Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Gulf of Mexico, November 30, 2009:
The fishing communities of New England have appealed to their Governors and elected officials to join together and lead the way to adjust the excessive regulations being forced by the Reauthorized Magnuson Stevens Act (RMSA). We support this effort and encourage fishing communities across the U.S. to join this movement.
The Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic fishing communities are being confronted by rapidly changing regulations that continue to threaten the very existence of our earliest organized industry. It is unbelievable to watch constituents everywhere be denied access to the enjoyment of recreational angling and purchasing healthy locally harvested seafood. Just when our Nation is struggling to create jobs and build healthy economies a reauthorized Act is working overtime to eliminate jobs and destroy coastal economies. Surely Congress never intended a seemingly innocent Act to cause such devastation among their communities.
Padi Anderson of New England stated, “New England is one region, which shares common interests - and common industries. Fishing has tied our communities together with a common thread for hundreds of years. Now is a time for solutions and responsive politics, not division and passivity. We look to the Senators, Representatives, and Governors to work together for the best interests of our communities and 400 years of tradition.” The group urged their representatives, “…to set aside partisanship, and join together in a United Front with ongoing dedicated communications and collaborative efforts to protect, support and represent community based fishermen and our resource, regardless of political affiliations or special interests. Specifically starting with an immediate halt to the implementation of Catch Shares.”
The five Gulf State Governors have made a formal request to Secretary of Commerce Locke urging a reconsideration of “catch shares" and allow states to play a key role in any proposed "catch share" system.
CCGF urges all elected officials to work together and to join the efforts by the leaders of other coastal states for the best interests of our coastal communities and the Nation.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I do not know this fishermen, nor do I know many more like him who feel as most of us do that United We Fish! More and more are sending emails and letters and contacting legislators and elected officials to ask for help. The select few located in the Gulf region who are standing with groups like the Environmental Defense Fund to destroy your way of life are in the very small minority and are helping the enviros stop fishing and our way of life. I now challenge the few who have signed with the EDF Gulf group to join with the majority of fishermen, families, support businesses and communities to work with us and be part of the movement to have congress repair the unintended damage they have done, and amend HR1584 and S1255 to address "overfishing" and pass both bills so we can continue to fish while our marine resources prosper.
More and more legislators are working to help us because we are standing together as a national fishing community. Help us by joining with us. Together we can effect change and all survive. Our movement is growing daily, our momentum is building, and we will succeed in overcoming the enviro impact that seeks to destroy us. The EDF and other enviro goliath giant bullies will fall as the small fishermen come together as David in biblical times. We can win this fight and we will survive.
Hi Bob, I fwd this particular letter because it is written by a fella who happens to be both charter & commercial----he is my husband's younger brother & 8th child in the family. amanda
----- Original Message -----
From: Rob Odlin
Sent: Saturday, November 28, 2009 9:53 PM
Subject: United We Fish
I'm a Scarborough, Maine resident.
My wife and I are expecting our first child. I had planned on supporting them making a living fishing. I work as a commercial fisherman and have for 25 years. I'm the son of a fisherman, my brothers fish, my uncles fished and my cousins fish. For the last ten years I also operate a charter boat.
The National Marine Fisheries Service is planning a new policy of Catch Shares for May 2010.
I'm not sure you are aware of this or not, but thousands fisherman like me will not be able to survive this new form of regulation.
The new system only allows catching a small percentage of fish judged on what your vessel or permit history landed during the ten year period 1996-2006. There are thousands of struggling fisherman along the east coast , gulf coast and in Maine that will lose their boats, homes and livelihoods.
I'm asking you as my elected officials to join ranks with 5 governors,senators and congressmen of coastal states to demand NOAA and NMFS reconsider this Catch Share fiasco. Sign HR 1584 (S-1255) allow room for flexibility to help keep the nations oldest profession from losing a huge amount of its workforce.
