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C-Fish

UNITED WE FISH RALLY IN WASHINGTON THIS WEDNESDAY - WILL YOU BE THERE?`

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There are buses leaving from New England to Texas and everyplace in between to bring fishermen to the rally to let Congress know Magnuson must be reformed. Or carpool down with some fishing buddies. However you get there, just get there! I hope to see as many of my SOL friends as possible standing shoulder to shoulder in support of common sense reform.  Here's the latest press release from the RFA.      C-Fish



 



 



“It’s all about jobs” will be the message of thousands of fishermen in Washington on March 21



 



New Gretna, New Jersey - With just three days to go until the Keep Fishermen Fishing Rally near the U.S. Capitol on March 21, organizers expect thousands of recreational and commercial fishermen - and their families – to be in Washington this week in support of coastal fishing-related jobs.



 



Coastal fishermen last assembled in organized protest in February of 2010 to show their dissatisfaction with federal fisheries management, though organizers say that Congress has been slow to react to their concerns. 



 



Despite previous congressional mandates, there has been no improvement in the science underlying federal fisheries management and no adherence by the federal agency to the statutory requirements that federal fisheries data collection be improved.  Instead, NOAA Fisheries enforcement is in a shambles, as are the assurances of transparency and rebuilt relationships that Dr. Jane Lubchenco promised Congress when she took over at NOAA in 2009.



 



According to the thousands of fishermen set to peacefully assemble at Upper Senate Park on March 21st, changes implemented under the reauthorized 2006 Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act have improved the health of U.S. coastal fish stocks primarily by kicking fishermen off the water and putting thousands of Americans out of work.  Recreational and commercial fishermen alike, supported by a core group of bipartisan coastal legislators, believe that proper balance of commerce and conservation is possible through simple amendments to the federal fisheries law.



 



“We aren’t going to Washington because we object to effective fisheries management; we are going because we object to overly restrictive management measures,” said Nils Stolpe, one of the rally organizers and a representative of the commercial fishing industry.  “We are going because we object to a federal law that puts all of the emphasis on protecting the fish and none whatsoever on protecting the jobs of those that sustainably harvest those fish.”



 



Approximately 5,000 coastal fishermen attended the 2010 rally in support of federal fisheries reform, a number that organizers believe will be met or exceeded on Wednesday.  “The nation’s coastal anglers are coming to Washington again on Wednesday because they object to a federal fisheries law that keeps them from accessing healthy fish stocks, reduces participation in the fishery, and hurts jobs in our coastal communities,” said Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance.  “Our federal fisheries law is broken and has been used by several mega-foundations as a weapon to beat back our coastal fishermen while destroying jobs in this country,” he added. 



 



Keep Fishermen Fishing organizers are inviting members of the public as well as Members of Congress to join them at Upper Senate Park in Washington DC on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 starting at noon, to hear from real working fishermen and anglers alike whose sacrifices have made our domestic fisheries the envy of every other nation on earth.



 



“They’ll be there on their time and on their dime,” Stolpe said, adding “How many of the people who will be flocking to Washington to counter the Keep Fishermen Fishing Rally can make the same claim?”



 



 



Commercial sector contact: Nils Stolpe  at 386-409-0675 or nilsstolpe@cfl.rr.com



Recreational sector contact: Jim Donofrio at 888-564-6732 or Jimdrfa@aol.com


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And the opponent is the Ocean Conservancy.

 

They have been sending this out:

 

 

 

Dear friend of the ocean,

 

We've made huge gains towards ending overfishing and restoring depleted fish populations since landmark changes were made to the Magnuson-Stevens Act in 1996 and again in 2006. But all that progress is in jeopardy right now with some members of Congress pushing to roll back important provisions of the law responsible for the successes we are seeing.

 

Take one minute to make sure Congress doesn't let overfishing make a comeback.

 

Before these landmark changes were made, many fish populations were in long-term decline after decades of overfishing. Today, the conservation requirements of the Act have already helped rebuild more than twenty different fish populations and reverse the decline of others by implementing management policies such as science-based catch limits to ensure no species can be depleted to the dangerous levels of the past.

 

The Magnuson-Stevens Act is working. Tell Congress to leave it alone.

