Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
Fisheries management in New England is broken, and here is just one small example of one of its glaring faults.
The F/V Unicorn went fishing on a 24-hour trip out of Menemsha on Friday, Dec. 5. Gregory Mayhew and his son Todd set their net out just 12 miles outside of the harbor in the area south of Nomans Land. They towed and they had a good deal of success, bringing in fluke, yellowtail flounder, winter flounder, scup, cod, dogfish, and skate. All of these species are good, marketable fish with ready buyers waiting for the Unicorn to unload in New Bedford.
But here is the rub. The Unicorn is allowed to fish, but it is not allowed to possess any fluke or dogfish. The fisheries management plan requires that any fluke or dogfish caught this December by this boat must be discarded, thrown overboard and left floating on the top of the sea for sea gulls to consume. And the quota for scup has been reached, so this species must also be thrown over the side.
As for yellowtail flounder, Greg and Todd are only allowed to keep 250 pounds per day. So when they have a good tow and they are fishing well and catch 600 pounds in one hour, they have to bring in the net and cull through the fish and throw 350 pounds of dying yellowtail flounder over the side. And this is all in a managed fishery where the Unicorn is playing by the federal rules. Is this a good plan?
The Unicorn did have a successful day of fishing. They came in with over 3,000 pounds of fish to sell - skate wings, winter flounder, some cod, and their allotted quota of yellowtail flounder. But during their one day of fishing they discarded as much as 4,500 pounds of decent fish, some of this very high quality jumbo fluke that is prized in the market place. Hopefully, some of this discarded fish lived when it was returned to the sea, but probably not a great percentage.
This problem in fisheries management is called "regulatory discard." The regulations require that the fish be discarded and not landed. It is destructive of the resource, and it is stupid. We are trying to help our stocks of dogfish, yellowtail flounder, and fluke recover, and then we are enforcing regulations that allow harvesting of the fish but demand that the fish be thrown overboard and not saved for our dinner tables. Does this make sense? Is anyone from the New England Fisheries Management Council paying attention?
"Regulatory Discard" and "Bycatch" are huge problems in our fisheries management system. If we are going to let boats fish, then we need to let them land and sell what they catch. We need to control overfishing, but not by demanding regulatory discards.
Warren Doty is a Chilmark selectman and former fish dealer
They did it better, without whining
To the Editor:
Just remembering growing up as one of the Vineyard Haven wharf rats during the 1960s, I always watched in awe as Capt. Pat Prudencio would steam into the harbor during a southeast gale aboard the single-screw steamer Nobska or the twin-screw steamer Nantucket (renamed Naushon), put out a spring line, and spin around into the slip without a thought. The Shenendoah was still in the same location and usually two to four 70-foot draggers tied on the south side of the wharf (SSA pier). No bow thrusters or direct controls. Only engine telegraph. Just a thought from the past.
Wayne V. Iacono
To the Editor:
A few weeks ago I suffered a severe fall, which resulted in a broken hip. A few days in Tufts Hospital and I was sent to our own hospital for rehabilitation.
What a remarkable place.
Each room is bright and cheery. All meals are ordered by the individual and are selected from a broad offering of choices. The servings are hearty.
The staff is unbelievable. Each person is dedicated, supportive, patient, kind, encouraging, and personally attentive.
We are so blessed to have such a high quality rehab unit right here on the Vineyard.
No on the Chappy bike path
To the Editor:
I strongly oppose the proposed Chappy bike path, now called the Mixed-use Path, as well as a proposed second environmental study. Furthermore, the use of CPA funds for the path and any related expenses is, in my opinion, illegal.
The history of the bike path discussion is a long but sporadic one, going back nearly 30 years, to the late 1970s. Town hearings at that time, moderated by Jeff Norton, also excited much interest. I attended those hearings then, as did many longstanding Chappy residents, opposing the bike path. The reasons for opposition then are even more cogent now. Before briefly reviewing the basis for opposition, however, let me cite several concerns with this current discussion in 2008.
The Chappaquiddick community has been polled on this matter in a haphazard and questionable manner, but putting that aside, why are we all considering this important matter during the Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday off-season of 2008, when the last time the matter was seriously raised was 30 years ago? We have been told that there is a rush due to the timetable of the CPC and selectmen's scheduled meetings. Again, why this cycle of meetings? The CPC and selectmen will be there next year as well, after the entire Chappaquiddick Island Association membership could have the opportunity to consider the matter sensibly and appropriately. In addition, only now is there direct outreach to the most affected: property owners whose property would be violated by such a bike path. These Chappy residents were the most strongly opposed to the path the last time. I suspect that would be the same now.
Keep in mind that this Mixed-use Bike Path, if 8-12 feet or wider, will require a wider platform for construction, so that the minimum destruction will be considerable. The proposed straight (except for dangerous excursions onto the paved road) Bike path, to Menaca Hill or East Beach, will also be a path of destruction of trees, vegetation, and beauty that cannot be replaced. In a recent email, there was some indication that there will be a two-foot buffer between the road for cars and the road for bikes. That, frankly, will look awful. It is absolutely certain if this path goes forward, this narrow, ugly strip between the two roads will need to be outfitted with a steel knee guard separating the two, furthering the ruin. The CPA regulation expressly forbids damage to vegetation, trees and fauna. The intent of the CPA legislation is Conservation, conservation of open space, conservation of communities.
