Fishing and Guitars Targeted

What does the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife have against Tennessee?

First the agents raid the Gibson Guitar factories in Nashville and Memphis, confiscating wood used in making guitars. Then they prohibit Tennessee's commercial fishermen from exporting fish eggs to Europe because they disapprove of the state's regulation of fishing in Kentucky Lake. (Yes, they call it Kentucky Lake, though most of it is in West Tennessee.)

All Things Considered and the Wall Street Journal have reported on the raids on Gibson Guitars and the company's response. The ebony used in the guitars is imported from India and is supposed to be "finished" in India per a trade agreement. But the wood seized in the raid was not finished, and was thus "mislabeled." Gibson Guitar supporters say it is important for the company to be able to finish the wood once the guitar is assembled, and India has no problem with the importation. The company has been the target of raids in the past because of the fear they are importing rare woods of endangered species.

Tennessee's fishermen have been trying to export catfish eggs to the European market for domestic caviar but can't get a permit until the feds are satisfied that Tennessee is complying with federal standards for fishing in Kentucky Lake—so the entire state is prohibited from exporting fish products.