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Tuna Fishy

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  • Tuna Fishy

    Feds Knew "Dolphin-Safe" Rules Were Being Broken

    In 2002, the Bush administration relaxed restrictions on foreign-caught tuna, allowing boats that netted dolphins to sell their tuna as "dolphin-safe" in the U.S. as long as the dolphins were released. The relaxed rule relied on the fact that observers were placed on boats to report on whether dolphins were caught in nets. Turns out, though, that in Mexico -- a major source of foreign tuna -- those observers are regularly bribed with payments of $10,000 to lie about dolphin netting. And it gets better: According to an internal Commerce Department email, U.S. government officials have been aware of the bribes for five years -- aware, in other words, that the system of observation was doing little to protect dolphins. Last year, enviro group Earth Island Institute sought and received a court injunction suspending the new rule; government lawyers have argued that the email is "irrelevant" to the rule, a claim U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson called "specious."

    straight to the source: San Francisco Chronicle, Glen Martin, 28 Apr 2004
    \"No, I think Space is a dimension of Time. My theory is that Time is a field and that Space exists as an aspect of Time.\" Michael Moorcock

    \"All I know about anything is \"I wasn\'t. I am. I will not be.\" Michael Moorcock

  • #2
    "In 2002, the Bush administration relaxed restrictions..."
    "...in Mexico -- a major source of foreign tuna -- those observers are regularly bribed with payments of $10,000 to lie about dolphin netting."
    "...U.S. government officials have been aware of the bribes for five years"

    Hmm. At the risk of being crucified yet again, "safe" means free from harm (as opposed to "never ever caught in any net of any kind"). So if the dolphins are free from harm - as evidenced by their release - everything should be okay. So the relaxed rule shouldn't be at issue.

    Why? Becuase I am an apologist? Not hardly. The rule was relaxed in 2002, less than TWO years ago. But the government knew of the bribes to lie about dolphin netting (that is to say, the observers were paid to say that no dolphins were netted) for FIVE years.

    So what is the point of this article? That tells me that the Bush rule relaxation does not result in any more harm to dolphins, AND removes the incentive for the observers to demand bribes in exchange for their clearances. Short of jailing the observers, how could this have turned out any better for the fishermen OR the fish themselves? Yet
    the artticle doesn't say that anywhere. WHY????????

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Bill
      That tells me that the Bush rule relaxation does not result in any more harm to dolphins...
      How do you figure?

      First, let's put aside the fact (not stated in the article) that releasing dolphins from a purse-seining net can be quite injurious to the dolphins, as fishermen aren't exactly nice and gentle about it. I've seen footage of dolphins being "broken" as they are forced over the edge of the net.

      Do you honestly think that the spotters aren't still being bribed to simply say, "Yeah, they caught some but let them go."? It's the same story, but with a different lie being told by the spotters.

      Also, do you really think that when Bush relaxed the restrictions he gave one thought to the safety of dolphins? Come on now. That's what is at issue here: that where money is involved, Bush couldn't give a rat's ass about nature issues. His reasons for relaxing the restrictions are the same as his reasons for denying the reality of global warming and every one of his other environmental screw-ups.

      Basically, Bush's administration knew about the bribes and relaxed restrictions anyway, knowing full-well it would simply make the spotters' job of lying about what they saw a little bit easier.
      "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
      --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

      Comment


      • #4
        "First, let's put aside the fact (not stated in the article)..."

        Nuff said. I was working from what was in the post only. Maybe that is my bad, but it is what it is.

        "Do you honestly think that the spotters aren't still being bribed... It's the same story, but with a different lie being told by the spotters."

        No, I hear you. I don't doubt it. When a revenue stream dries up, an entrepreneur will find other revenue streams. :D But what does that say about the previous rule or the new rule? It says that ANY rule with a spotter is flawed at best. Given that, what is the solution? Given that, NO rule will work; the only solution is NO TUNA. Ain't gonna happen, and it has nothing to do with Bush or Kerry or any other elected official. The Japanese, for one, are not going to turn their backs on a major portion of their economy.

        "Basically, Bush's administration knew about the bribes and relaxed restrictions anyway, knowing full-well it would simply make the spotters' job of lying about what they saw a little bit easier."

