June 22, 2010 – A major fisheries Antitrust complaint was filed today in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, Case No. 10-3057-PA, Lloyd D. Whaley v. Pacific Seafood Group involving 54 defendant entities owned by [Frank] Dulcich, Inc. The complaint alleges violations of 15 U.S.C. §§ 1 and 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and pursuant to Sections 4 and 16 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 15 and 26 and 28 regarding four major seafood product markets: Dungeness Crab, Groundfish, Pacific Onshore Whiting (hake), and Pacific Coldwater Shrimp.
PDF of PowerPoint slides: Antitrust & Restraint of Trade
Groundswell’s good friend summarizes key aspects of effective activism …
By Paul Rogat Loeb – June 17, 2010
Effective activism’s a long-haul process, not “save the earth in 30 days, ask me how.” But there are some principles that seem to reoccur for people addressing every kind of challenge from the Gulf Oil spill to inadequate funding for urban schools to how to deal with Afghanistan and Iraq.
Catch Share Programs from New England to Alaska Rockfish to West Coast Whiting & Groundfish demonstrate premature policy-making in the rush of larcenies of the nation’s public fish rights for the sake of special interests.
June 16, 2010 – Foster City, CA – The West Coast’s largest seafood corporation, the Pacific Seafood Group, and other processors have apparently requested the Pacific Fishery Management Council [ http://www.pcouncil.org/groundfish/background/ ] to separate the non-whiting (hake) portion of the trawl IFQ program and are allegedly asking for “delay with the ultimate goal of killing rationalization.” It’s a market power fight — at the 11th hour, as the PFMC handles “deeming” of the catch share plan at this meeting — by processors who are apparently “upset they didn’t get their share of traditional groundfish.” That’s according to vessel owner Fred Yeck of Seadawn Fisheries, Inc., in this public comment: Seadawn-PFMC-June2010
UPDATE: June 17, 2010 — the PFMC gave eligible shoreside processors 20% of the whiting harvest quota share, but none of the non-whiting QS (which was proposed at 10%), and the majority of 80% of whiting and 100% of non-whiting species goes to “harvesters” – defined as those holding Limited Entry permits for trawl vessels. Again, captains and crew are not defined as harvesters! The non-whiting or traditional groundfish species are sablefish (black cod), dover and english sole etc. Those who bought permits on speculation of this action may not be able to operate all the permits due to lack of fish for all permits to operate within limits or within excessive cap limits. As of day’s end, the Council is reluctant to allow those speculators to be grandfathered above certain excessive caps. The June 10, 2010 Federal Register carried the lengthy Proposed Rule, which may be instructive to other regions of the nation as they contemplate the expensive process of “rationalization” (cough cough) into property-right Catch Shares — i.e. stealing public resources. A copy is available at http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2010-13312.pdf
The Fishermen’s News’ Editorial by Sam Smith, July 1996 – “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” SamSmith_1996_TFN_Editorial PDF File
Groundswell reminds you how crooked Alaska fisheries have been — including fish processors cooperating with Big Oil against fishermen.
1996 EXXON VALDEZ Oil Spill – Fish processors sued 30,000 fishermen for sake of Exxon re the 1989 spill. This is the kind of “pernicious and flagrant violation of public policy” that fishermen and the States, Congress & the Obama Administration must ensure does not happen for the BP Gulf spill.
Federal Judge Russel Holland called the deal between Alaska’s major fish processors (in Prince William Sound and oil spill damaged coastlines) to screw the fishermen out of $750 million ‘an astonishing ruse’ … see PDF above.
PRESS RELEASE — EMBARGO: Wednesday, June 9, 2010, 12 AM EST
American Seafood Defense Fund established to support fisheries lawsuit:
Legal action against Federal Government backed by largest New England port cities, Members of Congress
NEW BEDFORD, MA: June 9 – A national campaign has been launched to raise funds in support of a lawsuit filed against the federal government last month by New England’s two largest fishing ports – New Bedford and Gloucester, Massachusetts – together with private fishing interests from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and North Carolina.
Today, Mayor Scott W. Lang sent out the press release and a memo describing the establishment of the defense fund. Mayor Lang stated, “If you would like to contribute please follow the directions below. I look forward to our continued partnership on the crusade to stand up for the rights of commercial fishing communities.”
If only Alaskan communities would respond to fishery privatization regimes with equal passion and full responsibility — lawsuits are often the only way to stop public larceny!