 

Despite all this progress, there are efforts underway to create loopholes in the Act that will allow for continued overfishing and compromise efforts to ensure our nation's fish populations are healthy and sustainable. The consequences would harm ocean ecosystems and the economic vitality of the fisherman and coastal towns who depend on healthy, abundant fish populations.

 

Our nation's fish populations are on the road to recovery and a sustainable future. Now is not the time to roll back key provisions of the law in the name of short-term economic interests.

 

Sign our letter to Congress urging them to resist creating loopholes in the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Chris Dorsett

Director, Fish Conservation and Gulf Restoration Program

Ocean Conservancy

 

 

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Don't know much about the particular legislation being debated.

Anyone care to offer a synopsis?

 

Anything in there about not pulling every last freakin Menhaden out of the Ocean?

Comercial fishing is a tough business. There doesn't seem to be much room for the smaller operations.

The big ones are decimating many types of fish stocks. While the US may have regs, the rest of the world could care less about the future.

They need mo protein now.

 

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My impression is that the commercial fishing industry grew for a few decades (1978-2008), and only declined when the economic recession hit in 2008. As it is, there's still overcapacity in charter and open boats. It's a normal economic consequence that discretionary spending (read fishing) declines in poor economic times.

 

How are the regs adding to the decline? Help me out here.

 

 

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If you tell me that 21" Fluke regs at two fish is keeping people off the charter/open boats, so be it. Meat fishing is what killed the stocks in the past. If they don't like a sustainable fishery, it's time to take up another sport/hobby.

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And now that the stocks are recovered, regulations are beginning to relax.

 

Looks like New York will be 3 or 4 fluke @ 19 1/2 this year; the private-boat porgy bag will likely double from 10 t0 20 (the same for for-hires outside of the "bonus season" when for-hire anglers can take 40 scup apiece, which will run through all of September and October) and the season will probably run from May 1-December 31. Black sea bass will probably see a 50% increase in the bag limit, to 15, and an uninterrupted season running from June 15-December 31. It's been a long, tough slog to get the stocks rebuilt, but now that they are, we're starting to reap the benefits. Now that the hard work is done, it seems to me that it would be a shame to risk letting everything decline again, just as the rules are getting better.

 

I've been fishing for a very long time, and I found it painful to release a 20" fluke. But when you look at some of New York's most tightly regulated species, and those that were managed more flexibly through ASMFC, the contrasts seem to speak for themselves. If you compare fluke (aka summer flounder) with the less rigorously managed winter flounder, black sea bass with the blackfish (tautog) that live on the same rocky ground, or the scup with the weakfish that often appeared with them in Long Island's bays, it is the Magnuson-managed species that seem to be headed in the right direction. And the irony is, in the end we can take home more of the Magnuson-managed species than those managed flexibly. Because you can't take home what isn't there, and eventually the relatively unregulated species will decline to the point where even the most flexible manager feels compelled to take strong action.

 

I suppose that we could embark on a great experiment to determine whether relaxing regulations would harm our fish stocks, or whether the folks who say nothing would be hurt are right. Whether it would be responsible to do so is a very different question.

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Why I WON'T be on the Bus---

The organizers of the “Keep Fishermen Fishing” rally this week in Washington D.C. are encouraging fishermen to pile on buses from New Jersey to “educate and inform legislators . . .on the onerous and devastating effect the current law is having on angler access and the angling experience. . . .”

The Law they are so concerned about is the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). MSA was established to keep foreign trawlers at least 200 miles off of our coast, while helping US fisherman maintain sustainable fisheries for the future.

Management of important commercial and recreational Mid Atlantic fisheries such as summer flounder, black sea bass, and bluefish falls under the auspice of MSA. MSA is responsible for rebuilding many fish stocks in the United States.

Yet, “Keep Fishermen Fishing” organizers, including the Recreational Fishing Alliance and their commercial fishing allies, would have us believe that the MSA is having an “onerous and devastating” impact on the “angling experience.” They have convinced Congressman Pallone, to support legislation that will bring “flexibility” to the MSA.

