Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Byrd Amendment repeal and "process your own"

It always got me that the Byrd Amendment provided for some big bucks for seafood processors that complained of damage by foreign imports of similar species to the ones they were packing. But I haven't seen any mention of a fisherman getting in on any of this largess,

A few of these old buildings is all there is left of the working waterfront in downtown Halifax, N.S. Canada.

I guess the assumption was that by just simplisticly getting some money back into the same industry as the imported product, all would be well. And this redress comes out of taxes on seafood imports, the same money that painted a salmon on an Alaska Airlines jet, that well should benefit ALL players in the industry.

And seafood processors aren't the only ones benefitting. It's growers of sugar cane, and all kinds of products that make it seem like the U.S. is a protectionist country. Not the great Free Trade advocate that we try to make ourselves out to be.

But the first thing a player does when there is some windfall like this, is to consolidate his position against the other players. This is not good for small processors and fishermen trying to become small processors, and maybe if they can catch the brass ring, become big processors.

Speaking of small processors, it seems that the proposed Gulf of Alaska Groundfish Rationalization Plan would say "nyet" on any small processors trying to get into the game. Well, maybe not "nyet," the Russians even ditched socialism. The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council wouldn't see their actions in THAT light of course. Just in the light of, those major players/councilors, consolidating their position as good business men and women naturally do. That's the type of fisheries management system we have.

Another bit of news that makes you scratch your head in amazement comes from Maine. They seem to be on a real seafood revitalization roll these days. First it was protecting the waterfront from condos and out-of-state investors. Now it's a processing plant so their lobsters can really be Maine products instead of Canadians processing Maine lobsters and calling them Canadian lobsters.

Seems consumers are starting to prefer a lobster product that they can put in chowders, etc. They like the convenience. I also read that they are finding new lobster grounds 200 miles off-shore. That's a surprising area to me. The Canadians are getting surf clams 200 miles off-shore too. They process them and package them for the surimi market and get over five dollars a pound for the meats. I had to go over to Halifax for that information.


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