The Real Purpose Behind AnglerAction.org?

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  1. #1
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    The Real Purpose Behind AnglerAction.org?

    Here are some quotes from a guy on this board, who is apparently young and naive, and who has been selected apparently to market this "new, improved data system" called angleraction.org. I do believe that his heart is in the right place, but his actions are being used by the "not-so-innocent" to market this "new, improved data system" to implement Catch Shares in the CFH and private recreational fleets.

    Here are some quotes;

    "The most recent version of our online data collection program was developed by a grant provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation."

    "There is no way to view this program as anything other than a very good thing for recreational anglers."

    "Finally, I have a direct hand in this data project. I think it is best that I don't form an opinion about catch shares until the data starts coming in anyhow. To do so would put me at risk of including a bias that doesn't need to be there. I would think that is the logical and obvious approach that anyone can agree with. Yes I need to learn more about it as a system and it's impacts along the way, but at this point I leave the battlegrounds to y'all. I believe you will find our data useful when it starts coming in. Fair enough?"


    Wow, that statement in bold is as much of a confession as he has let on regarding this project's purpose in promoting Catch Shares, despite his numerous refusals to answer pertinent questions regarding this project and its purpose regarding catch Shares..."I think it's best I don't form an opinion about catch shares until the data starts coming in anyhow." Damn.

    I believe that statement most likely ties this project into what many of us have feared all along when hearing that the Environmental Defense Fund was involved - using the data gleaned from this project to justify Catch Shares in the recreational sector. I also believe that many of us blew out of proportion the involvement that EDF may have had in this project. After doing a little research, it appears that EDF is a minor player when compared to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which after all, funded this latest version of angleraction.org's online data collection program.

    Turns out that the NFWF is a MAJOR player when it comes to promoting Catch Shares;

    http://www.nfwf.org/AM/Template.cfm?...ontentID=23795

    "Building on its 20-year history of investing in fish and wildlife conservation in the Gulf of Mexico, and its history of fishery conservation nationally, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and its partners propose a five-year plan to propel fisheries in the Gulf towards sustainability, which will mitigate impacts stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill."
    NFWF PARTNERS: NOAA Fisheries, the Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, select universities around the Gulf (previous work has been done Nova Southeastern University, University of Mississippi, University of Florida, and Texas A&M University), Texas Sea Grant, the Gulf Fishermen’s Association, Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholder’s Alliance, the Snook Foundation, Archipelago Marine Research Ltd., the Pew Charitable Trust, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Ocean Conservancy, individual fishing permit holders, and additional grant making institutions.

    "As an outcome of this five-year proposal, NFWF and its partners will promote the use of environmentally sensitive fishing practices that eliminate wasteful discards of unwanted fish and develop state of the art information management systems (angleraction.org/Catch Shares)) that ensure both commercial and recreational fishermen don’t exceed their catch allocations. The strategy will focus on the most valuable fisheries in the Gulf, including the bluefin tuna, red snapper, and reef fish fisheries. As a result of these investments NFWF anticipates a yearly 38% bycatch reduction of red snapper (or 13 million juvenile red snapper saved annually) as well as 35% reduction of bycatch mortality of adult spawning bluefin tuna (representing an annual production of 1.4 billion eggs).

    Furthermore, recreational fishermen will, for the first time in years, be able to stay within their allocated catch thereby saving hundreds of thousands of fish that will strengthen the populations of key coastal fish species such as red snapper, red drum, speckled trout and others. The success of this strategy will complement efforts by the industry and state governments to foster a market demand for products (Catch Shares) from well managed fisheries and restore confidence in Gulf seafood."

    Wow. Did you all know that Red Drum and Speckled Trout fishermen have not been staying within their allocated catch for years now? Well, this 5 year proposal is going to correct that by "saving hundreds of thousands of fish". Exactly how is this program going to save those fish? (Hint: Catch Shares will ensure that we won't have access to the fish - they are once again "protecting" the fish from...us fishermen.)

    "Strategy II: Sustainable management - Develop a state of the art information management systems that ensure both commercial and recreational fishermen don’t exceed their catch allocations
    In the Gulf of Mexico, the region has suffered from overfishing for several decades with many species at critically low levels, in particular red snapper, and other reef fish such as gag grouper, greater amberjack and grey trigger fish are currently considered overfished."

