Don Pesci: Imports, over-regulation assaulting fishing industry

The fishing industry in Connecticut is under assault from foreign fish imports. Mike Gambardella, owner of Gambardella Wholesale Seafood, based in Stonington and East Haven,  writes, somewhat frantically, that consumers don’t realize that the import seafood market is at 96 percent: “Our fishermen are throwing wild-caught healthy, chemical free, dead fish overboard daily.”

The regulatory apparatus in the United States is simply crushing local fishing industries: “We’re going out of business in Stonington, Connecticut, one of the oldest commercial fishing ports in the nation, dating from the 1600s”

David Goethel’s experience is typical: The federal government is destroying Mr. Goethel’s industry through overregulation and forcing ground-fishermen like himself to pay $700 per day to have authorities monitor them on their boats. Even the government estimates these additional costs would put 60% of the industry out of business. Cause of Action Institute is helping Mr. Goethel fight back through the courts to save his livelihood.

At his wits end, Gambardella has sent out appeals to nearly everyone, including President Trump and the seven members of Connecticut’s all Democratic U.S. Congressional Delegation.

Former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, now first selectman of Stonington, has joined the struggle to remove deathly federal regulations from New England fishermen. But other members of Connecticut’s U.S. congressional delegation, including the state’s two publicity-seeking U.S. senators, Chris Murphy and Dick Blumenthal – now busying themselves seeking to impeach Trump --  have done little but console Gambardella and others with the usual political bromides: “It takes time… be patient… we’re working on it…” Tough to be patient while the patient lies at death’s door on the gurney, and all the doctors appear to be conspiring to euthanize it.

On July 27, at the La Grua Center, 32 Water St., Stonington, just prior to Stonington’s Blessing of the Fleet, Simmons and Meghan Lapp will “lead an interactive discussion with representatives from our local fishing community. During this event, we will learn about the challenges facing one of America’s oldest commercial industries” and what can be done to help preserve one of the oldest industries in Connecticut from the withering hand of excessive regulation.

Everyone should be there.

Don Pesci is a Vernon, Conn.-based essayist.