Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bob Jones Commentary

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.

Sincerely yours,

Bob Jones
Southeastern Fisheries Association Inc


  1. I am a recreational fisherman here in MA.
    Please don't take your feeling that "The voters don’t like many of the administration's policies ..... ranging from health reform to ... maybe even the fishing mess in Massachusetts." too seriously. We do have issues, and even some battles here over fisheries management, but the general state population has yet to be engaged in these issues.

    The fisheries issues are very localized, mostly around two locations, Gloucester and New Bedford. I don't believe that new Senator Brown raised the fishing issues in his campaign, at least I never heard or read that he has championed any side between the NMFS and the commercial industry.

    The Gloucester Times writer, Richard Grimes, is completely biased in his reporting of Fisheries issues and the Times has very little readership outside of Gloucester, which is actually an Island with one bridge connecting it to the mainland.

    The last time I have read an editorial on fisheries issues in the Boston Globe, which has a wide readership in the population centers here, The Globe essentially sided with the cut back on scallop days-at-sea in order to further the the rebuilding of both scallops and the principle by-catches by the scallopers of both sea turtles and Yellow Tail Flounder.

    The MA message to Washington, as reported by our press has been concerned with the Health Care Plan and the stimulus plan. I haven't heard any mention in the local press of the this vote being concerned with fisheries management.

  2. In the Gloucester Daily Times article, Jan. 15, Scott Brown said not only would he support re opening the Magnuson-Stevens Act, it MUST be changed. In another article, Senator Tarr (Gloucester) said he would not be surprised to see Mr. Brown at the capitol on Feb. 24.

    Mr. Gaines, GDT,is a well respected investigative reporter who has been enlightening readers everywhere. We in Massachusetts are lucky to have him.

    Thank you, Bob Jones, I couldn't agree with you more. We Fish & We Vote. If we wish to preserve the right to fish for our children, we have to stand up to "bought" science that is not truthful & the "stealing" of our fish
    through catch shares.

    Alaska being the poster child for fisheries- Japan, Washington & Oregon OWN what should be the reseidents of Alaska.