The frustration toward government manifested itself yesterday in Massachusetts and sent a message we have pushed for a long, long time. There wasn't one simple issue that swept the rug clean, and it wasn't necessarily democrat versus republican because Senator Brown never used republican on his literature or on his bus driven around the state. He didn’t even mention republican in his acceptance speech that I could tell. He spoke to the independents and it was the independent voters who elected him a US Senator. The voters don’t like many of the administration's policies ranging from health reform to global warming to handling of terrorists and maybe even the fishing mess in Massachusetts.
There were thousands of fishermen and fishing businesses totally disenchanted with what NOAA/NMFS has done to them for several decades. There have been outrageous, almost punitive actions by NOAA/NMFS and the New England Fishery Management Council on scallops in particular and minimal fishing days and fewer opportunities in general. I won't make their arguments; I'll leave that to the New Englanders.
In our world here in Florida we are very frustrated with government because of the actions taken against us by NOAA/NMFS, especially in the current red snapper/grouper controversy. The issue boiled down to a "them vs. us" and they pulled out all stops to make sure “they” won when they banned red snapper fishing. They might feel they taught the fishermen a lesson through heavy-handed fish politics but all they did was strengthen our resolve. The sad part of this situation is we have always called for honest science and nothing more. We have shown the flaws in the science NMFS and the South Atlantic Council used to force their will on us. When we hired Dr. Frank Hester, a world-class certified marine scientist, he was called a charlatan by a NOAA/NMFS scientist for questioning NMFS computer models, assumptions and lack of data in the 1940’s on which they made important stock assessment decisions.
These thoughts ran through my mind last night as I was trying to sleep and I wanted to share them with you because we have known each other so long. I mentioned to you earlier that NOAA/NMFS actions chased me from the Democratic Party to the Independent Party. Maybe the frustrations I had is portend of things to come.
What will it take to get Congress interested in what the agency has done to us, is currently doing to us and wants to do to us in the future? When will the agency let us see through the dark glass barricade?
There is a big story here but we can’t seem to get traction because of the power of the agencies that need the oversight.
Southeastern Fisheries Association Inc