    Again, Wow. "In particular, Red Snapper are at critically low levels". Really? Seriously? What a load of Bravo Sierra (BS). Remember that this propaganda paper was released barely 2 MONTHS AGO.

    "Reef fish, including fish like red snapper and gag grouper, are species so important to fishing, restaurants, and tourism, that they have become a integral part of the cultural identity in the Gulf of Mexico. State agencies and fishermen around the Gulf are committed to tightening their seafood supply chain as a central tenant in the economic development of Gulf fisheries. NFWF will work with fishermen to foster the development of a technology-based accountability system (angleraction.org) which will enable fishermen to keep track of and report on all fish caught, thus allowing management to account for those fish that have low economic value and are normally discarded at sea. Changing the supply chain is the next step to ensure every reef fish is retained and counted toward quota, rather than lower grade fish being thrown back in favor of trying to catch higher grade fish. To do this, individual fish will be tagged with unique trackable numbers and undergo random supplemental safety testing for contaminants so consumers can find their specific fish’s credentials and know their fish is safe, domestic and responsibly harvested. Fishermen would sign Conservation Covenants that reflect additional, voluntary steps that fishermen and vessel owners would be undertaking in pursuit of accountability such as the aforementioned mandatory no discard rule and electronic monitoring to verify catch."

    "There are over 1,200 boats in the Gulf of Mexico charter fleet alone, and yet the impact of this sector to fish stocks is largely unknown. In 2010, 2.7 million residents of Gulf coast states participated in marine recreational fishing. All participants, including visitors, took nearly 22 million trips and caught and estimated 147 million fish. The most commonly caught species were spotted seatrout, red drum, sand seatrout, Atlantic croaker, and Spanish mackerel. The uncertainty that surrounds the estimates of the total number fish caught undermines the management and recovery of these species. Working with the coastal states and recreational fishing organizations NFWF will support enhanced human and electronic monitoring of the recreational fishery in the Gulf, including both the headboat fleet and individual fishermen. For example, NFWF will support the expansion of the Snook Foundations Angler Action Program from 1,000 to 10,000 participants per year, improve the online database, and support the design and development of smartphone and iPad applications for data logging. An outreach and education team will engage fishing clubs and tournaments in all Florida coastal regions in the program, and a guides program will cultivate leaders in the Florida guided fishing community who will serve as participant-mentors."

    Budget
    Bycatch Reduction $9,250,000
    Sustainable Management $7,250,000
    Critical Science Gap - Ocean Habitat Use $2,500,000
    Monitoring and Evaluation $1,000,000
    Program Administration $2,250,000
    Total 5-Year Budget
    $22,250,000


    Who is on the 2012 Board of Directors for the NFWF? None other than Jane Lubchenco herself ;
    http://www.nfwf.org/Content/Navigati...rs/default.htm

    Here's an article that illustrates the total and complete corruption of the system...this guy was supposed to be appointed the head of the NMFS but was caught cheating a Catch Share system in Alaska. They fined him $150,000, but then directed $100,000 of that $150,000 to....The NFWF to promote....Catch Shares!
    http://www.gloucestertimes.com/break...-share-booster

    Also, the NFWF was providing funding for Catch Shares at a time when Congress had prohibited it;
    "The congressionally chartered National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has been providing funding to Lubchenco's campaign to privatize and commodify the nation's fisheries in the face of a binding vote by Congress last winter to bar new catch share conversions during the fiscal 2011 spending cycle, which ends Sept. 30.

    In April, soon after Congress approved the ban on new catch share programs, the foundation approved $2.25 million in grants to groups in New England to help underwrite the costs of the catch share system which is structured to be used by members of fishing cooperatives known as sectors.

    Among the Fish and Wildlife foundation's corporate partners listed on the organization's website are BP, Wal-Mart, Exxon-Mobile, Chevron, Shell Oil, Bank of America, the Walton Family Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The latter two are also major funders of the Environmental Defense Fund, which has allied with the Obama administration to promote catch share fisheries."

    To quote Larry the Cable Guy...."I could go on like this all night"...but I think you get the picture; the NFWF and EDF are NOT the recreational fishermen's friends.

