Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Is fishing news fair to fishermen?

Do fishermen get favored treatment in the news, compared to fish conservationists? I'm sure passions run high on both sides of this question.

Pepijn Koster has some interesting comments on this subject over at MyFavoritePlaces, after noting softball coverage of violent protests in Europe over fishing policies. Guess who gets relatively favorable coverage despite violent protests, then go check it out.

Also, please answer the latest blogfish poll (top right):

Who gets more favorable news coverage, fishermen or ocean conservation NGOs?

-ocean conservation NGOs
-coverage is fair
-who reads the news?


Will Bloom said...

I voted for fair, but I post an important caveat - at least as far as US media is concerned. I find that fishery management issues are more likely to appear in sport fishing columns than in the news section of any given paper. And, no surprise here, the slant is decidedly anti-fishery management (all too often interpreted as pro-fishermen). When fishery management does make into the news section of papers I find it is pretty fair and balanced. The problem is that sport fishermen are disproportionately being fed misinformation about the fishery management process. Unfortunately, I think this only serves to make fishemen feel disenfranchised, and keeps many from becoming an active participant in the process. Just my two cents.

Tim Adams said...

You should probably have narrowed the poll question down to "Whose violent protests get the more favorable news coverage, fishermen or ocean conservation NGOs?".

It's too broad at the moment. For example, I could say "NGOs" based on the fact that ocean conservation NGOs suggestions for the most "sustainable fish" to eat in restaurants tend to get more favourable coverage than reports of French fishermen burning tyres in the street. Or I could say "fishermen" based on the coverage that British fishermen get in the UK complaining about Spanish fishing in UK waters, compared to the coverage that Sea Shepherd gets for sinking whaling ships.

Mark Powell said...

How about "who gets more favorable coverage for similar actions?" Like Tim suggested, do violent protests by fishermen or NGOs get more favorable coverage, or do positve conservation moves by either sector get more favorable coverage.

I think Pepijn is right...if environmental NGOs did what fishermen did in Brussels (violent protests pictured above), the environmental NGOs would be condemned much more strongly.

Anonymous said...

Fishermen generally get more favorable treatment in local coverage. However national coverage favors NGOs in the sense that NGO sponsored research on the demise of fish stocks (eg Worm & Meyer or Pauly etc)gets national headlines and then is repeated over and over. Studies which cast doubt on the findings do not get equall coverage.
Red Shiner

Anonymous said...

Another interesting variation for the poll or discussion would be separating out recreational fishermen and commercial fishermen. Given that separation, I think recreational fishermen get the most favorable news coverage, then the NGOs, then commercial fishermen get the least favorable coverage.

David J. Hirsh said...

I don't care for the question on coverage enough to vote, but I think Will has it totally correct.

The thing I find surprising is the take of supposedly educated progressives making comments on left-leaning (but not necessarily "environmental") blogs when a fishery question gets raised. I read a post by the usually excellent David Niewart (Orcinis blog) on FireDogLake last week, weakly arguing that high salmon prices this season are directly attributable to the Kalamath River fish kill of a few years ago (about 50,000 adult fish killed when river flows diverted for agricultural use as the result of an administration-level political decision).

He wanted to post a larger condemnation of the Bush-Cheney regime, and of Oregon Senator Gordon Smith (both of which are are appropriate on fish issues), but come on! In a good year, the Klamath contributes at best about 5% of the West Coast fishery. Didn't stop the liberal version of "ditto" comments following his post, many of which included ignorant condemnation of fisherman as a cause of salmon scarcity.