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The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Technical Committee (TC) and Stock Assessment Committee (SAC) process is supposed to be a simple one that allows the members, who come from state agencies, federal agencies and academia, to do the technical work necessary to manage marine fisheries. One primary object of this process is to allow only qualified, independent scientists to populate the committees, who can be expected to produce results that are not biased towards any one sector or another. Such scientists insulated from the grind of fishery politics are the very engine on which marine fisheries management runs.
CCA applauds Texas Congressman’s strong opposition to misguided Idle Iron directive
In the latest display of opposition to an unpopular federal directive, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tx) is calling for the Department of Interior to reconsider its Idle Iron policy that stands to dismantle critical marine habitats in the Gulf of Mexico. The Idle Iron directive, issued by the Department in the immediate aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, orders non-producing oil and gas rigs and other structures in offshore waters to be removed within five years of the issuance of the directive.
As the debate winds down on whether Gulf states will be consistent with federal regulations for the 2012 red snapper season in the Gulf of Mexico – 40-days (tops) and a two-fish bag limit – it once again brings the conversation around to what seems to be the best solution of all: “Why don’t we just extend state waters out to 30 miles or 100 miles or 200 miles for fisheries management and be done with it?”
In a letter to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Florida’s bi-partisan U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio urge the National Park Service to reconsider the proposed General Management Plan (GMP) for Biscayne National Park and to work cooperatively with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to maintain public access for anglers and boaters.
CCA applauds Texas Governor’s call to protect Gulf rigs, artificial structure
In a letter to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Texas Governor Rick Perry is calling for a review of the federal government’s “Idle Iron” policy that threatens to dismantle what is regarded as the largest artificial reef system in the world. In the letter, Perry says that the policy, which orders non-producing oil and gas rigs and other structures in offshore waters to be removed within five years of the issuance of the directive, will have profound negative implications for marine fisheries and the local coastal communities and businesses that rely on the fishing opportunities that these structures provide in the Gulf.
Coastal Conservation Association rejects the validity of the EFP and questions the propriety of NOAA Fisheries allowing the proposal to be presented to the Council for consideration. By promoting the EFP, NOAA Fisheries has made a farce of every requirement contained in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act for the implementation of catch share programs.
Just when you think federal fisheries management can’t get any more confusing, NOAA Fisheries pops out a solution to a problem that is truly baffling, especially when viewed against recent decisions to dramatically limit recreational catch in other regions. Last week, NOAA announced that fishermen will be allowed to catch up to 6,700 metric tons of Gulf of Maine cod in 2012. The statement from NOAA read:
Southern Florida’s Shrinking Great Outdoors
In an unfortunate over-simplification of a complicated issue, the Miami Herald recently chose to attack what it calls “fishing lobbying groups” for their opposition to proposed fishing and boating closures in Biscayne National Park.
Outlandish catch share proposal draws heated opposition from anglers
A request by a commercial fishing group for a “voluntary” catch share program in the South Atlantic snapper-grouper fishery raised hackles at the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting this week. Aside from concerns about the legality of the concept and outrage over the details of the proposal, recreational anglers are questioning why the Council continues to explore catch share programs a year after it voted to terminate all work related to catch share development.
The illusion continues for NOAA Fisheries.
In what has become a veritable campaign of misinformation, Pew Environment Group issued yet another statement in support of setting annual catch limits on marine fisheries species without the benefit of science-based assessments.
It is more of the same from the Pew Environment Group. The message below making the rounds in DC has all the hallmarks of the environmental community’s overall approach to marine resource management.
No one has ever accused the federal fisheries management process of being too transparent. It is a Byzantine world of statistics, biology and, the murkiest ingredient of all, politics. It is a process that often yields confounding results.
Linus Pauling was an American chemist, biochemist, peace activist, author and educator. He was one of the most influential chemists in history and one of only four individuals to have won more than one Nobel Prize.
If logical requests to curtail the use of the most indiscriminate commercial gear in the ocean with targeted time and area closures are ignored, then perhaps it is time to acknowledge that the agency is simply incapable of responsibly managing this particular fishery. Perhaps it is time for other participants in this fishery to consider a larger vision, such as simply removing longline gear from the management regime altogether through a buyout program or similar efforts.
A half-dozen years ago, I went fishing in Florida with a family friend who had moved to the Naples area. He reminded me the day before the trip to get a fishing license, warning that we could count on being stopped by Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission officers at least twice during our outing.
Fishermen are notorious for having a little trouble with the truth. Whether it’s adding a few pounds to the fish you caught last week or misdirecting a buddy away from your favorite spot or calling in sick on a beautiful day with a green tide, anglers can bend the truth when they need to.
The road to this point has not been simple. Coastal Conservation Association is among the many groups that have been opposed to catch shares, and we have invested a great deal of time and resources on many fronts to lessen the potential for negative impacts of such programs on the recreational angling community.
The catch share issue is generating a lot of attention, and it is certainly warranted. Any concept that proposes to privatize a public resource should get a strong reaction from the public and every attempt should be made to beat it back.
Much has been made about the catch share issue in recent months. Catch shares are a poorly understood issue that has been made more complicated by an absolute avalanche of mistruths, half-truths, and outright lies swirling about it in fishing chatrooms and blogs across the country.
They say that fishing is the world’s second oldest occupation, so it is likely there have been more ironic events in its long, storied history, but the recent letter from Massachusetts’s Governor Deval Patrick to President Obama must rank near the top of the list.