Guest MINDSETTER™ Dean Fachon: All Hands on Deck in the General Assembly
Saturday, September 15, 2012
It is every elected representative’s responsibility to recognize they not only represent the constituents of their district, but their decisions also impact every citizen in Rhode Island. That said, if I were an elected rep, I would call upon my fellow members of the Rhode Island General Assembly to convene an emergency session and issue injunctive relief for the Rhode Island fishing industry.
Arrayed as a panel, these officials mustered all possible gravity to suggest they could hear the pleas from the beleaguered men and women of the RI fishing fleet, and that solutions would be forthcoming. But the solution they seem most intent on providing is financial assistance to those who are going out of business, rather than taking immediate action to prevent them from going out of business in the first place.
What could the government do that it isn't? Concerning the amount of groundfish our fleet is allowed to take, we listened to the fisherman explain how the government’s research vessel uses inappropriate ground tackle and tows at the incorrect speed to properly collect these fish at all. Then the government uses the predictably low numbers of fish caught in this manner as the data to conclude that these fish are dangerously depleted, hence justifying severe restrictions being placed on the fishermen’s harvest. Resolving this one simple issue – putting the correct equipment on the research vessel and towing at the correct speed – would prove there are plenty of these fish to harvest.
So how did these officials respond? They somberly nodded their heads and admitted they'd heard this complaint repeatedly from fisherman up and down the northeast coast. And the solution they offered was this: They would take this information back to Washington and use it to help synthesize a grand solution, because the problem really is so complex. “Nothing prompt,” mind you, “this will take one or two or more years.” Meanwhile, many of our fishermen are hanging by a thread, and much of our fleet has already gone under.
If there was ever an instance when the State should intervene to support disenfranchised Rhode Islanders, this is it. In the absence of prompt action from the Feds, the State should push back on these Federally imposed limits that are demonstrably flawed. The General Assembly should intervene to let our fishermen do what they do best, catch fish! Because it’s clear Washington is not listening with an ear to resolve even obvious problems. Instead, Washington seems intent upon placing as many hard working Americans as possible on assistance. Our fisherman don't want bailouts; they don't want Federal assistance; they just want to work! So, General Assembly members, show the hard working citizens of Rhode Island you have the courage to restore the meaning of our motto, “Hope,” and convene an emergency session.
Emil "Dean" Fachon was an unsuccessful candidate for State Rep. in 2012.
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