June 8, 2010 — Ecotrust issued a report entitled, “FAIR CATCH: Ten ways to improve the catch share proposal for the West Coast trawl fisheries” covering the non-whitefish species in the mixed-stock fishery in the eastern Pacific Ocean off the shores of the Lower 48 states.
Ecotrust states, “The most immediate impact of the IFQ program will be the downsizing of the fishing fleet” – consolidation. “The non-whiting groundfish trawl quota could be worth somewhere between $125 and $250 million. Under the Council’s preferred alternative, ninety percent of this will be transferred from the public trust to individuals as a private capital asset.”
It’s just another step in the species-by-species march of political larcenies of public commons resources for the sake of a few special interests. Captains and crew are being treated as peons, as their historical participation and compensation is cast aside. When will Congress finally “Catch On” to this serial larceny of the nation’s Public Commonweal and put a stop to it?
Also below: October 2001 Groundswell’s Public Comment to NPFMC in English & Japanese – continuance of a Shinto ceremony for peaceful CO-EXISTENCE and an end to wrongdoing in our fisheries.
June 3, 2010 – Groundswell Fisheries Movement is pleased to announce that its website upgrades now allow posting of the historical series – BONSAI BUCCANERS IN THE FISH REPUBLIC OF ALASKA.
This series ran from 1998 to 2004 in a West Coast fisheries trade paper, originally owned by Walt Kisner and later by Phillips Publications, THE FISHERMEN’S NEWS.
Part punditry, part moral story, part history, and in large part prognostication and forewarnings, the series also educates readers and instructs them to applicable laws… all in the nature of the Satyagraha (Quest for Truth) that Groundswell embodies.
Species-by-Species March to Privatize Public Commons of Fisheries Continues … by robbing small processors and crewmembers, as
Alaska “rationalization” programs pave the way for “Catch Share” public larcenies nationwide.
June 3, 2010 – Back in 2000, corrupt ex-U.S. senator Ted Stevens of Alaska legislatively set in motion a conspiracy to defraud the U.S.A. of its public commonwealth in the multi-species fisheries of the Gulf of Alaska groundfish complex. Equally corrupt, in 2006 ex-U.S. congressman Richard Pombo of California joined in to extend a pilot program for GOA Rockfish for the same special interests, and Ted conveniently slipped it into the Senate bill Reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has proven unstoppable in promoting GOA Rockfish privatization, despite all its legal problems, and the revision regime goes to Final Action in Sitka, Alaska next week. And like for Crab Ratz, nowhere in any of the options is a recognition and protection options for the historical participation of the crew who traditionally got 30 to 40% of the trip settlements.
The New England fisheries ‘catch share’ schemes (Amendment 16) are simply one more way for government agencies to destroy American jobs, but reward special interests – and of throwing ‘best science’ overboard. Boat owner Dick Grachek (F/V Anne Kathryn) reaffirms that no matter what the circumstances, NOAA is relentlessly set upon creating tradable commoditized assets (financial instruments known as catch shares) rather than serving 80% or more of the people through maintaining jobs, strong economies, and fair and equitable distributions.
The Pareto Principle – The 80/20 Rule – is “the observation (not law) that most things in life are not distributed evenly.” It is “a rough guide about typical distributions” that is a poor design factor for America’s fisheries. But NOAA’s unfounded political thrust for catch shares hinges its cold-blooded policy on disenfranchising fishermen and lifestyles.
Things were off to a great start for the corrupt proponents in Alaska, where the North Pacific Fishery Management Council has for twenty years concentrated its policy on creating government-sponsored coercive monopolies while privatizing the Public Commonweal for a few special interests. They destroyed the interaction of normal market forces while favoring corporate welfare, as they created tradable commodified shares or quotas, usually owned by outside interests, not real fishermen.
A Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Law Standard that NOAA Continually Violates:
Sec. 600.325 National Standard 4--Allocations.
Standard 4. Conservation and management measures shall not discriminate
between residents of different states. If becomes necessary to allocate or assign
fishing privileges among various U.S. fishermen, such allocation shall be:
(1) Fair and equitable to all such fishermen.
(2) Reasonably calculated to promote conservation.
(3) Carried out in such manner that no particular individual,
corporation, or other entity acquires an excessive share of such privileges.
Grachek’s Article follows… Read more