I have recently observed an alarming trend at the Pacific Fisheries Management Council. The Cowcod Conservation Area, located off southern California, was created in response to massive overfishing of the cowcod. This marine protected area protects not only cowcod, but other overfished species, such as lingcod and bocaccio, as well as other species that may be overfished. In the past few years, fishermen have repeatedly come to the Council requesting various kinds of exemptions from the regulations. Most involve being allowed to fish in waters they consider too shallow or too deep for cowcod. It disturbs me that there are attempts to circumvent these regulations.
So, dear rockfish, what is going on?
Yes, yes, you are watching the usual Death of a Thousand Cuts, Fisheries Style. This happens all of the time throughout the world, as fishermen try to chip away at various fishing regulations.
The answer is simple – the Pacific Fisheries Management Council has to firmly and simply state that, under no circumstances, will it change the rules in the Cowcod Conservation Area.
And the rockfish just happens to have such a statement at hand. And the rockfish herein gives the Pacific Fisheries Management Council permission to use the declaration in part or in toto.
“Notice to All Fishermen
We at the Pacific Fisheries Management Council are not going to monkey around with the regulations concerning fishing in the Cowcod Conservation Area.
Do not come to us asking us to allow you to fish on or near the bottom anywhere in the Cowcod Conservation Area. Do not ask us if you could perhaps only fish with dry flies and a number 10 tippet. Do not ask us if you could perhaps send down robotic lures that only seek out greenspotted rockfish, not cowcods. Do not ask us if you could perhaps only use for bait genetically modified anchovies that are only eaten by rosy rockfish. Do not ask us if you could perhaps go down in a specially modified underwater blimp that would allow you to spear only halfbanded rockfish. Do not ask us if you could perhaps use an underwater sound system that plays “Louie, Louie” at a special frequency only heard by, and attractive to, shortspine combfishes.
No, do not ask us any thing like that. Some day, probably long after all of you are dead, we may decide that rockfish populations are healthy enough inside and outside the Cowcod Conservation Area that you may be allowed to fish inside it.
Do you hear us? We will repeat it. Someday, probably when there is nothing left of you but amino acids and prions, we may allow some fishing in the Cowcod Conservation Area. But not before.
Until then, we do not wish to discuss anything, in any way, shape, form, or context having to do with changing the regulations in the Cowcod Conservation Area. We do not want to talk to you about it in any known human language, including smoke signals, beating peccaries on hollow logs, or the ear wagging language of the Neanderthals. In fact, we do not want to discuss changing Cowcod Conservation Area regulations in any of the quasi-, crypto-, semi-, or highly refined-languages of any carbon, silicon, or other element-based life forms on this or any other planet in this universe or (should Stephen Hawking be correct) any other universe that make up the Multiverse.
Lastly, if you, fishermen of the Pacific Coast, attempt to circumvent these rules and insist on trying to convince us to alter the perfectly reasonable regulations concerning fishing in the Cowcod Conservation Area, we will set the dogs upon you. And after they tear off all of your clothing, and after they rip your still beating hearts from your chests, the entire Stanford Cardinal Marching Band, including the person carrying that big drum, will march over your still twitching bodies.”
The rockfish is at least mildly optimistic that this will have some salutary effect.