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Friday, June 21, 2024
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Who Owns the Fish?

Dear Source:
An interesting question arises Mr. Olsen, who owns the fish? Fishermen have for years had a right to take what was essentially not Theirs a cattle man has to buy the land and buy the cattle he harvests, but a fisherman takes what is our common property. St. croix reported a harvest of 1 million lb. last year by those fishermen you say were going to implement some plan of conservation, now when someone takes action to protect what's left you say it will fail, and you speculate that the same people that exterminated the hog fish and the grouper will for some unstated reason not eliminate other species.
Why? You cite the years of abuse and over fishing these same people have done but you twist there actions into some shinning shield of our fisheries. Greed Mr. olsen, have you seen what the people of St. croix catch when they fish off the shore, 3" or 4" immature fish, you cite the harm to the 200 or so people who fish commercially licensed or unlicensed who make a profit selling to people who can no longer catch there own fish. When do you propose to actually start conserving?
the gill net ban ensures every single person on St. croixs right to fish and perhaps it may shift over to spear fishing witch you claim will take just as much, but you neglect to understand the nature of that act one man has two hands so two spears at a time up and down as opposed to one gill net and two men in the water chasing all the fish into it, no Mr. olsen your lack of understanding is what has perpetuated the problem, if spear fishing could replace gillnetting the fishermen would not be complaining so loudly. the ban may not be perfect but its a start to ensuring that anyone who tosses a line in the water may actually catch a fish, and that is the goal, generations of virgin islanders continuing to have the ability to catch something from there waters, too many of our current generation have only seen a good fish in a market where someone who makes a profit has taken away the right of the consumer to catch his own.
I heard your sour grapes speech on the radio, it was sad you attack the govoner and those who replaced you, I find it hard to say they are spineless when in 60 days they did what you never did the entire time you had the job= enforce the current law= if the people want gill netting in there waters they can vote it in. I don't seem to recall a vote or proposition to allow gill netting the way i remember it, the fishermen started doing it and no one in the enforcement jobs did anything about it and so they kept on doing it. perhaps you don't remeber when anyone who fished from the shore could catch 14-20" fish right off the beach. No I'm not against the fishermen, I believe everyone has the right to fish, the key here is equality, we all have the right and we all should have our right protected from those who make a profit from our common property.
Paul Keith
Frederiksted

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