We as fisherman contribute in many ways to the economy and provide healthy food to our nation. Many jobs are at stake on fishing boats, shore side infrastructure and support industry. Millions of dollars and thousands of jobs depend on smart and deliberate action by elected officials of this great nation. Please let congress know we need flexibility in the current law, the Magnuson Stevens Act. Demand on my behalf a reprieve from the Catch Share ITQ plan that is being quickly and unnecessarily forced upon us.
Sign or encourage those who can to sign : HR 1584 (S-1255) - [Flexibility in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act of 2009] which will allow flexibility within the time frame for rebuilding fish stocks.
Robert M Odlin
Captain/owner F/V's Maria and Dorothy , Maine Lady III
Friday, November 27, 2009
The gulf council scientific and statistical committee (SSC) and red snapper adisory panel will be meeting in New Orleans on 12-1, 2 and 3 to discuss the recent red snapper updated assessment. This means we will have a good idea on what the status of the stock will be, what the recommended allowable biological catch (ABC) will also be for 2010. Preliminary results indicate that the projected quota for the rebuilding year of 2032 is still only 15 million pounds +- which means even when the fishery is rebuilt in another 22 years we will only be able to harvest 2 to 3 times the pounds of red snapper we do today. Scarey thought.
We are also still working with other groups in the northeast and south atlantic and DC to put together a march on the capitol sometime in Fedruary when members of congress will be most available. There are a lot of logistics to be covered for this.
Also, the signs along the highway idea has been captured by folks in the northeast and they are working to spread the idea down the coast line. Wouldn't it be a great meassage for folks to see signs like "United We Fish" along our coastal highways!
Keep the message growing!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND, BULLYING FISHERMEN AND COMMUNITIES OVER CATCH SHARES
Gulf of Mexico, November 24, 2009:
A radical environmental group is trying to influence fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. All five Gulf Governors sent a letter to Secretary of Commerce Locke objecting to catch shares for the recreational sector and expressing concern over the red snapper commercial IFQ (catch share) that is in place in the Gulf. They did this out of concern for their constituents and small businesses.
The Governors wrote, “We are concerned that in the desire to adopt and implement catch share systems NOAA has forgotten its most fundamental responsibility under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to maximize the net economic value from the use of a public resource. Recreational fishing is an important activity in all of our states, and one that we would like to see continue to grow as a healthy activity for the public. However, we are concerned that NOAA policies could frustrate our ability to do that.
They also asked Secretary Locke to allow them the ability to protect their citizen’s access to public fishery resources and assure proper allocation of the resource in advance of implementing any catch share program. This was in regard to the grouper commercial IFQ program that is in line to be implemented in January of next year.
The Environmental Defense Fund is anti fishing and have become the bullies on the water with their seemingly unlimited budget. They continue to eliminate people from fisheries and by further dividing sectors it allows them to herd out the weakest sub-sector and then eliminate them bit by bit. In the Gulf they have convinced a small minority (less than 7%) of the federally permitted recreational charter boats to support separating from the recreational anglers who fish on their back decks.
Now radical activists of Environmental Defense are bullying people and trying to get them to sign an EDF petition stating that the five Governors made a mistake in writing this letter to the Secretary. The Governor’s stood up on behalf of their constituents and coastal communities in a public forum through proper channels. EDF continues back door under the table tactics that ultimately takes away anglers rights to their resources.
On November 15, 2009 Dr. Damon Cummings had a letter to the editor published in the Gloucester Daily Times that spotlighted flaws in forcing catch shares on fishermen. It follows this text. Read it and pay close attention to what he says. This is just more info on the tactics used by the bullies at the EDF. If you are approached to sign such a petition, read it carefully, do not be BULLIED to sign away your ability to fish!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Parker Real Estate
Fish House Restaurant
Century 21 Gulf Coast Real Estate Mexico Beach
Century 21 Gulf Coast Real Estate Port St. Joe
Port St. Joe Real Estate
Emerald Coast Jewelry
Bluewater Real Estate
Dockside Bar and Grill
G3 Real Estate
Bayside Bank Port St. Joe
Bayside Bank Mexico Beach
El Governor Hotel
Regan's Oyster Bar & Pub
St. Joe Shrimp Company
Myron & Judith Hayden
Tom & Mary Jane Hayden
Joe & Mary Bush
Steve & Nancy Kautzman
Billie Joe & Zellie Shaw
Betty Clark Harder
Your address here
My family and I enjoy our natural resources and saltwater fishing is an important part of that enjoyment. We spend money to participate in fishing which helps to support our community, state, and country. We are very disturbed to hear that congress passed a law which is so restrictive that the National Marine Fisheries Service is required to implement severe reductions in our seasons and bag limits for several of the important fish we fish for. These restrictions are causing serious negative economic and social problems to our communities and people who depend on fishing activities.
