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Re: Who owns the trout?

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2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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Pcray, based on that line of thinking, you would have to say that the government owns us. Don't they regulate and manage us?


Our government uses the term ownership for everything that is non-human. In the case of wildlife, RLeeP's point is taken. The legal way to look at it, though, is that the collective people do indeed own the wildlife. We make the calls. What we have done is appoint our Commonwealth the task of stewardship.

Ownership, in our system, is who has the right to make the calls on what happens to something. If I own property, you can't build on it without my permission. If I own timber rights, you can't cut the trees without my permission. If I own mineral rights, you can't mine without negotiating with me first.

We have a European system, and in this system, EVERYTHING has an owner. There is no non-human thing that doesn't. Land, buildings, soil, trees, minerals, water, wildlife, even the air itself. There are even ownership disputes and the courts must decide who has rightful ownership.

And yes, this system/philosophy is different from that of the, say, native Americans. And their philosophy has penetrated our culture in recent times. And I'm not saying I don't also ascribe to it at times. I'm not debating the way it should be here. Merely stating the way our system is officially and legally set up.

The owner has full power to do what he wants with his property. If I own a stand of timber, nobody except me can remove it and sell it. If it is cut, I have the rights to the spoils. And sure, I can enter contracts for others to do the work, and may even pay them for their labor. But it's still me that has the original power.

Now, there may be regulations that effect HOW any owner can behave. And the purpose of this is to prevent the owner of one thing to unduly affect the owner of something else. If I decide to mine my property, so long as I can do it without polluting someone else's property (which includes water and air), I can do it to my heart's content. But you can prevent me from doing it, or at least put limits on my allowed pollution, if my actions stand to pollute your property. And the same goes if my actions will pollute public property, which includes water and air.

With wildlife in PA, the owner is the public at large. It's official, and written in law, we DO own them. We empower our Commonwealth with the task of stewardship of this shared property. And stewardship of shared property, really, was the original purpose for having a government at all.

Posted on: 2013/3/4 11:13


Re: Who owns the trout?

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2012/8/31 14:29
From State College
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This could also come down to a Hobbs vs. Locke kind of argument. Do we need an authoritative state controlling our natural instinct to destroy wild trout and their habitats in the name of selfishness and self preservation? or do we need to overthrow an authoritative state that is not serving the interest of the people and the wild trout streams we love?...... this is a fun thread.

Posted on: 2013/3/4 11:17


Re: Who owns the trout?

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The state's track record...the state partnered with the loggers to turn trees into money. When they had finished creating the "Pennsylvania desert" they bought the land back from the loggers with money extorted from the people, er...I mean taxes collected from the residents. Who benefited? The LOGGERS! You and I didn't benefit until the fires went out and the trees grew back, which would have happened no matter who "owned" the land. And by the way, did the state remember to secure the mineral rights when they bought the land "for us"?


Highly revisionist, I think. Timber companies bought the land. Not from the state, but from private entities. Those entities may have been granted the land from the state as it was an unoccupied frontier when they got it (well, cept for those pesky Indians, but they had no deed, you know).

They then timbered it. I agree in a very harmful and stupid way. But it was their land. After completion, the timber companies now held massive amounts of land, with no trees. Worthless cept for the mineral rights. The government saw an opportunity to buy large portions of land cheap, and jumped on it. But the timber companies sold on only one condition, they retain the mineral rights. Or else they were asking way more than the government could afford.

The government could either buy it without mineral rights, or they couldn't buy it at all. That was the choice. They didn't "agree" to give up the mineral rights, nor was there any "forgetting" involved.

Posted on: 2013/3/4 11:25


Re: Who owns the trout?

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2009/4/24 16:40
From South Jersey
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Quote:

dave1918 wrote:
This could also come down to a Hobbs vs. Locke kind of argument. Do we need an authoritative state controlling our natural instinct to destroy wild trout and their habitats in the name of selfishness and self preservation? or do we need to overthrow an authoritative state that is not serving the interest of the people and the wild trout streams we love?...... this is a fun thread.


My trout tend to be Hobbsian, "Ugly, brutish and short!!!"

Posted on: 2013/3/4 11:36
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Re: Who owns the trout?

