FishNet USA/December 28, 2011
Nils E. Stolpe
In the last week of November Bloomberg Businessweek on the MSNBC website posted an article titled:
“The Gloucester Fish War – How a small town in Massachusetts destroyed a decade of law enforcement,”
Mr. Borrell’s point seemed to be that something approaching a conspiracy by Gloucester fishing interests, local, state and federal politicians, the Gloucester Daily Times and the Inspector General’s office in the US Department of Commerce victimized the entire federal fisheries enforcement process in the Northeast.
Reminiscent of the horse operas of yesteryear, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration enforcement personnel, wearing the white hats à la such stalwarts as John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart, gave their all to fighting the good fight; but rather than rustlers or bandits they were fighting fishermen from a community where cheating was an accepted way of life.
Given the title of his article, it will come as no surprise to anyone that Mr. Borrell painted the hats that the fishermen – and their supporters – wear a pretty unequivocal black.
Did Mr. Borrell get the right hats on the right heads? Having been a fairly close observer of the situation as it unfolded, I would have to answer that he wasn’t even close. And putting together the observations of a number of eminently qualified people and organizations who were directly involved in several connected investigations, people with no particular ax to grind, I’d suggest that they would agree with me.
My purpose here is to lay out all of the information that seems to have escaped Mr. Borrell’s notice and let the folks who read this decide for themselves.
But before getting into that, let’s take a look at some of Mr. Borrell’s factual content, the kind of stuff that, particularly with today’s access to the internet, is so easy to get right.
In the program of 2nd International Marine Conservation Congress held in Victoria, BC, Canada in May of 2011, Brendan Borrell is listed as a grantee of the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea (COMPASS) Journalist Fellowship Program (along with fellow Society of Environmental Journalists members Juliet Eilperin and Jeff Burnside – see my In the Belly of the Big Green Beast at http://www.fishnet-usa.com/In the belly of the beast.pdf
). COMPASS has received over $2.6 million from SeaWeb, which was created by the Pew Trusts and has received over $17 million from the Pew Trusts and the Packard Foundation.