Unfortunately, it was “flexibility” that got us here in the first place. It was flexibility that allowed fisherman to take too many fish, at such a rapid rate that many fish stocks collapsed. Supporting a bill like this will insure that history WILL repeat itself. Flexibility prioritizes short term economic interests of commercial fishermen over long term economic sustainability, with little concern for the future of fish stocks and the future of sport fishing.

Moreover, the RFA refuses to tell fishermen that Pallone’s “Flexibility” Bill will do nothing to change fishing practices in the Mid-Atlantic for recreationally important species. The increased “flexibilty” will apply only to “overfished” species, and none of these species are overfished. In fact all of these species are a great example of just how well MSA has worked so far!

As a recreational fishing guide, I am especially interested in the impacts of industrialized commercial fishing, especially on striped bass and the food they depend upon. When I read the list of sponsors for the rally, I am struck by how many commercial fishing interests are involved, everyone from the Garden State Seafood Association, a commercial fishing trade group, to the groups representing the industrial midwater trawler fisheries in New England who are taking river herring right out of our gamefishes’ mouths. Why would I want to jump on a bus with the netters from Lund’s seafood, Cape May NJ, that process more than 10,000 metric tons of menhaden (aka bunker, a crucially important forage species) per season. This is the same company that has chosen to align itself with Omega Protein, a monopolistic company based in Reedville Va. that grinds up over 175,000 metric tons of bunker each year into fish meal and fish oil for profit. It’s clear that the RFA has chosen commercial interests over anglers like me and no longer represent my interests as a recreational fisherman.

Why not help strengthen the Magnuson–Stevens act so we ALL have more fish to catch? Help to fund and support better science and data collection. Work on conserving our forage fish base so our prized gamefish like striped bass, tuna and more have a fighting chance. Work on encouraging anglers to become stewards of the ocean and fishing responsibly.

 

I for one will not board a bus to Washington D.C. to support weaker fisheries laws. Instead, I, along with the Anglers Conservation Network will be working to end industrialized fishing for menhaden & ending the bycatch catastrophe that is decimating our river herring and American shad stocks. We will be continuing to promote sustainable fishing of important gamefish like striped bass and summer flounder.

 

 

 

 

*(edited - Paul, please don't refer people to social media websites or groups on those sites - thanks. TimS)

 

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its not just about the precious menhaden and striped bass. what about the overabundant threatened dogfish? what about the bottom fishing closures in the atlantic? I have a friend who runs a headboat in florida. as of right now goupers are closed through 4-31, black sea bass is closed through 5-31, red snappers are closed, vermillion snappers are closed through 3-31.

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its not just about the precious menhaden and striped bass. what about the overabundant threatened dogfish? what about the bottom fishing closures in the atlantic? I have a friend who runs a headboat in florida. as of right now goupers are closed through 4-31, black sea bass is closed through 5-31, red snappers are closed, vermillion snappers are closed through 3-31.

 

And your point is...... why should they not be closed? Could it be that they are breeding?

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Yet, “Keep Fishermen Fishing” organizers, including the Recreational Fishing Alliance and their commercial fishing allies,

 

Paul, I'd like to hear some specifics about the RFA's "commercial fishing allies" - can you please list them and point out their ties to the RFA? And do these "ties" exist beyond supporting "flexibility" in Magnuson - or are you calling them allies because they are on the same side of this one, singular issue? It's a pretty serious claim to make that the RFA has "commercial fishing allies" without going into the specifics to support such a claim. It's only fair that you support such a claim with details - thanks.

 

TimS

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RFA was created or put in place to protect the rights of the boating industry. They have a vested interest in charter fleets which in many shores based anglers minds is a fine line between commercial and recreational. While they have jumped on board with many issues that benefit shore based and boat fishing they have done nothing exclusively for the surf-angler and in my opinion when push comes to shove are only looking out for the promotion of their industry and not the fish.

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So holding meetings with Lobiondo to ensure two mile beach stays open to surf casters doesn't count?

 

Being front and center and involved with all the NJ access meetings that directly affects land based anglers doesn't count?

 

Signing on and pushing the cape hatter as national seashore beach access legislation helps charter boats how?

 

Keeping fishing free in nj didnt help surf anglers?

 

Removing bunker reduction boats from state waters, " making everyone a bass fisherman" , didn't help surf anglers?

 

Could go on.............

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