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Monday, January 24, 2011

The Voice of America

Scrap the Catch Shares Program, get rid of the "Witch Hunt" in the fisheries industry and do it with real, up to date data and rationalistic regulations. I have been supportive of giving this new group every chance and benefit of the doubt, but this behavior smacks of back room politics without public input or regular protocol and process. Not the way things should proceed.
If we do not stand up as a group "Recreational Fishermen, Charter Boat Captains, and Commercial Fishermen" it going to be to late for us all...

Between today and Wednesday, all over the country, the NOAA Cronies are setting up rulings that will effect you future on catching fish; if you'll even be able to fish at all. Also, under the interim rule of LOST, once the Fisheries Councils are done with all saltwater fish, they then turn to the fish with in all tributaries that lead into the Gulf or an oceans. They have sights first on Black Bass (Largemouth) but first we must stop them here, in our waters of the Gulf of Mexico. If we can stop this witch hunt now, it may not escalate inland. This is a FISH WAR folks and there are but only two sides; the Fisherman or the Council.
The fish the Councils are targeting:
  1. Generic Fishes” (EVER SEE ONE?)
  2. Management Measures for Dolphin
  4. Wahoo
  5. Recreational SEA BASS CLOSURE
  6. ACL snapper grouper management complex
    plus dolphin, Wahoo, and golden crab.
  7. Commercial trip limit options for greater amberjack, vermilion snapper, black sea bass,
    and gag grouper.
  8. Implementation of a catch share program for the commercial golden crab fishery
  9. Specify Allocations for the Wreckfish Fishery
  10. Specify Sector Allocations for Black Grouper
  11. Initial Allocation of Endorsements for Particular Species and Species Groupings
  12. Commercial trip limit options for
    greater amberjack, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, and gag grouper.
Joining with either the FRA or the RFA is a step in helping not only saving our fish but too, the anglers to which fish in all; Charter Captains, Commercial Captains and the Recreational fisherman's right and privilege to fish, as stated in our Constitution. You to, today, can make a statement to President Obama, which may be addressed after his State of the Union tomorrow, if you hurry and together we too can be a voice of America!

What can you do?

 It is time to stop the theft of our fisheries.

Write a letter to your legislators in your own words. This may be a bit intimidating, but it is so important to individually express ideas and concerns. You can also make phone calls to your legislators.  Personal contact is the most effective means of communicating with your elected officials. Get contact information for your congressional representatives, governor and state legislators here.
If you have three or four friends who are willing to sign your letter, it will carry more weight.  Print it, sign  it and mail it to each legislator. Calling the legislators after sending the letter will add weight to your opinion.
If you have any questions about communications, please email us at

Here are some points to make. Feel free to us a few of these ideas:

Sector separation will cost jobs and economic activity while doing nothing for the health of the fish stocks.

Catch shares have been overwhelmingly rejected for use in the recreational fishery by both the anglers and the managers. Redirect funding from catch shares to recreational data collection.

Federal tax dollars were used to pay an advocacy group to develop a workshop on the very issue that the advocacy group is pushing, all under the guise of transparent and unbiased content development. If this workshop was truly objective and unbiased, shouldn’t Gulf Council staff, and they alone, have dictated the agenda? Shouldn’t the agenda have, at a minimum, contained presenters to show viewpoints opposing sector separation? Why was every presenter/invitee a supporter of sector separation?

Constitutional rights are being infringed upon with the prohibition of recording of a public meeting. Gulf Council Executive Director Dr. Steve Bortone attempted to prohibit a member of the media from recording the meeting in any way. This workshop was noticed as an open public meeting and no such restrictions were provided in the notice. The First Amendment guarantees the freedom of the press to record such a meeting. Even after several council members questioned the practical need to prohibit the recording, staff, along with help from an outside environmental group persisted in their attempt to prohibit the recording, but could point to no legal justification for such prohibition. Surprisingly, staff showed absolutely no deference to council. Staff’s conduct appeared to be solely dictated by an outside environmental group. Why did this occur? And shouldn’t the council be concerned about this?

Maguson-Stevens is being violated in several ways. A congressional investigation of the entire National Marine Fisheries Service is needed. The record is clear that NMFS uses Magnuson to justify and require those actions they want to take, yet they completely ignore the express requirements of Magnuson when they want to. They have blown numerous deadlines imposed by Magnuson on many needed issues, yet are always quick to jump the gun in imposing closures by citing requirements of Magnuson.

Why is a federal employee allowed to deny us our constitutional rights? Why did the same employee ask permission of the advocacy group to release public records to the public? Why did the same employee conceal the charitable/advocacy group as the organizer/developer of the workshop? Why did that same staff member specifically start out the meeting saying that “if one’s mind is made up on sector separation, then this workshop isn’t for you”, only to see that every invited participant had already made up their mind to support sector separation?

The users of the resource are uniformly clamoring that we need better data and science, yet the disdain shown by staff to this concern was palpable throughout the room as the anglers were basically told to get over it and they don’t want to hear about the data any more.

In order to stop this pattern of mismanagement, Dr. Lubchenco should be removed from her position as director of NOAA. It is clear that her involvement with EDF has lead to NOAA’s march to catch shares and the trampling of the recreational angler and commercial fisherman’s constitutional rights.

What will be the direction now? No compelling arguments were presented in support of Sector Separation. Sector separation, if implemented, still requires significant process to follow through and the specific details will be hotly debated. Where is the money and other resources for this going to come from?  What is the justification for spending time and money on this proposal? Would this proposal be on the table if the $52 million for catch shares was not available?


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