John Williamson, charter boat captain, former commercial fisherman, fellow member of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary talks with Rob about ocean policy planning, fisheries and seafood. John gives us a fisheries overview “from 30,000 feet” of the incredibly complex issues involved where fishing is the last hunting in a wilderness we can not see. The ocean, in particular the 200 mile ribbon encircling the nation, is a public trust resource. There are no property owners, no gatekeepers or gamekeepers. We don’t know who all the users of the resource are. Much of the planning work is now being done by regional councils. Discover the many ways you can assist and participate in national and regional ocean policy making.
Prelude to a National Ocean Policy
In 2007 Alison Babb-Brott most capably assisted Rob in the grassroots portion of a campaign “to engage, educate and broaden a constituency in Massachusetts supportive of comprehensive area-based management supportive of comprehensive ecosystem-based management of state waters. In 2008, having signed into law the Massachusetts Ocean Act, Governor Patrick appointed to head up the ocean planning effort Deerin Babb-Brott, Ali’s Dad. Deerin described the necessary learning curve like “drinking from a fire hose.” Before a packed room of ocean users, he was asked what if he failed to bring it all together into a coherent plan. “Well,” Deerin replied, “Then I’ll go back to being a sternman (assisting a lobsterman in the harvesting of lobster.)” In March 2012, President Obama appointed Deerin Babb-Brott Director of the National Ocean Council Office. You won’t be seeing this sternman baiting traps on any lobster boats for a bit longer, yet.