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Sea Story Shenanigans
I disagree with Andrew Gantt II concerning the top speed of
the SS United States (Oct. 2010, Readers’ Forum). According to
Wikipedia, “The maximum speed of United States was deliberately
exaggerated, and kept obscure for many years. An impossible value
of 43 knots ( 49 mph) was leaked to reporters by engineers after the
first speed trial. The actual top speed, 38. 3 knots ( 44. 1 mph), was
not revealed until 1977. A Philadelphia Inquirer article reported the
top speed achieved as 36 knots ( 41 mph), while another source
reports that the highest possible sustained top speed was 35 knots
( 40 mph; 65 km/h). Nevertheless, the United States is a majestic
vessel, I’m glad to see it preserved. Thanks for your service, Mr.
Gantt! — Captain C. Vinroot, USN (Ret)
I would like to thank BoatU.S. for spotlighting marine fisher-
ies management in the last two issues (“The Search For Balance
In Managing Fish,” Aug. and “A New Direction For Fisheries
Management,” Oct.) Fisheries management today is a complex
regulatory process that can leave even the most seasoned fisheries
experts bewildered. Take the word “overfishing” as a perfect exam-
ple; it’s what legal professionals would refer to as a ”term of art.”
Statutorily speaking, overfishing occurs: “When a fish stock is
being fished at a fishing mortality rate that exceeds the overfishing
threshold set by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).”
The threshold defined as a species’ “maximum sustainable yield”
is a static number NMFS assigns for each rebuilding fishery, and
it’s what many field experts and scientists claim poorly reflects the
randomness of the natural world. Since MSA requires a target and a
deadline, this subjective number must be reached, and any mortal-
ity above the rate required to get there is considered overfishing.
That is why even stocks undergoing significant, positive growth
year after year are still considered overfished. Simply put, to end
most instances of “overfishing,” all you have to do is extend the
time frame allowed to reach the goal. In a simple analogy, if it takes
four hours to drive from my home in New York to the BoatU.S.
office in Virginia, yet I tell you I can drive it in just three hours,
you’d think I was pretty reckless. If the goal is to reach the destina-
tion, why not give ourselves plenty of time to get there, safely?
There are no time frames in nature, and we should not be
forced to rebuild stocks in rigid, binding time frames. America’s
fishermen have been painted into a corner by a single, creative
term of art — overfishing! That’s not science, that’s plain reckless.
— Jim Hutchinson
Managing Director, Recreational Fishing Alliance
New Gretna, NJ
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family and friends safely enjoying great times on the water?
E-mail the high-resolution digital version to us (min. 300 dpi)
with your name and address, and tell us who (preferably with
life jacket donned) or what’s in the photo. We may select your
photos to appear in this column, such as on page 6. Send to
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