Congressman Pallone from
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the reef fish fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic shall not be required to be rebuilt, and over-fishing ended, by a specific date provided that the annual level of fishing does not exceed the net reproduction rate for that fishery such that the fishery is rebuilding each year. If the objective set forth in this section is not met for any of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic reef fish fisheries in one year, the Secretary of Commerce shall adjust the fishing rate in that specific fishery in subsequent years to compensate for any overage.
We encourage you to support the draft legislative language that has been suggested by the Conservation Cooperative of Gulf Fishermen (CCGF) and several other associations that will allow for flexibility in the law which will allow the NMFS to ease up on their restrictions and allow us to fish and our communities to not be so severely impacted, while also working to rebuild and maintain fish stocks.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
We are currently advising local businesses, fishermen, and residents to voice their unity in opposing overly restrictive fishing regulations by placing signs and banners with one of the following slogans. We will be distributing some yard signs but feel free to create one of your own in a show of support for our communities economy and our way of life. Below are some suggestions for language.
United We Fish
Get the fishing data right
Give Amberjack Back
No more MRFSS' data
We Fish for Food
We want our Red Snapper back
Pass HR 1584 & S-1255'
Rebuild the Fishery AND Save the Fishermen
Say NO to Catch Shares
If you would like to order banners, brochures, t-shirts, or bumper stickers to help out contact Tim or Steve from the website below:
Thursday, November 19, 2009
We caught a limit very quickly on a widely known artificial reef in about fifty feet of water. The pole was busted to pieces before the party was over.
By Richard Gaines
November 15, 2009 10:37 pm
Since at least the 1990s, EDF has been pushing globally to have commonly owned ocean fish stocks converted into catch quotas that could be assigned as rights, creating tradeable market products that attract capital investment. New England has become the primary battleground.
In a paper an EDF official described as a grant proposal not meant for public distribution, the New York-based nonprofit environmental giant indicated four years ago that the appointment of "ocean program senior staff" member Sally McGee to the council in 2003 would allow EDF to "work the regulatory process from the inside."
Matched to McGee's strategic activities at the council and grassroots level, the paper suggested, were the continuing activities of David Festa, the oceans program administrator and a former policy director in the Commerce Department in the Clinton administration, at the pinnacle of power in Washington, the EDF document stated.
Festa, now an EDF vice president on the West Coast, would "bring pressure to bear in Washington" in order to create "top down" support for "our initiatives," EDF said in the paper, written in April 2005.
Festa is a longtime close associate of Jane Lubchenco, the catch share-promoting administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who had been the vice chairman of EDF and an academic scientist when President Obama chose her as national steward of oceans and atmosphere.
Festa and Lubchenco co-taught a class at Oregon State University and co-bylined an op-ed piece suggesting President George W. Bush was an environmentalist after he used a disputed executive power to declare a vast marine protected zone in the Pacific. The 2005 grant proposal extols marine protected areas.
Lubchenco's first public policy initiative was to challenge the New England council to approve without delay a long-debated catch share program for the region's groundfishery.
The council complied in June. But at its September meeting, the council implicitly agreed it made mistakes by moving so quickly — it initiated revisions to the design of the bitterly debated transformation of the fishery, now largely stabilized and moving toward the sustainability mandated by the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
Council meeting in R.I.
