- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Fishing became a corporation's game

Posted by: Bluenose ( Canada ) on March 02, 19100 at 11:03:54:

In Reply to: That's libertarian nonsense posted by MDG on March 01, 19100 at 20:53:00:

: [snipped, because this sums of Loudon Head's argument:]

: : Take a look at what's been happening in Iceland and New Zealand. Their fisheries were being depleted due to government mismanagement. They privatized the fisheries and BINGO, suddenly there's no fish shortage anymore.

: You argue that government regulation of natural resources is doomed to failure, but the magical private sector will run things with care and concern for the environment. That, my friend, is a crock. Did Charles Hurwitz/a> wisely manage the forests owned by Pacific Lumber after he acquired it in a corporate takeover? No, he engaged in all-out clearcutting. Had there been effective government regulation of the United States' old-growth forests, Hurwitz wouldn't have been able to engage in his clear-cutting frenzy.

: There is nothing inherently wrong with government regulation. In fact, regulation is often needed to protect the public and the environment from those who would plunder both for the sake of short-term profit.

Sometimes these corporatist crackpots make statements so obtuse they take your breath away; the only explanation for their ability to turn reality on its head without so much as a blush or a blink must lay in their religious conviction that 'the market' is, in fact, another word for 'God' and government a synonym for 'Satan'. Louden Head gives a perfect example of a 'true believer's' "thinking" process, in which history is ignored, and unfounded assumption becomes 'Holy Writ'. First to history. I don't know what his connection to the the North Atlantic Fishery may be, but as a native Nova Scotian I know that waters which had been fished for four hundred years with only limited damage were systematically destroyed after WW11 by the new technology of Sonar, nylon netting, and so on. The technology was extremely effective, but very expensive. The average 'fishing family' could neither afford it nor compete with it. Fishing became a corporation's game, giving rise in only a very few years to huge 'multi-national'corporations like "National Sea Products", here in Canada, with others in Japan,USSR, Spain, the USA, etc. All of these corporations felt they had the right to'harvest' the oceans biosphere in accordance with 'free market' principles,ie.,produce and market your product so as to maximize shareholder profit. If that meant your trawlers ripped up the bottom, destroying spawning habitat, killing all and every species, marketable or not, destroying the food chain from the bottom up, well, that was just the price you(?) pay to remain 'competitive'in what was an early instance of a 'globalised' economy.As per LH's reference to " The Common" theory, it was a 'global free market' because several nations claimed 'rights',in common, over the ocean beyond the twelve mile territorial limit. Canada, Iceland, Peru and others had no control over corporations fishing for other nations on the North or South American Continental shelves. After several decades, Peru, Iceland, and others, including, eventually, Canada, declared 200 mile limits, giving their governments legal jurisdiction over the fishing grounds and the multi-national corporations fishing them. Enforcing national law took guts, something Canada did not have (for fear of alienating foreign markets and investors) until Brian Tobin seized Spanish trawlers for taking undersized turbot. In WTO fashion, the Spanish claim Canada had no right to interfere with them and should be taken to the World Court. Tiny Iceland was much more courageous. Right off the bat its few puny gunboats took on the British Navy and backed them down.The Icelandic government regulated the fishery from then on and brought it back to viability, for the Icelanders. What they did to the Atlantic Salmon is another, not so flattering story. By the time Brian Tobin took his stand, the Grand Bank fishery had already been destroyed and moratorium put in place which, after nearly a decade, has not enabled the cod stocks to replenish. They may be destroyed forever, because no-one, no government, reined in the globalized, corporatist fishing machine. Georges Bank fared little better, being, as it is, divided into US and Canadian jurisdictions. As for New Zealand, I didn't know they had a world class fishery, but I'll bet their government only stood up and enforced their authority over the aforementioned 'machine' in the the last ten to fifteen years, hopefully before it was too late. Well, I doubt anyone has followed my long winded rant to its bitter end, but at least I feel a little better, even though I have surely left Louden Head's Holy Faith unshaken.

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