Fighting for public access open fishery
Fighting for public access open fishery of sustainable fishery stocks for all
The American peoples access to an open fishery for all has been under attack for decades. NOAA, under heavy influence from the EDF, has been pushing catch shares as one of the only 'solutions' to save a so called 'depleted' fishery.
Exactly what is catch shares? Catch shares, also known as an individual fishing quota, is a transferable voucher that gives individuals or businesses the ability to access a fixed percentage of the total authorized catch of a particular species. Fishery management systems based on catch shares turn a public resource into private property that has lead to a socioeconomic disaster for the American fisherman.
Exactly where does Walmart stand on catch shares and why?
The Walton Foundation, Walmart, has donated multi-thousands of dollars towards the realization of catch shares. Walmart is all about profit. Walmart is predicted to make millions by selling us, the American people, back OUR fish.
'We sell, repeat...SELL, fish tags!'
NOAA's number one target for recreational catch shares is the American red snapper.
Dr. Bob Shipp
Dr. Bob Shipp's, recognized authority on red snapper, 'Guide to Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico' is in its fifth printing and is used by the National Marine Fisheries Service for field identification of fishes. What does Dr. Shipp think of the way OUR, or what was once our, red snapper fishery is being handled?
"It's probably the worst-managed fishery in the United States. The snapper stocks are stronger than they've ever been in history. There are more red snapper on the Alabama reefs alone than NOAA recognizes in the entire Gulf of Mexico. This whole snapper management system is a train wreck."
Dr. Shipp faults the way the Magnuson Act is worded as the root of the problem. "The Magnuson Act has got to be changed; otherwise, we're never going to come to a rational solution to this mess."
Leading the charge against 'changing' the Magnuson Act is the EDF.
Leading the fight for public 'open' access fishery is Hubbard Marina's Captain Dylan Hubbard:
Next NMFS GC meeting is January 29th in Louisiana and Hubbard's Marinawill be there fighting for the recreational angler's rights and trying to defeat the idea of allocation based management! We believe our federal fishery should be public access not privatized for the few... the IFQ system is being pushed onto the for hire rec sector by the environmental groups and CFA, once they are done in the for hire rec sector they will push to move this management structure into the private rec sector. I have been warning against this for a decade or more when AM40 first got discussed but now its real, they are openly admitting they want a fish tag allocation based management system for private recs. Unless you want to have to go to walmart to get your red grouper, gag, amberjack, red snapper or triggerfish tags then you'd better start listening in and getting involved. If this idea is stopped in the for hire sector it won't have the momentum to move into the private rec sector! One of the supporting for hire party boat captains who was pushing for allocation based management in the for hire sector and is openly supporting CFA and their push to move this idea into the private rec sector said, "I have to get a tag for every deer I go shoot, why shouldn't they have to get a tag for their red snapper?"
NOAA & EDF are united and very well funded.
We are none of the above. Fighting for public access open fishery of sustainable fishery stocks for all will take a united effort of the American peoples. Together we can, and must, do it.
Bob Harbison Florida Outdoor Writers Association