Koncrete's Deckhands

I hereby postulate that ITQs and the associated move to highly industrialized fisheries, is one of the great social catastrophes of our time. Sure it’s highly efficient, but pretty? You be the judge:

This documentary is assembled from materials collected for a series on fishermen whose jobs fell victim to rationalization, and explores their lives of utter destitution. There’s more if you click around the channel, but that one pretty well sums it up.

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Part way through the video my response would have been completely different than what it was at the end. Thank you but how depressing.

I Grew up in this small little quaint fishing village in the documentary, grouper capital of the world. Hard working crackheads that never really bother anyone. ‘Space’ actually just passed away the other day.

But yeah, the IFQs are a joke beyond belief. It’s really difficult to make it as a commercial fisherman, particularly in the GOM.


Incredible…thank you for posting.

Hard to watch and very sad especially about the fisherwoman’s childhood. Not passing judgment but to be real, blaming everything on “the man” isn’t going to get them out of their predicament. The elephant in the room is their chronic dependence on drugs and alcohol.



I wouldn’t argue that the social issues on display all follow on bad policy. In fact there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary, both in this documentary and my own observations. However, I find it obvious that the issues are vastly exacerbated by the lack of jobs and any discernible future.

It’s not as easy for them as cleaning up their lives and seeking out a temps agency in the nearest boom town; Their whole way of life got wiped out, pretty much overnight. They were all well locked into their little loop of party - sleep - work - repeat, to the point that it was basically hard coded in their brains. When the rug got pulled, they had no fallback, no bright lights to follow, and no clue how to cope.

The problem with transferable quotas is that they delivered the efficiency they promised, in an area where rationalization wasn’t really called for. That is aside from the flagrant issues with distribution of wealth. Is it the root of all evil? No, but I’ve come to believe that it’s bad policy.


Something stupid like 80 percent of the red snapper Quota in the GOM is owned/leased by only a handful of the same owners in Texas.

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So is the Konkrete deckhand situation isolated and caused by the greed of a handful of permit holders or is it endemic to the GOM cod industry?

The problem persists throughout most of the developed world, but the color of the social fallout depends on local factors. In Norway it has taken the form of de-population of coastal villages. In poorer countries I expect it to be even more shocking than in Florida.

There are some honorable exceptions. For example, France has done much to protect traditional fisheries, with favorable mooring rates and even fishing grounds reserved for single operator boats.


I worked on a gillnetter in northern BC when I was young. I recall that the permits were owned by fishermen who ran their own boats. Seems like that’s the way it should be and governments are responsible for ensuring it should stay that way.

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Meh, I don’t think it’s directly related to the greed of the few IFQ holders. These guys have been rough around the edges since day one, but It certainly hasn’t helped. It’s very difficult these days to make it as a commercial fisherman in Florida. For the little bit of quota they have access to, everyone wants their cut.

I’m speaking on behalf of the gulf fisheries as this is where I grew up, I can’t imagine the Atlantic fishery is much better…