Finalizing these modifications — further limits to the fishing opportunities for those who have eschewed the catch share program — is a major item on the agenda for the council meeting that begins tomorrow in Newport, R.I.
The three-day meeting comes with EDF and the Obama administration's faith in catch shares under attack not only by fishing interests but also by Congressman Barney Frank, who since the death of U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, has become the lead critic of the regional fishing policies, and even the Pew Environment Group.
Pew held two national teleconferences earlier this month to urge the administration to go slow on catch shares, and Frank recently released a letter to Lubchenco underscoring the potential for social destabilization resulting from catch shares' power to concentrate ownership of fishing capacity via ruthless market forces.
Since Lubchenco took office, a number of positions on councils for other regions' fisheries were filled with EDF and catch share partisans. McGee's initial appointment pre-dates Lubchenco's NOAA leadership, but McGee was reappointed last summer to a third council term.
Meanwhile, Festa — whose EDF salary was more than $300,000 in 2007 — last spring cited the windfall profit potential in the early acquisition of catch shares during an investors' conference at the Milken Institute on the West Coast.
Writing to the Sapling Foundation in 2008 about a 2003 grant, Festa said, "EDF's Oceans Program has turned this investment into what we now call the 'Big Bet' a campaign to convert the majority of US, Canadian and Latin American fisheries to catch shares."
With assets and liabilities of $145.7 million in 2007, the last year for which its IRS filings are available, EDF is one of the nation's largest and most influential ENGOs — for environmental non-government organizations — and has become known for its faith in the idea that market dynamics are the best tools for solving environmental problems.
"Through our tradition of working with market leaders to advance environmental progress," EDF said in its 2007 in-lieu-of-tax filing, "we achieve ambitious results by relying on rigorous science and harnessing economic engines."
EDF's sole rival among ENGOs in resources and influence is the Pew Environment Group, a division of the $5 billion Pew Charitable Trusts. Both 501(c)3s have made themselves permanent parts of the political Washington's political sinew.
EDF and Pew share a commitment to the "cap-and-trade" approach to carbon waste reduction in the continuing debate on climate control during last spring's U.S. House committee hearings and were perceived to be sharing a similar commitment to catch shares — until Pew's teleconferences in early November.
During the first teleconference, a participant, Zeke Grader, a well-known West Coast fishing industry official, cautioned against allowing "free market ideologues" — he made clear he meant EDF — to dictate fisheries policy.
Pew emphasized that it did not necessarily share the views of its panelists — Grader and others who were organized to speak about catch shares.
But Lee Crockett, director of federal fisheries policy for the Pew Environment Group, warned against a top down, one size fits all approach to catch shares. In a telephone interview, Grader said he found EDF's belief in the curative power of catch shares to be similar to a "religious" faith.
In a telephone interview, McGee asserted pride in her work; she is known around the council system to be a diligent and effective advocate. "My record speaks for itself," she said.
Julie Wormser, director of EDF's New England Oceans Program, described the grant proposal as hyperbolic, and speculated it was brought to light by unspecified anti-EDF interests long after it was forgotten by the organization.
Wormser said she was unable to determine the granting body to which the proposal was addressed. But the proposal clearly described catch shares as the goal.
"EDF seeks to put in place a management system that couples strong regulatory action with market forces to create sustainable fisheries," the EDF paper states.
"This is a gotcha," Wormser said, lauding McGee's record on the council.
No 'sleeper cell'
"Of course we are an advocacy group," Wormser said. "She's not a sleeper cell. Clearly, anti-EDF sentiment has been worked up. We are doing nothing that is anything that is not above board."
A grassroots federal agency whose members are appointed by the Secretary of Commerce based on nominations from governors — and nominations often subject to fierce lobbying — the fishery councils, one for each of the eight fishery regions, legislate under the authority of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
According to the EDF Web site, McGee, a Mystic, Conn., resident who did undergraduate work at Smith College and got a master's degree in marine affairs at University of Rhode Island, "builds coalitions with the commercial and recreational fishing industries, federal, state and local natural resource agencies, and other non-governmental organizations in support of sustainable marine fisheries that align conservation with the business of fishing."
