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Olsen Resignation Is a Good Thing

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Dear Source:
Martinez' citing "NGOs" is misleading. Those NGOs are made up of local residents who value the resource the sea provides as much as the fishermen do. We just want to make sure that the resource is there for our kids and grandkids, and not wiped out by a very few individuals who would destroy the diversity and beauty of reef life for short-term gain. The gillnet fishermen had a chance, and government grants, to be on the right side of this issue and passed it up in favor of cleaning out the reef fish and trashing the "bycatch" (the fish that are killed but cannot be sold). Turtles have been killed and even tourists have had trouble with the gillnetters, who have only their own greed to thank for the ban and opposition from what they call "NGOs."
Olsen supported the gillnetters even though the law says gill nets and trammel nets are illegal. When government officials will not follow the law of the land, it is best they leave public service because they are no longer serving the public. Olsen's contention that the problem would work itself out in 5 years is disingenuous; 5 years of gillnetting could completely wipe out our reef fish population. If you were a snorkeler in the 70's and 80's, you know the fish numbers have declined severely since the beginning of gillnetting.
We should be working together to ensure that the commercial fishing and diving industries have a bright future, and that this wonderful resource that belongs to all of us is there for future generations.
Michael Baron
St. Croix

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