Fish will survive on farms, not in oceansYour editorial on...

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August 05, 1994

Fish will survive on farms, not in oceans

Your editorial on world fisheries, July 29, was both timely and interesting, but just a little off base and inaccurate.

It is true that subsidizing a dying industry does not make economic sense. When one considers that importation of seafood is the second largest contributor to our balance of payment deficit, however, I suppose it is a loser either way.

The government can either give money to working American fishermen or watch it go to Taiwan for seafood products, and then pay welfare or unemployment to the laid-off American fishermen.

The suggestion that cutting out subsidies to fisherman will somehow halt the decline of natural fish population is wrong. This is a supply and demand problem.

World population is out of balance with the natural order. As you mentioned, humans have to eat, and in many parts of the world seafood is a primary source of protein. To assume that as a human population increases Mother Nature will increase natural food from the ocean is misguided.

Over-harvest of the natural catch is a major reason for the decline of the great schools of fish. This was recognized two decades ago by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

In 1992, this organization reported that the world had basically reached its limits for food production of all kinds.

This means that in the near future there will be a world-wide food shortage, and it won't matter how much money countries like the United States have, because you can't buy something that does not exist.

The real fisheries crime is that we have the means to lessen the demand on wild seafood by rapidly developing the fledging American aquaculture industry, but the U.S. government ignored the issue and stood in the way of progress, mostly due to influence from the traditional fishing industry.

Centuries ago, when population outgrew nature's ability to supply red meat and vegetables, farming of these crops was developed. These crops, combined with the vast abundance of wild seafood, have sustained us to this point, but the handwriting is on the wall.

Just like the oil embargo years ago, one morning we will wake up and the newspapers will be filled with stories about a devastating shortage of seafood products. Only this time it won't be a simple matter of negotiating to increase production, because you can't increase a product that no longer exists.

Do you know why Crisfield is no longer the "Seafood Capital" of the world? Because it did nothing while the wild oyster population died off.

Meanwhile, entrepreneurs in Connecticut and Washington state, unencumbered by a purist Department of Natural Resources, began farming oysters.

They are now the oyster capitals of the world, and they don't disrupt the natural bounty to supply the product.

The same will be done with fin-fish. The only question is whether America will take the lead or import fish from foreign farms, sending our jobs and money overseas.

`Douglas C. Burdette Jr.


7+ The owner is proprietor of a fish farm.

Foul emissions

As a Baltimore City resident, I am appalled at the polluting emissions spewed from diesel-powered trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles that travel the Baltimore streets and Maryland roads, some of them city vehicles.

The requirement for the periodic inspection of automobiles seems perfectly reasonable as a way of controlling noxious fumes, but for some inexplicable reason, there is no effort made to control commercial vehicles.

When a car is behind one of these foul-smelling commercial monsters, the occupants of the car can become ill, particularly if they have an asthmatic or other respiratory condition.

What does it take to do something about this abominable situation?

Charles Koblentz


USS Constellation

With regard to the present problems concerning the USS Constellation, I was reminded of two incidents that put the controversy in perspective.

1. Sometime back, on a TV show, a comedian was doing a skit as an auctioneer, in which he was offering various items supposedly belonging to famous people of the past, e.g. King Arthur's sword, King Tut's crown, all with some humorous patter.

He picked up an ax and said that this was the original ax that Abraham Lincoln used when he was splitting rails. Then he added, "Of course the head has been replaced three times and the handle has been replaced 12 times."

The Constellation certainly fits in that same category.

2. About 40 years ago, maybe even more, while the USS Constellation was rotting away at some remote pier in the area, a proposal came up to restore the ship, and it would entail the use of city funds.

If I remember correctly it was Dr. J. Walter Graham, Jr. who objected and suggested it be towed out to sea and sunk with full military honors and given a decent and memorable burial befitting its status.

That's what ought to be done with her now.

Louis J. Piasecki


See a trend?

Prohibition of alcohol -- millions made on the black market.

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