She has been a staffer on the House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans, and holds a Coast Guard merchant mariner's license to operate vessels of up to 100 tons.
The New England Council, based in Newburyport, has been working for more than two years to transition the groundfishery out of the effort control system to a system based on the harvesting cooperatives assigned a proportion of the allowable catch.
By the time Lubchenco, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate last April to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for President Obama, the groundwork for catch shares had been well laid, and the result was all but a fait accompli.
Lubchenco is also expected soon to release a draft policy paper on catch shares. She previously helped write a transition paper on catch shares for EDF in which the scientists held catch shares essential to end a level of overfishing so severe that it could, by 2048, leave the oceans the province of "jellyfish." The paper has been widely disputed by other scientists.
Richard Gaines can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3464, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now read the reaction to the article:
"However, readers of the Gloucester Daily Times likely don’t know this. Because instead of providing balanced, objective information about the pros and cons of the current days-at-sea system versus other systems, reporter Richard Gaines has focused his coverage almost entirely upon criticisms of this management tool and given voice almost exclusively to those opposed to it. Coverage of those speaking in favor of the program and its potential benefits has been heavily loaded with biased language that questions the validity of the science, the organizations and the credentials of the experts delivering this point of view.
Sadly, the ones who lose most here are his readers—especially those who have a stake in the health of the fishing industry. We hope those who are interested in learning more about the pros and cons of catch shares and other fishery management practices will contact us, contact the Fishery Management Council, or contact fishermen's groups that have been advocating for a form of catch shares called "sectors" for years.
Change is difficult, and can cause undue stress when it’s not accompanied by an open and thorough exchange of information. Those affected by the changes in New England fisheries need and deserve to have the full story of the changes that are occurring—and they're not getting it in the Gloucester Daily Times."
Comments from commercial fishing families below:
Dear Ms. Regas,
In response to your indication that Richard Gaines is not reporting the full truth on Catch Shares, I must tell you I am absolutely in favor of Richard. I am one of the few women who harvest fish for a living, and with the half truths that are being presented to the public about catch shares is shameful. Your organization has done much to destroy fishermen and the communities that are supported by them. Catch shares consolidate fleets, the privatize the fisheries, they overcapitalize and they destroy lives. If they are so great, why is the EU abandoning their catch shares program after 25 years. Look what catch shares have done to the crab fishermen. About 266 boats were in business before rationing the fishery, now there about 80. Tell me how that helps our economy, ends what you call overfishing, and who profits from it. Big business that's who. Why should we pay to go to work, when I know for a fact there are more than enough fish to catch in our oceans.Why should we be regulated to death, only to let foreign nations catch our fish over the Hague Line, only to sell it back to our country. Does that make any sense to you? The amount of fish I throw over on a daily basis is sinful. Your organization does nothing but promote for big corporations to come in and take over our oceans, and to tell the American People that these big corps. will not take advantage and collapse every fishery they can get their hands on is deplorable. I see right through the game, even if most of America believes this nonsense called catch shares, you people know exactly what you are doing.
The facts speak for themselves.
> My husband and I have been commercial fishing on the east coast of the US
> for 20 years. We work from our 41 foot boat. Recently, because of the
> catch share craze that has caught fire with NOAA/NMFs, we are out of a
> job. The scallop resource presently is at the second highest level since
> record keeping began. Scallops are not over fished, nor have they been
> recently. In fact, some closed area scallops are dying of old age.
> Amendment 11, to the general category scallop fleet has cut permits down
> in half. Most of the boats left won't have enough quota to stay in
> Recently, a representative from UFA, Joe Childers, came to the east coast
> hosting panel discussions for Environmental Defense Fund. These pro catch
> share "infomercials" did not present a fair debate over ITQ's and was an
> insult to our intelligence. The fact that EDF wants to make our east coast
> fisheries Wall Street's newest commodity speaks for itself. Is there a
> connection between UFA and EDF?
