The nation’s king-crab fishing fleet, prepared to deploy off the coast of southwest Alaska for the start of a season that supplies holiday tables and restaurants around the world, was instead stalled in port on Tuesday by the federal government shutdown.
Crews and captains that in ordinary times would have been dropping their crab pots at precisely noon in Bristol Bay, 4,000 miles from the nation’s capital, were cooling their heels in places like Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands, waiting, watching the news and hoping for a break.
The federal workers needed to process the permits for each boat’s catch quota were on furlough. ...
Representative Don Young, a 21-term Republican from Alaska, has been among a group of legislators trying to free up personnel to get the paperwork processed. Last week, Mr. Young, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Representative Doc Hastings of Washington, also Republicans, sent a letter to the secretary of commerce, Penny Pritzker, saying that since crab industry fees pay for federal management of the fishery, federal managers should properly be on job, not on furlough.
Mr. Young said in a telephone interview that he had tried to follow up, but that Commerce Department phones were mostly going unanswered in the shutdown.
The other day I suggested that there is a role for government in avoiding tragedy of the commons and I still think that. I haven't seen any angry free market environmentalist economist in the news claiming that we should just open the oceans, tragedy-style, but I might bet it has happened. Any links? I'd like to give it a read.