Friday, October 21, 2005

Byrd Amendment $s to fishermen?

This is a subject that I'm foggy on, I admit it. But here's a link to an article on Gulf Shrimpers trying to get some of the tariff money to help them get back in business. Seems to me this would be as good a use for the tariffs on cheap imported seafood as there ever was. Or is there something else those shrimpers should be counting on as far as getting the boats back out fishing. The boats are the economic engine that drives that shrimp economic ecosystem and nothing else.

But it made me wonder if fishermen elsewhere are getting Byrd Amendment monies to make up for cheap imports. I thought I heard that Trident Seafoods of Seattle was getting a chunk of this money. And I haven't heard of any fishermen getting any. I could be all washed up on this, but just had to pose the question: as first owners of the fish, and the economic engines of the industry, do fishermen get a check back from a seafood company recipient? It would have a notation on the memo line saying something to the effect that it's money they are dispensing on behalf of the authors of the Byrd Amendmant.

Or do they just pocket the money? Actually, I think there is a provision for processors to benefit directly from the Byrd Amendment. It's based on income, so of course a processor is going to make out big, and they have the people to follow through with an application. There are other programs to aid the fishermen in adverse times, but they usually don't apply for the help. If there is monetary assistance that a certain group of fishermen qualify for, why not just send it to them?

Trivia for the day:

Speaking of king crab fishing again, I worked with a couple of crab crewmen once who wanted to get into fish buying. One of which was a freedom fighter in his home country at one time. His father was a military officer and had to pick him up from school in a military helicopter when the city he was in was being overrun. Another interesting character I remember was on a herring squeezing crew of mine in Whittier. He was, by his account, the last of the royal line from Bulgaria. This was a while back now of course. But he was on the lam from the Communists and I guarantee he picked about the last place on earth they would look. The reason I believed his story was because he dressed and acted the part. I gave him time off because he got tendonitis from squeezing the roe out of herring. He thought I was a prince for letting him take a break without having to collapse to do it.


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