> Fish, fishing techniques and fishing communities are a diverse bunch. For
> Mr. Childers, to travel this distance to promote the industrialization of
> our east coast fisheries is an abomination. Times are tough; we fishermen
> here have been sacrificing for 15 years with draconian regulations. There
> are few of us left, the stocks are rebounding nicely. I guess, what I'm
> getting out is how can UFA have a clue about what is best for our us?
> Mr. Childers, presence here was like rubbing salt in our wounds. One of
> the fishing families affected by this "presentation" was unable to attend,
> but asked someone to please tell this panel, "stay the @#$% out of our
> business!" Perhaps, you are expanding your territory?
> We are outraged and would appreciate a formal apology. We are all too
> familiar with the consequences of ITQ's. I've heard it described as either
> like diamonds or herpes-both last forever. For a member of UFA to
> participate in an unfair forum is extremely disturbing. There are many
> lives at stake in this unnecessary consolidation of our New England
> fisheries! Mr. Childers, position could easily have destroyed my son's
> future in the fishing industry here. This is a threat we do not take
> Mary Beth de Poutiloff
Your answer to Mrs Odlin is quite interesting. You speak of bridging
interest between fishermen and conservationists. Well when are the
conservationists going to start listening to the fishermen. If you truly
desirer this then I suggest you open your ears and eyes. When has this
ever been done. Although I'm sure you scientific folks look at fishermen
as money groveling people looking for the last fish to kill you seem to
forget who is and has been doing the conservation over the past decades.
Although we are not scientists with PHD's we are graduates of the most
important school that you folks seem to conveniently forget. WE are
students every day we work. What we see can't be learned from a book.
Start listening to the masses. Do you really believe that people should
be run out of business at a time when fish stocks are climbing and our
nation is facing double digit unemployment. I have seen my earnings
stripped to the bone beacuse of foolish regulations that promote the
senseless discarding of a god given resource. I ask what has your salary
done in the past ten years? We are food producers and what you promote
will turn this country into a nation dependant on foreign interest for
our seafood. We currently import 85% of out seafood as it is. This is
not beacuse of a lack of abundance but beacuse of the foolish
regulations you and your kind promote.This industry did just fine before
you and your cronies decided to dismantle our business and way of life.
We don't want you, we don't need you and the sooner you realize this the
better off we will all be. Your cherade is slowly being exposed and what
you truly seek out of this is becoming clearer all the time. Money money
money, follow the money and the real truth will be exposed. Always
remember, lies and deceit will always be exposed at some point and for
this reason we will stand proud and continue our fight for what is just
and right however long it takes. Your day of reckoning is coming.
Capt. Joel Hovanesian
F/V Excalibur, Pt Judith RI
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
By Rodney Barreto, Chairman
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Florida needs a voice in the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee
Florida is fortunate to have both of our U.S. senators – Bill Nelson and George LeMieux – on the Senate Commerce Committee, overseeing marine fisheries issues, but Florida is not represented on the equally important House Natural Resources Committee.
Important federal fisheries law is going to affect lots of jobs and billions of dollars in Florida’s economy. Florida is unique. We are the only state that borders the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, with a lot riding on wise management of fisheries in these regions.
Recreational saltwater fishing alone has a $5.3 billion impact on Florida’s economy, and 54,500 jobs depend on it. Commercial saltwater fishing contributes $1.2 billion to the economy and supports 12,900 jobs – not to mention freshwater fishing, worth another $2.4 billion and 24,800 jobs.
The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, last amended by Congress in 2007, directs how the federal government is required to manage saltwater fisheries. With Florida being such a major player in the industry, these federal management decisions greatly affect our state and citizens. It’s critical for us to have a more direct voice in federal law that affects marine fisheries. While we strongly support efforts to restore and protect all of our natural resources for the long term, the unintended consequence of the Magnuson-Stevens Act is that it will result in rapid closures of numerous fisheries at the same time. The result for Florida is likely to be a blow to one of the most important and unique components of our economy.