    It appears that Brett Fitzgerald has also not been forthcoming about the role that angleraction.org is designed to have to promote the use of Catch Shares in the CFH fleet here in the Gulf initially, and the private recs in the near future.

    If I am mistaken, I apologize, but I don't think I am. The wheels are in motion on this project, and time will tell I guess.

    These types of shenanigans need to be exposed for what they are, and canned, and the people responsible for trying to pull them over on us need to be held accountable for their actions. Right now, NOBODY in NOAA Fishieries/NMFS are being held accountable for their actions, yet they are demanding accountability from us? What an absolute joke.

    True focus needs to be placed on clear, TRANSPARENT, almost real-time data regarding how many fishermen are fishing out of each port on which day, how many fish they are catching, in addition to FISHERY-INDEPENDENT (AND NOAA INDEPENDENT) assessments of the fish actually out there swimming in the water (INCLUDING THOSE FISH SWIMMING AROUND OIL PLATFORMS AND ARTIFICIAL REEFS). I would bet my bottom nickel that once that total package of data comes in, we will see that there is no "crisis" and that bad ideas such as sector separation / catch shares are not only un-wanted, they are entirely un-needed.

    All the best,
    Capt. Thomas J. Hilton
    Last edited by Tom Hilton; 04-10-2012 at 01:16 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member surfman's Avatar
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    There are other programs in the works and that are currently being tried, I am skeptical though that the NMFS will even give anything that is not in line with what they want to see a second look.
    Tight Lines, Steve
    My posts are my opinion only.
    Quote Originally Posted by gill netter View Post
    COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN WILL BE HERE FOREVER. WE WILL CONTINUE TO WORK AROUND YOUR STUPID LAWS!!!!!!!!

  3. #3
    Senior Member CaptBobBryant's Avatar
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    Wow....

    You did your homework on this one.....

    I guess it is time to continue to move forward on my project and not try and rely on piggy backing on anyone else's data.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ACME Ventures Fishing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Hilton View Post
    True focus needs to be placed on clear, TRANSPARENT, almost real-time data regarding how many fishermen are fishing out of each port on which day, how many fish they are catching, in addition to FISHERY-INDEPENDENT (AND NOAA INDEPENDENT) assessments of the fish actually out there swimming in the water (INCLUDING THOSE FISH SWIMMING AROUND OIL PLATFORMS AND ARTIFICIAL REEFS). I would bet my bottom nickel that once that total package of data comes in, we will see that there is no "crisis" and that bad ideas such as sector separation / catch shares are not only un-wanted, they are entirely un-needed.

    All the best,
    Capt. Thomas J. Hilton
    This MOST people agree with. Not ALL, unfortionatly, as has been demonstrated by small
    fishing groups that flew to DC with EDF to testify against making Reliable Science MANDITORY
    in setting ACL's, the Fixing of the MSRA which sets rigid timelines, even when not based
    on reliable data, and the continued spending on Catch Shares.

    Funding of fishery policy and initives where Anti-Fishing ENGO funding takes place DOES
    create much suspicion and distrust among the fishing community. Their track record
    makes this deserving.

    As such, I talked at lenth to Brett last evening about Catch Shares, ENGO funding, NOAA
    and the NMFS's failure to provide reliable data, and how ENGO funding on Fishery Data
    collection would be met with suspicion from the fishing community. One of the most significant
    points discussed is how the data is used by the NMFS. Since NOAA has refused to allocate
    the needed funding to perform comprehensive stock assesments for most of its federally
    managed stocks, to learn the biomass, or numbers of fish in the stock, makes knowing the
    catch or landing numbers subject to the policy and bias of the NMFS. The NMFS has already
    shown that reliable data is something they are not known for providing. As such it was agreed
    that for any data provided to have any benefit to recreational fishermen, the NMFS would
    have to commit to providing reliable stock data and Participation numbers in order to determine
    the sustainability of a given fishery. This obviously is something they are not doing now.

