The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is often painted by fishermen as a rabidly pro-conservation agency hell-bent on putting them out of a job by protecting every species they used to fish. However, leaked internal memos show that the agency is taking a turn back towards its Department of Commerce roots, and is assessing marine species for their economic value. For those species found to be more economically damaging than beneficial, a plan to reduce their population to an “economically-neutral” level will be developed and implemented. Essentially this “Problem Species List” (PSL) is a warped parallel to the current Endangered Species List: species on the PSL will be exempt from any state or federal protections and population-reducing measures such as overharvesting, bounties, and culls will be strongly encouraged (or possibly even required). The first round of species to be assessed for inclusion on the PSL seem to mainly be considered for their interference with fisheries and shipping, and include the spiny dogfish, blue shark, cownose ray, harbor seal, bottlenose dolphin, and North Atlantic right whale. The full manuscript of the memo can be read under the jump:
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