Florida is the fishing capital of the world with more world-record fish catches than any other state – and more than any other country. More anglers come to Florida to fish than anywhere else in the world. Multiply the number of anglers by the days they fish and the total is 23 million fishing days per year.
In the Atlantic, recreational anglers in Florida’s waters bag almost all of the black grouper and two-thirds of the gag grouper. They also catch almost 90 percent of the red snapper and 43 percent of the vermilion snapper.
Meanwhile, in the Gulf, almost 100 percent of red and gag grouper and 47 percent of recreational red snapper come from Florida.
The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee oversees all saltwater fisheries and wildlife issues for the U.S. House of Representatives. Forty-nine representatives out of the 435-member House serve on the committee. California has seven seats on it, and all of the U.S. territories sit on it. But of the seven coastal states in the Southeast, Florida is one of four states that do not have a seat.
We’re playing in the big leagues here; we need a slugger to step up to the plate. As chairman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, I applaud our congressional delegation’s diligence in protecting Florida’s interests. I am thankful that both of our senators serve on the Senate committee responsible for marine fisheries issues.
I urge Florida’s congressional delegation to push for one or more of our representatives to serve on the House Natural Resources Committee. We need champions in both houses.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Research submitted by Dr. Bob Shipp, Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s Chairman, to NMFS’ Science and Statistical Committee and then not considered as ‘best available data’ confirms what anglers across the Gulf testified. Says Dr. Shipp, “There are not areas of the Gulf which have become less productive for red snapper in recent decades. And in fact, 1)recent landings data (1999-2002) from the Florida west coast when compared to landings data (1995-1999) provided by Schirripa and Legault (1999), 2) testimony by reputable commercial fishermen at GMFMC meetings (March, 2006), and 3) testimony by a NMFS scientist at FMFMC meeting (November, 2006) using fishery independent methods all support the view that red snapper stocks in that area are increasing.”
In addition to this research, Dr. Frank Hester disputes the validity of the Southeast Data Assessment Review (SEDAR) process which determines for the NMFS Science Center what regulations are to be implemented in order meet the MSRA requirements.
Catch Share Programs Exposed
Truths, Misconceptions and Misrepresentations about Catch Shares and IFQs.
1999-For-hire sector of Recreational fishery committed to limited access program in order to help rebuild the Red Snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.
2000-2006-Each year Red Snapper fishery was rebuilding, but for-hire industry questioned accuracy of statistics from MRFSS data collection system. The 6-month season/4 Red Snapper bag limit was implemented.
2006-National Research Council’s review of MRFSS data was found fatally flawed.
2006-Congress passed a law directing NMFS to improve the data collection process by January, 2009. Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) began to be developed.
2007, Jan.- Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation Act of 2007 was signed into law giving NMFS more strict mandates on rebuilding the fisheries.
2007, May 2-Red Snapper was deemed over-fished and undergoing over-fishing, thus, the bag limit was reduced in Federal waters to 2 per customer, and eliminated the bag limit for captain and crew.
2008-NMFS reduced the Red Snapper season in the Gulf from 196 to 65 days. State waters in Florida and Texas stayed open (for 196 days in FL and year round in TX). Federal registry stated 4-months-June 1-Sept. 30.
2008-Summer season was time of energy crisis, beginning of an economic crisis, many private anglers did not fish due to the $4.00/gal gas prices.
2009-Jan-NMFS imposes regulation to fine and/or revoke Fishing permits of For-hire vessels if caught keeping Red Snapper in State waters while Federal waters closed. NMFS reported the 2008 red snapper harvest was exceeded by 1 million pounds (had changed the standard pounds from 3# per RS to 4.2# per RS. Reduced the 2009 season to 75 days-June 1-August 14-if States agreed to comply with the same season dates. All complied except Texas.
2009-Jan-May 31- Long fishing trips and charter boats down 70% from when excess regulation first imposed-comparing to Jan-May 31, 2006. Same trips down only 11-15% June 1 thru August 14, which is similar to community due to economic downturn. August 15- season drops again 50-70% on long trips and charters.
