"Catch Shares are a tool in the hands of fishery managers. Or are they?"
What are Catch Shares? In case you never heard the term, we want to spend a few minutes telling you a story. It is a political story, and as such might be something you think has no place in the world of sport fishing. But if you do, you're wrong. Because politics - large scale, global, high-dollar politics - are every bit a part of the world of fishing as they are the world of oil, the world of health care, or the world of the environmental protection agency, and in turn our federal government. If you fish it is time to start learning about a clear and imminent danger to our way of life. It is called Catch Shares.
The regulators and a tofu-diet ruling the meat eaters of the world
Catch shares are simple to understand. But before we define how they work, realize that the environmental movement is now more than 20 years old. The radical among the movement feel that mankind, in it's rush for gold and oil and i Pads, is destroying the earth. It has gotten to the point where the United Nations recognizes mother earth as a being, with every right granted to the humans that live on her skin. Look; I am as kind to the environment as anybody I know. In fact, it is the anglers, hunters, and outdoors people I know that are the true conservationists, not the pale-skinned tofu-slurping vegans whose idea of the great outdoors is a channel on cable tv called the Animal Planet. But the earth is our home. We need to keep it clean but we are the dominant species. We do not belong controlled and wrapped in little dream cities.
We belong outside, and benefit from tribal politics. We protect our own. It is human nature, not dirt and rocks with human legal rights. There is no fairness except that provided by the law. Law it not controlling our fisheries; regulations written by people who think we are less than intelligent for wanting to kill those poor little fish are and have been controlling our sport. After all, you can watch them on tv! Why in science's name (their form of God) would a civilized person rip those innocent creatures from their homes and EAT THEM?????
But make no mistake about it, ladies and gentlemen. It is the tofu-eaters among our regulatory bodies that are making the rules now changing our lives. When I was a kid, tarpon tournaments resulted in thousands and thousands of dead tarpon hung from the porches and roofs of public buildings and colleges. Despite that devastating and environmentally unconscious introduction to the beauty for sport fishing for the Silver King, the sport - and the fish - are alive and well.
Today we cannot catch gag and red grouper, and American Red Snapper are so abundant that they are driving grouper off their natural reefs. But out of our reach. Little wonder the gag and red grouper counts are down. Jewfish, now politically-corrected to the label "Goliath Grouper", eat ten percent of their weight a week. A four-hundred pound grouper that eats forty-pounds of gags and reds for lunch. But they are protected, and now so, too, will be their food sources. And didn't a Jewish kid kill that Palestinian? Isn't that the story, and isn't Bill Ayres and his wife and code pink sponsoring flotillas to protect Goliath offspring?
Regulations and the environmental left are and have been completely out of control. They do not fish, but regulate our fisheries. They believe in their form off science, and silence other voices. And they are destroying our angling way of life. You want proof? As the mayor of Madeira Beach, Florida, Travis Palladeno watches his business and life fade away. Regulated away. His city, far from becoming the utopia Vibrant Coastal Community envisioned by former EDF board member Jane Lunchenco (now Obama's Director of NOAA), it is on dry dock, and dying a slow death. They were the sports grouper fishing capital of the world. Now they are dry docked. The families cast asked for the protection of abundant fisheries.
So onto our definition of catch shares. Catch shares are a set of regulations where by the government and their globally-warmed scientists count the fish. Since they do not go on the water, that use computer models. Right now the computers tell them that the recreational angling community is killing all the grouper, so using what is called precautionary science, they shut us down. The grouper are there, but the computer models do not see them. Like they failed to see the clouds covering our planet in the computer models that warned of imminent global heating to the point of global death of all things living.
Once they count the fish, they, in their infinite wisdom, distribute them. Or we should say redistribute them. Some go to the commercial guys, some to captains and head boats, and some to us. Us regular Jo's with boats bought with money we earned. The taxpayers who support the recreational industry in all it's forms and reach. In Florida, that is $50 billion a year according to reliable statistics.
We come last. First comes the commercial boats (Tyson foods, anyone?). While shutting down half of our national fleet with over-regulation, Walmart has been gobbling up the paperwork - called Individual Fishing Quotas- that will let them populate many boats all those independent fishing families lost as a result of the overwhelming number of new "environmental" regulations. They have given millions from their "foundation" to the tofu tr-sexual regulating us off the water. And it is going to be at Walmart you will have to go and buy your government permission-ticket before going out to catch those (now safe) grouper. If you buy a ticket and you don't catch any that day? Or the weather stops you before you reach your fishy spot? Too bad. Next time you go, you buy a new permission ticket at Walmart. And if you think there won't be flounder and redfish tickets at the same place in the same aisle soon after the grouper tickets, you are out of your mind. Let a camel into the tent, and their nose makes room for their humps.
Hold your nose and follow the moneyOne more thing on catch shares. There is only one protein food source you cannot yet buy on the Chicago Mercantile, where the values are determined for the future prices of the world's commodities. You can bet on the future price of everything from pig bellies to cows to natural gas. But there is one thing you cannot bet on. One thing still a public resource. Fish.
Think about it. The argument that catch shares are "an effective tool in the hand of scientists and other government officials responsible for managing our fisheries" nonsense. What it is is a thinly veiled strategy to move money and power. Catch shares can be made to sound perfectly sensible. Until you smell the stink of corruption. Some $70 million in money is being moved around between tax-exempt organizations, and the threat to our freedom is obvious. If you want something on the Mercantile, you have to first allocate it. Who better than people who think that having goldfish as pets should be illegal? Do not laugh. Check city law in San Francisco, California. Give it some time and you will be paying for those goldfish police.
Catch shares have drawn millions of dollars in support from groups like Walton, Alyson foods, PEW, EDF and George Soros' Tides Foundation (among a dozen other like-minded and globally-sympathetic nongovernmental organizations, why not follow the money? If we follow the money, we might find the truth. Is mankind killing the fish, or are they just another collection of victims? Because causes needs collections of victims.
Next in the series: Crony Capitalism, PEW, and Biodiversity channels
By Gary Poyssick, aka Gary Fisherman;
The Online Fisherman:
FISHING POLITICS at its best!