The item below was written after the annual meeting of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ), held from October 9-13, 2002, in Baltimore, Maryland, and which included, on October 12, a session titled "Whose Fish Are They?

Alone and skewered
by Jerry Fraser,
Editor, National Fisherman

If you fish for a living and think your views on the industry are in the mainstream, think again.

Last weekend I appeared on a panel at the annual convention of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

The topic was, "Whose fish are they," but my three co-panelists used their time to share their view on what is wrong with the ocean: Commercial fishing.

Daniel Pauly, of the Fisheries Center at the University of British Columbia, dismissed the impact of pollution in comparison with the damage fishermen have wrought on the ocean.

Mike Sutton, director of the Sustainable Fisheries Program at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, confessed total mystification that Congress would have allowed commercial fishermen to sit on fishery management councils.

Andrew Rosenberg, dean of the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture at the University of New Hampshire, dismissed criticism of the National Marine Fisheries Service's celebrated Albatross IV trawl surveys as irrelevant, even though the agency itself has done a mea culpa. (Rosenberg is a former New England regional administrator with NMFS.)

It is fair to say I was the only person who addressed the seminar topic, but that is because of inexperience on my part and general naiveté.

Still, I am glad I attended, even if I was skewered. It is likely that some of the journalists who attended may have never heard such outrageous viewpoints as I expressed.