2009-August-NMFS says Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures are to be implemented in January, 2010, due to mandates of Congress. But, these mandates were made with the assumption that the MRIP program was going to be in place, as mandated, by Jan. 2009.
2009-October-NMFS closed Amberjack season early, with no sound science to back up the regulation.
2009-October-NMFS Gulf Council added Sector Separation between For-hire and private recreational anglers to the upcoming scoping document that is to be presented for public comment in early December, 2009 for changes in the 2010 season.
These actions will allow people to get back to work, prevent the negative economic impacts that are occurring on the coastal communities, while at the same time rebuilding the fisheries.
Please call, fax, or email your congressman and let them know we need HR1584 and s-1255 to become law with an amendment such as is written below to extend the deadline for over-fishing.
“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the reef fish fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic shall not be required to be rebuilt, and over-fishing ended, by a specific date provided that the annual level of fishing does not exceed the net reproduction rate for that fishery such that the fishery is rebuilding each year. If the objective set forth in this section is not met for any of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic reef fish fisheries in one year, the Secretary of Commerce shall adjust the fishing rate in that specific fishery in subsequent years to compensate for any overage. “
Find your congressman http://www.congress.org/
Please, call, fax, or email Katherine Romans with the same language.
Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife
Committee on Natural Resources
U.S. House of Representatives
187 Ford House Office Building
Follow HR 1584 and S1255
Sunday, November 15, 2009
In January 2007, President Bush signed into law the reauthorization of the Magnuson Stevens Fishery and Conservation and Management Act. Among many new requirements the RMSA established new regulatory mandates based on a required time line. Congress mandated that the National Marine Fisheries Service implement an improved Marine Recreational Fishing Statistical Survey by January 2009. They mandated that the NMFS stop overfishing of all fish species under going overfishing by 2010 and all other fisheries under going over fishing by 2011.
The NMFS has failed to comply with the mandate for an improved MRFSS data system by January 2009 and still does not have an improved recreational data system. The NMFS is working to comply with the mandate for stopping overfishing of all fish species by 2010, without an improved data system. The unintended impacts of the Congressional mandates has caused severe economic and social harm to small family fishing businesses, anglers, support businesses, local fishing communities, and the coastal states. In the Gulf of Mexico, the Total Allowable Catch of red snapper has been reduced from 9.12 million pounds to 5 million pounds, the recreational bag limit reduced from 4 fish to 2 fish, the recreational red snapper fishing season reduced from 6 months to 30 days or less for 2010. The greater amberjack recreational fishery was closed on October 23rd; the commercial fishery was closed on November 6th. The recreational gag grouper fishery now has a two month closure and the recreational bag limit reduced from 5 fish to 2 fish.
In the South Atlantic area from North Carolina through Florida, the red snapper fishery has been targeted to be shut down within the next few months, the grouper fishery is facing extended closures and the recreational bag limit reduced to 1 fish per person. The recreational vermillion snapper fishery now has a 5 month closure and the bag limit reduced to 5 fish per person. Massive area fishery closures are proposed in the South Atlantic area. The recreational sea bass fishery in the North East was shut down on October 5th. These are just some of the massive restrictions, closures and seasonal adjustments being created by the NMFS due to the RMSA.
Saturday November 7, 2009 Thousands of individuals came out to tell congress that people should matter and they need to fix the Act that has created chaos among so many Americans. There is no excuse for putting rigid deadlines on rebuilding plans for resources that create livelihoods for so many families and small businesses.
These people want congress to save the people while they are protecting resources. Many said, “We aren’t going to take it anymore!” They want congress to stand up, take responsibility and relax laws so that people and resources can survive together.
House of Representatives Bill HR1584 and Senate Bill S1255 both address the issue of “overfished” in the RMSA. We need Congress to amend both bills to relax the overly restrictive “overfishing” requirements and pass both bills. Relaxing the “overfishing” requirements of the RMSA will allow the NMFS to ease up on the regulations and will keep the small family businesses, their families, and communities sustainable while allowing the fisheries to rebuild.