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The thread is getting long, but still no one has offered an alternative plan to the current system, along with reasons why we should believe your plan would work better.

If you have an actual proposal, post it up.

Posted on: 2013/3/4 12:15

Edited by troutbert on 2013/3/4 12:58:30


Re: Who owns the trout?

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2008/2/24 8:45
From York
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Pcray:

Revisionist? Perhaps. I don't know the official history. I only know the propaganda: "the state saved our wilderness from future exploitation." "Never again!" they cry. If the state was created as our agent to protect trout, they failed miserably and should have been fired long ago. Too little too late from our supposed guardian of nature. My point stands that the state exists to extract dollars from nature via it's corporate children. They are the fox guarding the henhouse. We are their fools.

As to the rationality of common property...it's incomprehensible. No two people ever owned anything. As I see it, it's a logical impossibility, the governments of the new world notwithstanding. Property is exclusive by definition.

What we're really dealing with here is the use of force. We, the fly fishers of Pennsylvania hope to use the state to force others to conserve wild trout. Not one of us would initiate force against another fisherman personally because our consciences wouldn't allow us. But we rationalize an official uniformed police force to do it for us. It's immoral either way.

Posted on: 2013/3/4 21:11


Re: Who owns the trout?

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2008/2/24 8:45
From York
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Troutbert,

You ask the most pertinent question. I would phrase it this way. How can we allow personal liberty and conserve wild trout?

I answer with my own question: How can we justify the use of force against a fisherman for possessing an arbitrarily labeled "illegal trout" or "illegal method"? If we didn't have the PFBC would you personally use force? If not, why is it okay for an "official"?

Is the threat of violence our only solution?


Posted on: 2013/3/4 21:32


Re: Who owns the trout?

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2011/7/27 17:57
From East Branch of the Brandywine Watershed
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Trout are part of “the commons.” Humans have both preserved and destroyed the commons throughout history based on our social relation to nature.

Some have argued that the commons should be privatized because companies will not overuse resources. The logic follows that they will preserve resources to protect future profits. I’m not anti-business, however, some businesses obviously don’t care what natural barrier stands in their way in their pursuit of profit (and I’m sure that even the most stringent classical economist in fly-fishing wouldn’t want all waters to cost money, that wouldn’t be cool). Also, history shows that privatization isn’t necessary to protect the commons.

I think what the original author of this thread is suggesting (or perhaps “thinking about”) would only make sense in a society where we depended on the trout for survival. We would, as local communities, attempt to set up boundaries for we wouldn’t over-consume the trout. We would only be able to take trout to the degree that they could reproduce annually the amount we originally took... However, we don’t survive on trout. We (and I’m talking about the aggregate of people, not us specifically) don’t have an incentive to protect them if we don’t rely on them. This is why species extinctions are accelerating. We, in advanced capitalist societies, receive virtually all of our food from grocery stores, rather than the commons. We don’t rely on other species. We have no reason to protect the trout. We have two options here: We can overthrow the capitalist economy and capital-oriented state and return to an “ideal” time. Or we can give consent to the state to regulate human behavior for we can all enjoy the commons. Personally, I desire the latter.

This option would be to use a legal institution to protect the commons, as we do with trout (sometimes). A classical social contract theorist - I can’t remember which one - posited that we give our consent to the government when we use the utilities that it provides. So, we are giving our consent to the state to regulate fishing when we use and enjoy public lands and waters that it provides to the public (because otherwise they would be private). I think that the state, as some have pointed out, does fall short of our expectations in protecting the commons, especially the trout. It’s a bureaucracy. We shouldn’t expect it to be utopia-like. I don’t think these severe problems are an inherent sociological feature of the state. Rather, it’s based on priorities and influences stemming from various positions within government. Obviously, there are corporate interests involved. Those are just some thoughts I had after reading this thread. I’m enjoying your comments.

Posted on: 2013/3/5 0:28


Re: Who owns the trout?

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2013/3/5 7:01
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"I think it's no one, and if the state didn't regulate the possession of said trout there wouldn't be any."

What do you base that on? There are in fact a number of places around the world where the state does not regular the possession of fish and yet they continue to exist.