        ABSOLUTELY NOT. Not that this didn't happen, but the rationale for concluding this is not included in this story one bit. It is solely based on a predisposition (maybe not entirely undeserved) against Bush. I'll save Krunky the effort - I know this sounds like apology, but I tell you, it is not. It is only an effort to point out that "If A, then B. Therefore, Q" is not sound logic.

        Let's assume we are doing any of this for the safety of dolphins, and no other reason. We have a scenario: "One cannot net dolphins". How to we police this? We have spotters. Who get bribed to circumvent the process. What is the end result? Dolphins get hurt being thrown back. Is there a realistic way of not netting dolphins in the first place? Don't know. Don't see how that is possible, but don't know.

        So, we get an alternative. Let's be realistic, and let the dolphin be netted, but require that the dolphin be tossed back. We still run the risk of the dolphin being hurt (not changing the need for a better baseline solution). BUT, we eliminate the under-the-table profit to the spotters from the fishermen. The result? Presumably, that dolphins are NOT being thrown back and are included in the "haul". But can't that be recitfied pretty easily? Bottom line, any haul with a dolphin in it is automatically rejected and not paid for. Believe me, if a fisherman knows his entire haul is potentially of no value to him or anyone else, there WILL BE no dolphins in that haul.

        Any of the criticisms of this (the bribes simply move to the dock at the "purchase stage", the dolphins get "processed" at sea and mixed into the dressed fish, etc.) have asbolutely NOTHING to do with the regulation. NOTHING.

        My point is two-fold. One, reserve your blame of Bush for the stuff he has control of; shoot, there is enough, isn't there? Two, by blaming Bush you (collective) do a disservice to the cause at hand. If you aren't targeting the true cuase, how are you going to get meaningful change to the true issue at hand, i.e. protecting dolphins?

        Comment


        • #5
          Look, he relaxed restrictions, which, no matter what, cannot be good for the dolphins -- only good for the fishermen. That is my point: that Dubya don't give a damn about the dolphins because they don't have any lobbyists.

          Originally posted by Bill
          The Japanese, for one, are not going to turn their backs on a major portion of their economy.
          Oh, I know! And check out what they think of dolphins!

          http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_833468.html

          Alotta controversy over authenticity of the photos in that article. Being a Photoshop professional myself, I am always wary of photo-manipulation. However, I actually have the video and, well, it's real. Couldn't find the video online anymore, but I can upload it to my website if you want to see it. Poor dolphins...
          "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
          --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

          Comment


          • #6
            Psychic, I am not trying to pick a fight with you. All I am saying is that "relaxed restrictions, which, no matter what, cannot be good for the dolphins -- only good for the fishermen" is not necessarily true. You know that. I am saying that there is a strong possibility that there is a wash in terms of the well-being of the dolphins; if that is the case, why penalize the fishermen unnecessarily? Forget Bush for a second; for every inititive that would penalize fishermen (a tough life to begin with) for a meaningful benefit that has to be fought tooth and nail, why waste political capital for an intiative that hurts them for no appreciable gain? Especially if there is another way without the hurt to the fishermen?

            I worked for an environmental firm; I am not against protecting our environment. I do know that it is a constant battle, and it doesn't make any sense - in fact, hurts the cause - to pick fights that need not be picked. I also know, first hand, that the environmental industry is pretty conservative (i.e. risk-averse, not politically right-wing).

            Comment


            • #7
              No worries, Bill. I see a huge difference between debate and fighting. Neither of us intends to insult or cause harm to the other, so I see no fight here. :)

              Originally posted by Bill
              Forget Bush for a second; for every inititive that would penalize fishermen (a tough life to begin with) for a meaningful benefit that has to be fought tooth and nail, why waste political capital for an intiative that hurts them for no appreciable gain?
              You have a point. I consider myself checked. I will admit to being guilty of allowing my intense hatred for Bush to color my vision. (Sadly, I'm human and have a rough time not doing that.)

              If I thought the political capital would be diverted to something I agreed with, I might have seen your point sooner. Unfortunately, I believe Dubya to be so woefully corrupted by money that my optimism is non-existent.

              Heh. This isn't even that big of an issue. I just have this soft-spot for the hapless animals.
              "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
              --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

              Comment


              • #8
                "Unfortunately, I believe Dubya to be so woefully corrupted by money..."

                I can't say I have anything to offer to disuade you of that notion. Nor would I want to.

                "I just have this soft-spot for the hapless animals."

                Believe it or not, me too.

                Comment

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