Odyssey of a Commercial Fisherman Boat Owner- What has this Country Done to Them?
Now you may say this blog post has nothing to do with real estate but I will disagree with you. Just like real estate makes the country turn,
so do our businesses that come under undue and unconscionable pressure and regulation by our government. The commercial fishing industry in RI was a large and profitable industry 30 years ago but it changed. In the 1970’s the U.S. had no care about the Russians taking all our fish 100 miles out from our shores and raping the oceans at large. Our commercial fisherman complained but received little support from our RI representatives or our government to do anything about it. Why? if we did do anything as a country we couldn’t have had our submarines snooping off the Russian shores watching them!
Point Judith RI, the port of Galilee, within the town of Narragansett RI was the hub of this RI fishing industry, like New Bedford, MA, where boat owners could sustain their families by catching lobsters, cod, flounder, fluke, squid & the likes and many extended businesses thrived by extension. I was a commercial fishing boat owners wife at one time and I knew the struggles, danger (our boat burned at high sea in winter), and fishing challenges of living the dream to have your business on the open waters.
Then it changed…the government decided that commercial fishing was to be restrictive… their
analysis showed quantities of fish depleting and the fisherman were required to change their ways have quotas of fish, pay to have government observers on their boats, only fish for species on certain weeks, etc. Yes, if you pulled up non-allowable fish in your nets, you have to throw them back (they’re dead then) and waste ensued and still does. It has become impossible with fuel costs to pay your bills – remember commercial fisherman do not receive subsidies from the government. The commercial fisherman’s burden is on their backs alone! By the way, you have to pay the government to fish in the U.S. now – did you know that?
So my good friend and RI commercial fishing boat owner, Joel, has sold out his boat to a consortium who has deep pockets (do you not think that fresh fish will rise in price?!). When we talk of freedom we all must remember that this wonderful country of ours offers different kinds of freedom to different people…you may have your own opinion but I share mine. He challenged the government well and tried to effect good change for this RI commercial fishing industry for years but alas the burden of David against Goliath was too formidable.
Here is his heartfelt letter (as he has left his livelihood of being a commercial fishing boat owner behind) I wanted to share and as he says he has SOLD OUT :
“To all, I just wanted to let you all know that as of last Thursday I am no longer a fishing vessel owner. I wasn’t sure what to put into the subject line but after I wrote “sold out”, the irony hit me. I sold out because, I was sold out. I was sold out by all the false promises that our collective sacrifices would one day be rewarded. Sold out by a system of rampant corruption to which the depths it may reach are unimaginable.I became an owner/operator in 1985, the same year I married my wife Susan and had our first child Katie. It was a dream come true. And for many years after the dream continued. Two more baby girls a new home and the rewards that hard work should afford any person willing to make the commitment. But slowly the dream turned into a nightmare. I don’t need to tell you all about it as we have been living it collectively now for far to long.I just wanted to drop you all a note telling you how much your friendship and trust over the years has meant to me. I am truly grateful. In a sense I feel I have let you all down by caving into the pressure. And I freely admit this was the driving force behind my decision. The stress of fighting for what is right and just, getting nowhere for so long finally took it’s toll. I also don’t need to tell you about how much stress this puts on people. Stress in the end was what drove me to this decision. I felt beaten and betrayed by this corrupt system to the point where it was affecting my health and my families well being. Sad but true. I knew I would one day come to this point and take a step back but I felt it would be many years from now. However I know I have done the right thing for my family and my self.So the book that has been ongoing for the past twenty six years and taken me to where I am is now closed. The new book is in its infancy and where it leads remains to be seen. It has been an honor standing by the people in this industry who continue to do the right thing and fight the good fight. This, I will continue to do. I will still be fishing, only now I will be on the dumb square end of the boat, not the smart pointy end! I have already begun and let me tell you, I now truly know it was the right move. No paperwork, no worries, just a step back to the days when we all started this journey and going to work was all you had to think about. Talk about a cleansing of the soul!So again, thanks to each and every one of you. I will still be active fighting these bastards till we get what’s right for future generations of fishermen. You will all be in my heart. God bless you all.
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