    As to ENGO funding, I stated my opinion, that it is a bad idea. Although there is nothing more
    than I would like to see than EDF, Pew, or NFWF's money being used to ultimatly open up closed
    or overregulated fisheries, their money has primarily been used to do just the opposite. Pew's
    paid for data as an example was used in the determination to close the South Atlantic ARS. Its
    not that their data was good, since many credible sources provided data showing otherwise, but
    was rejected in favor of the data showing an Overfished status. Even if there is "No Strings Attached",
    to ENGO funding, there is still a lingering perception that bias will enter into the process as it has
    in other projects. Transparency would indeed go a long way in dispelling such a notion.

    I myself have less of an issue with where the funding comes from (so long as there is NO
    conditions set with it), but do have a concern with how the NMFS uses it. Again, unless we know
    the "Inventory" level FIRST, having the 'sales' or catch's can be used however the fisheries managers
    want. This only makes sense, but when dealing with an agency that has taken great liberties
    in determining its "Estimated" stock and catch numbers, it cannot be assumed to happen.

    Since this program will require trust and input from fishery stakeholders, I expressed my opinion that
    making sure these very people are reassured about the nature of the program, and that funding
    sources will never be allowed to add bias into the collection and compilation of the fishing data
    being given by the anglers, was key to its sucess. I also noted that distrust of these ENGO's was
    real and deserving, and as such must be addressed in an open manner. Additionally, I noted that
    great pressure must be placed upon NMFS to supply the data needed to allow catch data to be
    used in an unbiased and scientific manner.

    Bottom line is, YES we need accurate landing and catch data for the recreational sector, and NOAA
    has refused to collect this. However, unless NOAA policy changes and the push to fund market Based
    Management changes to funding Science Based Data collection, all effort to provide good catch data
    can and quite likely will be used to further the current policy which has only seen more closures and
    more burdensome restrictions than doing good for recreational fishing. Remember NOAA could have
    obtained this data themselves......If they really wanted to! So any recreational catch data collected
    MUST be used togeather with a complete picture of the fisheries, including the commercial landing
    data, the most important biomass levels of the stocks, and of coarse the number of total participants
    in the fishery.

    Although I agree, that working with EDF, Pew and NFWF is a slipery slope when the issue is the fisheries,
    I would not be opposed to taking their money, IF, this lead to correcting the problem they created
    with their undue influence in fishery management. It will require openness and transparency to do so.

  5. #5
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    Acme,
    I believe that the dishonesty in what the NFWF is doing here is putting $$$$ into a data program with the pre-determined goal of justifying implementation of Catch Shares. No NGO is going to put $$$$ into something to correct the problem they and other NGOs created with their undue influence - their $$$$ in itself is undue influence.

    If they just came out and were honest about their intentions, then that would be one thing - but they aren't.

    What should be of great concern to the inshore fishermen who have looked at the red snapper issue as "not their problem" is that now these NGOs are looking at spotted seatrout, red drum, sand seatrout, Atlantic croaker, and Spanish mackerel and claiming that they need "protection". "The uncertainty that surrounds the estimates of the total number fish caught undermines the management and recovery of these species." Wow. I didn't know that the inshore fish listed above are in need of "recovery", but according to the NFWF, they are coming to the rescue!!!

    As I have said all along, Catch Shares are not about Red Snapper - they are about every fish that we pursue from croaker to marlin.

    Also of note is the timing of when the Snook Foundation changed its name to include "Gamefish" back in August of last year, when the EDF representative was at the Snook Foundation board meeting. The Plan is to design the use of this angleraction.org to encompass every gamefish (BUT especially red snapper) to be brought under the recreational catch share umbrella.

    We need to demand an open, HONEST, transparent data collection process that has no pre-determined agenda - otherwise - NO DEAL!
    Capt. Thomas J. Hilton
    Last edited by Tom Hilton; 04-10-2012 at 09:07 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Gary S. Colecchio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Hilton View Post


    ............................... of note is the timing of when the Snook Foundation changed its name to include "Gamefish" back in August of last year, when the EDF representative was at the Snook Foundation board meeting. The Plan is to design the use of this angleraction.org to encompass every gamefish (BUT especially red snapper) to be brought under the recreational catch share umbrella.
    Tell us about that, Brett.
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

  7. #7
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    Sure thing Gary.

    We feel we have a product that will empower and benefit all recreational anglers, not just snook anglers. We have made a small name for ourselves, built a reputation as anglers who care about angling rights and fish (traditionally via habitat), but we were mostly known by snook anglers.

