Fish, Fisheries and Queryomics
US Representatives Bill Keating, Ed Markey and John Tierney, all from Massachusetts, each filed amendments to the House’s Superstorm Sandy disaster relief bill on Friday (source).
The amendments differ in their specifics, but each asks for between $116 million and $150 million in aid for fishermen in the Northeast, Gulf Coast and Alaska. Beel notes that Hurricane Sandy affected the Atlantic coast, particularly in the Northeast, but it had no effect whatsoever on the Gulf Coast or Alaska.
Either the Massachusetts congressmen have a poor sense of geography, or they are playing the rest of the Congress for fools. Presumably, they hope to trick the Republican-controlled House Rules Committee into allowing at least one of the measures through for a vote on the House floor.
So, the red herring: What better way for the Congress to save money than to eliminate nonsense allotments, in this case to Gulf Coast and Alaskan fishermen, while then spending freely on the group really targeted?
Representative Keating said fishing communities badly need the funds because they face devastating cuts in catch limits this year because some key stocks of bottom-dwelling groundfish, such as cod and flounder, are recovering too slowly. Beel notes there are no fisheries for these coldwater, northern species along the Gulf Coast. WTF? Why not add Hawaii, as well?
Keating blames a combination of natural causes and poorly conceived federal regulations for the cuts. Beel asks, is Keating trying to claim that Hurricane Sandy reduced the groundfish stocks? Clearly, then, Keating wants to suggest that the very federal regulations that have prevented the fishermen from completely overfishing these stocks have resulted in their poor recovery.
Jackie Odell of the Northeast Seafood Coalition, an industry group based in Gloucester, said these funds are not ‘‘pork,’’ as some Republicans in Congress have claimed, they are a justified response to a declared natural disaster.
A hurricane? A hurricane caused the overfishing of these stocks? Beel wants some of whatever she’s been smoking.