Fish Stories

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There is a story about a young student who, pressured by his parents to go to law school, rebelled by never going to class. So the professor of his International Law class was surprised when he showed up for the final exam. He began to write furiously and continued long after all the other students had left. The student was either Damon Runyon or Ring Lardner, but I haven’t been able to track it down.

Anyway, the subject of the exam was a fight between the U.S. and Canada over international fishing rights on the Newfoundland Banks. When the student finally turned in his blue book, the professor couldn’t wait to see which side the student took in the legal battle, only to discover the entire answer was written from the viewpoint of the fish.

It’s no secret that lots of our fisheries have been in dire straits lately. Since the late 1990s, a mix of Federal and California laws have restricted fishing in many coastal areas. For more on the subject, Google “Southern California Marine Protection” which includes info on the Crystal Cove area.

Recent studies suggest catch restriction laws, in combination with improved fish farming, have started showing success over a relatively short time span.
The Federal law limiting fishing in coastal waters, last renewed in 2006, is up for renewal later this year. However, ending government intrusion is a mantra of the Tea Party, and they’ve decided it’s time to get government out of the fishing business.

The party of Teddy Roosevelt controls the House of Representatives, and they seem unwilling to stand up to any part of their dwindling base. Teddy was an ardent conservationist, so you’d think his heirs could justify extending the limits for a few more years. Then again, Teddy was a trust-buster who didn’t mind reining in big business, and you know how his heirs feel about the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Bill. So renewal of Federal catch limits is in doubt.

As usual, nobody has consulted the fish.

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