Magazine article Insight on the News

How Does This Float Your Boat

Magazine article Insight on the News

How Does This Float Your Boat

Article excerpt

Time was when the federal government was bending over backward to get folks into the fishing business. It offered new and old salts low-interest loans to buy bigger and better boats and poured millions of dollars into developing new technologies that would make American fishermen second to none in productivity. But when fishing stocks began to plummet, the panicked feds reversed themselves and offered to buy those same boats back from some of the same fisherman, as well as encourage them to take on more landlocked pursuits. That boat-buyback program has cost taxpayers $140 million since 1995.

But there's a hook, so to speak. As it tums out, the program has done little in most cases to reduce overfishing because the government, even while buying some fishermen out, was doing little to prevent new fishermen from replacing the old or to prevent those still fishing from buying bigger and better boats that catch even more fish. Nor has it done enough to ensure that a bought-out skipper in New England doesn't take his money and fish elsewhere and contribute to overfishing there. …

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