A major reason the town decided not to proceed 30 years ago was safety. Another concern of the town was the matter of taking. I will leave this latter matter and related legal issues to others to pursue in whatever way they choose. I do believe, however, the CPA regulations preclude expenditures for the purpose of an environmental study of this nature as well as the path. Other towns have been successfully sued for similar misuse. Open space, preservation and community housing are the major three areas intended by this legislation. After that, "land for recreation," not recreational or other projects on private land and land not purchased with CPA Funds. To waste $27,000-plus for an unnecessary, superfluous second environmental study, with the current economic conditions, in my opinion, would be negligent of the CPC, as well as the selectmen who oversee this committee, and possibly illegal. Fundamentally, what is lacking in the existent environmental study? Couldn't that money be better spent to support community housing so desperately needed in Edgartown?
Here is a summary of major reasons for objection to a Chappy Bike Path:
1. Destruction of open space, which the CPA/CPC is dedicated to preserve;
2. Creation of hazard and increased risk for both cyclists and motorists, as others have documented;
3. Destruction of private property;
4. Ruin of the roadside beauty still remaining by an ugly bike path/road; (Roadside preservation, by the way, was the main reason two large tracts at Five Corners were preserved by the Land Bank many years ago.)
5. CPA funds, if used, will be challenged legally by taxpayers.
In conclusion, once again there is absolutely no reason for a rush to action here. The process must be totally transparent, inclusive, and non-pressured. I urge the Edgartown voters to soundly reject this bike path, if and when it comes to a town vote.
As many have commented, we all love Chappy. That may be true. However, we each love Chappy for very different reasons. I am reminded of an editorial Russell Baker wrote for the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror in the early 1980s. He observed that so many had come to Nantucket because they all loved that other island just as it was, but then proceeded systematically to change and destroy the place with "improvements," overbuilding, etc. Yes, we all love Chappy. We came here or stayed here because Chappy is something special. Let's not destroy Chappy further; let's leave her alone. She's just fine the way she is.
Hunt where it's allowed
To the Editor:
For several years in a row, I have seen hunters in Spring Point. Spring Point Association is accessed via Putnam Road off of North Road in Chilmark. Over the years, I have heard shots from my next door neighbor's back yard. I've seen bow hunters trailing a deer through my own front yard. I've come across trucks full of confrontational hunters saying that they have permission to hunt on "so-and-so's land" here in Spring Point. And just the other day, I saw a camouflage man dressed to hide, no orange vest, running across a road in Spring Point. The problem with all of this is that there is no hunting in Spring Point. No one here would give any of you permission to hunt in Spring Point, as it is against our association rules.
Now, I am all for controlled hunts. I come from a family of hunters. And I know we have a deer problem here on Martha's Vineyard. And I know that you are able to hunt in safe places where it is controlled, allowed, and expected. However, I am a mother in a family that includes three kids and a dog, and Spring Point is not a protected, safe area for hunting. We have children that walk to and from bus stops. We have adults and children that walk pets along the roads and along our woodland trails at various times throughout the day and into the evening.
Now, I am aware of a family that owns land which abuts Spring Point and allows for hunting on their property. I encourage those approved hunters to know where this specific neighboring land ends and where Spring Point begins. And I encourage you to spread the word because now, we are starting to issue no trespassing orders. Because we, as I am sure you, want to keep our children, our families, and our pets safe in areas of no hunting.
Keep yourself and others safe by hunting only on approved land.
To the Editor:
About a year ago, Times reporter Janet Hefler and your paper sent me a close-up photo of the monument your community placed in honor of all who served in the Vietnam War and remembered those who died. Well, patterned after what you all did in Martha's Vineyard, we did the same, only it ended up being a bit larger. Same concept, almost the same wording.
So I wanted to write you again and say thank you for that first close-up of your monument that appeared in your paper. It led to ours. Please pass this along to your Veterans Services Officer for Martha's Vineyard
I just wanted to let you folks know your paper's story (May 31, 2007, Tisbury memorial honors Island Vietnam veterans) and the photo that was sent over to me in Ohio turned out to be the beginning of something good in our city of 18,000 people. Hats off to all of you for being so kind as to respond to a request from an Internet reader.
Get a late bite
To the Editor:
Did you know it is illegal to buy a cup of coffee or a sandwich in Oak Bluffs after 12:30 am? Even bars cannot serve coffee or food after 12:30 am.
A yes vote on Article Two, at the Oak Bluffs town meeting on Thursday evening at the Oak Bluffs School, will allow non-alcoholic beverage serving restaurants to stay open until 1:30 am (the same time as the bars) to sell take-out food only. This would apply from the Friday before Memorial Day until Columbus Day.
This would help stimulate business and create more jobs in Oak Bluffs.
Smoke 'N More Bones