Thank you, George, for putting me on the mailing list.
In the seacoast city of Gloucester, where I happen to live, a common concern,
especially of the segment of the population concerned with fishing, is with
the large factory trawlers, owned by American, Norwegian, Dutch corporations.
These trawlers, which catch and waste huge amounts of fish, by their
practices also severely damage the long-term viability of the oceans as a
source of fish. Moreover they deprive many traditional fishing communities
(on the coasts of the Americas, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Australia) that
depend on fish as the source of their livelyhood or directly for their basic
nutrition, of what they need to survive. It is one more example of a
technology for corporate profits, that is injurious to the well-being of a
The political battle to stop this technology from taking over is in progress.
A hopeful development, it seems to me, is the formation of the WORLD FORUM OF
FISH HARVESTERS AND FISHWORKERS, which held its first meeting in Delhi, India,
in November 1997. The preamble to the announcement of the Forum described the
commitment: "The fishing communities of the world uniting in the World Forum
of Fish Harvesters and Fishworkers to uphold their human rights, social
justice and culture: affirming the sea as a source of life; and committing
themselves to sustain fisheries and aquatic resources for future generations,
protect their livelihoods and secure preferential access for small-and-medium-
scale, artisanal, and traditional fishers, and indigenous peoples, to coastal
resources on which they have historically depended." This is an organization
primarily of workers.
On the environmental side Greenpeace has been actively working on this issue.
The situation is described clearly in the Greenpeace Report, "SINKING FAST:
HOW FACTORY TRAWLERS ARE DESTROYING U.S. FISHERIES AND MARINE ECOSYSTMES" by
Ken Stump and Dave Batker (1996). Greenpeace has also organized a bus tour
called "Save our Seas" with the objectives to get the bill S. 1221 passed (it
would phase out factory trawlers in US waters), to highlight community based
alternatives to industrialization and describe the issues facing the
fisheries. The bus tour goes throughout the U.S. from July 9 to September 10.
The email number of the Gloucester Greenpeace person (Niaz Dorry) who is
involved with the bus tour is [log in to unmask] . The national
Greenpeace office is: 1436 U Street, NW; Washington, DC 20009. Tel :
1-800-326 0959. Some other environmental organizations seem concerned with
the viability of the fish population, but not with the sustainability of the
human fishing communities. Also various local and governmental and
international organizations with diverse agendas get into the act,
complicating the picture. The National Marine Fisheries Service (under the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is the agency that engages
in "scientific research" related to the fisheries.
I hear a good bit about the problem of the fisheries because I happen to live
in Gloucester. The source of the problem globally seems to entail many
elements, of which the factory trawlers are one that is particularly clear-
cut. Others, as you all know, include toxic materials dumped into the ocean,
overfishing generally, destruction of fish breeding grounds, etc. I am
sending this letter to call your attention to this critical current global
issue, as well as specifically to S. 1221, with the sense that the
Fishworkers and Greenpeace are small but admirable and active Davids up
against a Goliath on the other side. I wonder what if any contribution
members of the Science-for-the-People network (including myself) can make on
Steve Joshua Heims