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Tuesday, March 13, 2012
RFA Special Edition: "America's Right to Fish Is Under Attack in DC"
OBAMA'S 'ANTI-STIMULUS' PACKAGE HITS MASS COAST
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN
March 13, 2012
Behavior Modification Study Aimed At Reducing Angler Participation
What would you be willing to give up in exchange for $500?
the U.S. Department of Education offered you $500 to keep your kid out
of school for a few weeks, would you take it? What if the government
explained that this was simply a study designed to determine exactly how
much you felt your child's education was worth? Would the results of
such a study encourage your support for such behavior modification
How about if the
Department of Health offered you $500 to give up coffee with sugar for
one month? Or, what about a government-funded study where random voters
are given the option of accepting $500 in exchange for their right to
vote in November? Would you accept a $500 check to read only certain
types of books or download specific kinds of songs?
If you think about it,
such 'willingness-to-pay' research could prove invaluable in providing
our state and federal government agencies with important data about the
financial line which Americans are willing to cross in exchange for
valuable goods, services, rights & privileges. Sociologists love
this type of data, and it's arguably an excellent way to determine a
financial threshold for changing behavioral habits of American citizens.
The problem that most
Americans have with studies like these is that it's social engineering
at U.S. taxpayer expense. This type of behavior modification might be
fine for a grad student working on some Ivy League college campus, but
the thought that our own government would freely support such
'willingness to pay' studies through taxpayer funds is one that liberals
and conservatives alike should each find quite troubling.
government is actively engaged in just this type of behavior
modification study, whereby Massachusetts anglers are being asked to
accept $500 in taxpayer funds to give up their right to fish
recreational in marine waters there for the rest of 2012. The obvious
question is how on earth our Department of Commerce can justify paying
Americans to stay at home and not spend their money on items of
commerce, notably sportfishing in Massachusetts?
In any other American
business, this type of government action would be met with quite a bit
of disdain and discomfort, worthy of national headlines - for our
recreational fishing industry however, it's just another one of a
thousand cuts felt by local business people every single day of the
Here's what we do
know; NOAA Fisheries and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
which is managed under the auspice of the Department of Commerce, is
currently undertaking a socioeconomic study in conjunction with the
state of Massachusetts whereby approximately 700 saltwater anglers have
been offered cash in exchange for the anglers' willingness to give up
his/her right to fish. Those licensed Massachusetts anglers who accept
the offer will receive up to $500 apiece following their willingness to
give up their fishing license and all rights to fish in state coastal
waters in 2012.
In a recent conference
call with stakeholders, NOAA Fisheries explained that approximately 25%
of those 700 anglers had responded favorably by agreeing to give up
their right to fish in 2012 in exchange for cold, hard cash. In agreeing
to accept the government's terms, these particular Massachusetts
residents are agreeing to not fish this season, which means no need to
visit the local tackle shop, giving up any charter/headboat trips this
summer and making plans other than those surrounding a saltwater angling
trip with family and friends.
If NOAA Fisheries'
estimates are correct, 175 respondents will actually be giving up their
right to fish in saltwater this season. According to socioeconomic data
on saltwater angling habits that already exists through the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service however, the final economic impact within the
Massachusetts coastal fishing community amounts to approximately
$201,425 in overall consumer spending.
For anglers 16 and
older, total trip and equipment expenditures by saltwater anglers
averages about $1,151 per person, with $219 spent annually on food &
lodging, $137 on transportation expenses, and $795 per angler directly
related to fishing equipment and services. It doesn't take too long to
figure out that if dad is spending over a thousand bucks a year on
fishing for fluke, cod, sea bass or other inshore species, if he sells
off his 'fishing privileges' for the season then he's probably not
taking the teens and pr-teens on a fishing vacation in 2012 - which
means there's more economic loss than even the statistics show.
The US Fish and
Wildlife Service's data indicates that there are approximately 298,000
saltwater anglers in the state of Massachusetts who in 2006 spent more
than $494.6 million on saltwater fishing tackle alone. Approximately 69%
of those anglers fished by boat in 2006, meaning that there is also
money being spent on boat preparation and docking, fuel, and other
services related to the marine industry. If nearly 70% of those 175
respondents and their families keep their boat under wraps in 2012 to
take advantage of the government's recreational fisherman buyout study -
that too will have a trickle down financial impact within the
Massachusetts coastal community.
At a time when our
Department of Commerce and the entire Obama Administration should be
helping spur economic growth in America, it's hard to fathom how the
sociologists and economists at NOAA Fisheries can justify such a
deplorable study in behavior modification theory. It's essentially the
counter-opposite to a federal stimulus package, one which is
micromanaged at a state and regional level to see what happens to
businesses when customers are lured away to other pursuits.
taxpayer dollars on ways of limiting consumer spending in beleaguered
coastal communities is the worst kind of social engineering one could
possibly imagine, and it provides a perfect example of why this
Administration's jobs initiatives have failed miserably.
you tired of NOAA Fisheries paying $$$ to anglers to not fish, instead
of applying these important taxpayer funds towards proper fisheries
science and data collection improvements? On Wednesday, March 21, 2012
at noon, several thousand fishermen from around the country will be at
Upper Senate Park in Washington DC in support of legislative efforts
which would ensure that NOAA Fisheries is living up to its Congressional
mandates to fix the recreational data collection. Join the RFA on
3-21-12 - for details, visit www.keepfishermenfishing.com. Or, call 888-564-6732.
About Recreational Fishing Alliance
The Recreational Fishing
Alliance is a national, grassroots political action organization
representing recreational fishermen and the recreational fishing
industry on marine fisheries issues. The RFA Mission is to safeguard
the rights of saltwater anglers, protect marine, boat and tackle
industry jobs, and ensure the long-term sustainability of our Nation's
saltwater fisheries. If you'd like to tell Washington that your right to fish is NOT FOR SALE, join RFA now at www.joinrfa.org.