Conversely, a number of species have all but disappeared from the wild while under state regulation and/or protection.

Posted on: 2013/3/5 7:11


Re: Who owns the trout?

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2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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If the state was created as our agent to protect trout, they failed miserably and should have been fired long ago. Too little too late from our supposed guardian of nature.


Spotted, you fundamentally misunderstand the term "manage". Their mission is not to protect the trout. That was never a stated goal. Nor are they to be the guardians of nature. That's not what management is all about. If it were, why not just outlaw fishing and hunting, and post all public lands?

When you "manage" a resource, the goal is managing often competing human goals. It's about maximum benefit for man, not for trout or nature. Maximum benefit for man, though, implies over the long term, because you don't get that by running your fisheries into the ground. But nor do you protect them to the degree that nobody can gain any benefit from them. Sustainability is the key.

Quote:
As to the rationality of common property...it's incomprehensible. No two people ever owned anything.


Umm, my wife and I both have our names on our car title, and our mortgage. Going more to the collective, who "owns" our public lands, including national and state forests, SGL's, fish commission properties, state parks, national parks, etc? Our highways and bridges? Is it not common property? You and I and everyone else have equal ownership.

Quote:
think what the original author of this thread is suggesting (or perhaps “thinking about”) would only make sense in a society where we depended on the trout for survival..... However, we don’t survive on trout.


That's true today. However, the answer to this question is based in law. And those laws were made at a time when much of the state was a frontier, and many did indeed depend on trout for survival.

Posted on: 2013/3/5 8:01


Re: Who owns the trout?

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Still, no proposal for us to consider.

If you can't suggest a proposal for a better system, that's an admission that the current system remains as the best choice.

Posted on: 2013/3/5 8:27


Re: Who owns the trout?

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2008/1/31 17:19
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I didn't realize this thread was fishing for a proposal for change? More a philosophical/legal discussion.

Posted on: 2013/3/5 9:22


Re: Who owns the trout?

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2009/9/14 12:48
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I'm with troutbert on this one. Whatever philosophical positions you might offer on the issue, this is really a pragmatic question of how to manage a resource.

As for the notion that everything has an owner, we do have public ownership of land. What is the difference between everybody owning something and nobody owning it? In either case, people have to have a mechanism to make decisions about resource management.

Asserting individual ownership and absolute authority of property rights is problematic for trout populations. One person making the wrong decision can ruin an entire watershed. Does a person have the right to ruin a whole watershed just because they own part of it?

Posted on: 2013/3/5 9:33


Re: Who owns the trout?

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2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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What is the difference between everybody owning something and nobody owning it? In either case, people have to have a mechanism to make decisions about resource management.


It is about authority to make decisions about a resource. If nobody owns it, nobody has that authority, so no decisions could ever be made. So early in the days of the Commonwealth, we asserted that the "people" collectively have ownership, and thus can collectively make decisions via a government agency.

Difference between the Native American philosophy (nobody owns it. We can all do as we choose, no seasons, no bag limits. But the golden rule applies, be kind to your neighbor). And the European philosophy (everything has to have an owner, the owner makes the decisions regarding their property).

I completely sympathize with Native Americans regarding how us Europeans took advantage of them over this philosophical difference. The land is unclaimed, so we just stuck a flag in it and claimed it as our own. When they asked how we can do this being as they were already there, we asked them where their flag was. Do you have a flag? lol. But in today's age, with the population density being what it is, I think the European model is the only one that is feasible.

Either you assign ownership and can have a decision maker with some sort of authority. Or nobody owns it and nobody can make any rules, we just leave it up to individuals to do as they choose, who will hopefully respect the resource. Those are the only two philosophical options that I see.

Quote:
One person making the wrong decision can ruin an entire watershed. Does a person have the right to ruin a whole watershed just because they own part of it?


That's where regulation comes in. You can do whatever you want to your property, so long as it doesn't affect someone else's. If it will affect their property, then they have a say in your actions. Water is public property, so the public has a say.

Posted on: 2013/3/5 9:44

Edited by pcray1231 on 2013/3/5 10:01:39
Edited by pcray1231 on 2013/3/5 10:05:16



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