An insightful commentary by fishing Captain Jerry Leeman and a passionate video that accompanied it has drawn much reaction and criticism, especially on The Light’s Facebook feed.

Leeman described the hardships of commercial fishing due to government regulations, laying it out in simple terms: “I’m not a fortune teller; I’m just a fisherman. I have no vested interest, other than it’s a job. My job employs thousands, and that keeps those lives turning. When the last fish is landed, it’s all over.”

The majority of readers disagree that regulations are the problem.

“My skipper friend whose family had fished for generations said, simply, that oversight is necessary because the fishermen wouldn’t self-limit their take and were taking everything that they hauled, and their greed was their own worst enemy. Sigh,” wrote reader Stephen Mello.

Read on for more reaction:

I fished back in the ’80s when they had no limit and we wiped out the cod fish stock in a couple of years. … Big problem was the skippers competing for the biggest catch every trip.

— Michael Medeiros, reacting on Facebook

Years ago, when I went to Newfoundland regularly, I saw the inshore fishery get destroyed by bureaucrats in Ottawa, 350 miles away who refused to limit the amounts of Capelin taken by factory ships from Russia and Japan. That fish supported the entire marine ecosystem. Everything living fed on it; whales, sea birds and fish. Within a decade, the inshore fishery, a vibrant way of life for generations of gill net fishermen, totally collapsed. Government works best when it’s involved and cooperative. On that, I agree with (Jerry Leeman).

— Stacy Greenspan, reacting on The Light’s website

There should be NO rules on fishing. There is plenty. You want it, go get it. It’s ridiculous having regulations on the few things we are entitled to.

— Teri McCormack, Facebook

Stop all commercial fishing for one year. We can pay farmers not to farm. Pay fishermen not to fish. The ocean will regenerate.

— Michelle Jones, Facebook

The comments made in this article lack any proof except I said so. You have no vested interest except that it’s your job. Which is exactly what vested interest means. Government agencies do not need to step foot in the water because they have DATA.

I took one class in Coastal Resource Economics in 2009 and worked doing statistical analysis on the fishing industry that same year. I got an A on my final paper.

First off, you start off saying you need to pay $1.50 for a quota but that’s only if you buy it from another boat. If memory serves … Which means you couldn’t afford to buy a permit.

You’re mad about being able to compete in a market you would otherwise have no access to. That’s like saying I can’t afford to buy the mall but I’m mad rent is going up.

Fishing quotas are necessary. If you don’t believe there has been a severe decline of the fish stock, then you don’t believe facts. I don’t care how many fish you see. We need to keep some of them in there to make babies.

I agree there is a problem with the permit process. Maybe too few companies have too much power creating an unfair market. But that’s an issue for whoever is in charge of monopolies …

I definitely don’t want to see local people lose their way of life. I definitely don’t want to see fish stocks resume their decline. But the market cannot function without government intervention. Everyone would fish 24/7 and there would be no more fish. Which is what you are calling for …

Rather than trying to scrape pennies in an industry which you yourself is saying is impossible to feed your family in, maybe your time would be better spent doing something that is more profitable. This is how markets operate …

Evolution is about survival of the fittest. It isn’t about creating a safety net for those that are weak. Please don’t kill the messenger, but I would think about selling your boat and finding a new way to make a living …

You either change with the times or die with them. I wish you and your family the best.

— Scott Furtado, Facebook

Haddock are tossed into a crate. Credit: Tony Luong, special to ProPublica

Love seafood. Could eat it daily. But I recall a skipper friend of mine, back in the 1980s when our government began regulating the industry to address overfishing and manage depleting fish stocks … My skipper friend whose family had fished for generations said, simply, that oversight is necessary because the fishermen wouldn’t self-limit their take and were taking everything that they hauled, and their greed was their own worst enemy. Sigh.

— Stephen Mello

They can’t pave a road. How does anyone think they can regulate nature?

— Jon Kourtesis, Facebook

If we let them fish unregulated, they would wipe out the entire ocean in a year. I know plenty of scallopers and fishermen who make more (money) in two trips than most people make in a year. Stop crying poverty.

— Jamie Zussy, Facebook

So, you’ve never heard of overfishing? Striped bass, cod, and I’m sure many others. Right now, the commercial striped bass fishery takes all the big female “cows” that we need to replenish the fishery. Recreational striper fisherman cannot take any fish 35 inches or over because they are breeders, but yet these are the only fish that the commercial fisherman can take. Make it make sense, please.

— William R Dowd, Facebook

When I hear people make claim there should be no rules and just let them fish, what I actually hear is, “I have no idea about the actual facts, and I don’t care, and to hell with reality. I want what I want despite it.”

— Padraic O’Driscoll, Facebook

I guess that’s why all the whales are showing up. Because there are no fish.

— Belle Starr, Facebook

The commercial fishing industry is like the coal industry. It needs to die if we want our oceans to live and the human species to survive. Stop eating fish!

— Dana Blunt, Facebook

Democrats ruin everything.

— Marc Lewis, Facebook

What good is killing the golden goose? The fish stocks are getting depleted. Unless they plan on starting fisheries to replenish what they take, what else can you do but limit catch size?

— Johnny Cada-veed, Facebook

Loosen the noose on fisherman!!!!

— Jesse Jess, Facebook

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