee, no customs, no nothing, which is wrong."
Campbell said the four men, ranging in age from 35-60 are expected to be charged in court today."