A recent commentary, "Let small, independent watermen determine crab harvests," (December 2008) has as its philosophical underpinning, two fallacies that are embedded in the U.S. environmental movement: One, that the bourgeoisie and bureaucrats are responsible for our environmental problems and two, that people who work in nature naturally respect and husband the environment for their own self-interests.

Although corporations have certainly done their share of environmental destruction from Love Canal to Bhopal, the major environmental alterations of the United States-cutting down the Eastern forest, plowing up the Great Plains, dewatering the West, and destroying the oysters that filtered the Chesapeake-have been the result of honest, hard-working Americans trying to survive.

We need to regulate the crabber who is on the water trying to make a living at 4 a.m. just as much as DuPont Chemical.

As far as self-policing, Bob Rose fails to consider the attitude of almost all watermen-that God's massive hand controls the Bay ecology and the small efforts of man have no effect. This attitude is well-described in "Beautiful Swimmers," or revealed in a few minutes of conversation with any commercial Bay waterman.

The rockfish moratorium shows that the Bay can recover. Instead of letting watermen determine crab harvests, let's ban all crabbing until the populations have really recovered.

John Walsh
Arlington, VA