    Through that habitat paradigm, we always talked about the fact that if snook habitat is healthy, so are hundreds of other fish, shrimp, etc. Everyone benefits.

    We also found that once we opened the AAP to trout, reds, tarpon, permit, and bones, some folks that were outside the geographic range just assumed we were all about snook, didn't fish for snook, and therefore didn't bother to get to know what we are about. So we've talked about a name change for the past few years. In the end, we decided we had branded "Snook Foundation" enough that we didn't want to completely turn away from it, yet we needed to change it somehow to try to get more folks involved. If you look further back in our minutes, I think you will see that the name change is something we considered over a stretch of time that encompassed a few meetings. Pulling the trigger on that date had nothing to do with who was there that day.

    If you peek at our Smart Angler program, which is designed to be a self-teaching quiz about habitat, fisheries, etc - you will see that it encompasses all species of fish, and has been around for a few years. Admittedly, it has taken a back seat recently but is back on the radar. That program is pretty cool, and worth looking at. I'm glad it came up a a primary goal again, because it's development is going to be fun and beneficial to anglers.

    Anyone is invited to our board meetings. Our next one will be in July in Jensen Beach, the morning of the 7th I believe. Once the minutes from the previous meeting are reviewed by all present, they are posted on our site. Standard 501c3 stuff.

    *Edit* I don't really care what EDF's goal is, or West Marine, or anyone else that is supporting the program. It is NOT their data. Can't say that enough. They don't have access to it. They can't see the raw numbers unless they go through a formal research application, which we are also boning up on with help from some very experienced researchers at UF. As I told ACME last night, we've already had conversations with TM and copyright attorneys to discuss the best ways to protect anglers from dishonest use of raw data. We'll do the very best we can with that. Having the ultimate date being "housed" by recreational anglers sounds way better than anyone else being in charge of it.
    Last edited by brettfitz; 04-10-2012 at 09:49 AM.
    "A 'real' fisherman is one who thinks like I do. There are more of us around than you might suspect."
    -John Gierach

  8. #8
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    Brett's response kinda reminds me of that movie where the wife came home early and caught her husband in bed with another woman. She can't believe what she is seeing, and her husband just goes into complete denial.

    "What are you doing in bed with that woman?" "What woman?" That woman right there getting dressed!" "Don't know what you are talking about honey...."

    "Catch Shares?" "What Catch Shares?" His silence on the subject is deafening.

    His nonchalance about what the NGOs' goals are regarding the end use of the data provided by his program is disconcerting, to say the least.
    Last edited by Tom Hilton; 04-10-2012 at 10:35 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Gary S. Colecchio's Avatar
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    I'm familiar w/ The Snook Foundation. I have no reason to not believe what Brett says. That said it is not beyond my imagination to imagine that they are just the sort of well meaning organization to be targeted by Ocean Conservancy , Defender's , EDF, etc.

    I'm afraid that knowing that NMFS is not well known to recognise any independent fisheries data that these data will not be used at all to accomplish anything meaningful or otherwise.

    NMFS is not interested in data collection or stock assessments as demonstrated by their spending priorities. Its politically naive to think that providing them with anything no matter how compelling but not in support of their public policy is anything but an exercise in futility.

    Catch data is always disputable and really meaningless in the absence of indisputable stock assessments, which there is an intentional dearth of. But if Brett finds some value in doing it, that's great.
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

  10. #10
    Senior Member CaptBobBryant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary S. Colecchio View Post
    I'm familiar w/ The Snook Foundation. I have no reason to not believe what Brett says. That said it is not beyond my imagination to imagine that they are just the sort of well meaning organization to be targeted by Ocean Conservancy , Defender's , EDF, etc.

    I'm afraid that knowing that NMFS is not well known to recognise any independent fisheries data that these data will not be used at all to accomplish anything meaningful or otherwise.

    NMFS is not interested in data collection or stock assessments as demonstrated by their spending priorities. Its politically naive to think that providing them with anything no matter how compelling but not in support of their public policy is anything but an exercise in futility.

    Catch data is always disputable and really meaningless in the absence of indisputable stock assessments, which there is an intentional dearth of. But if Brett finds some value in doing it, that's great.
    Yes congress must force NMFS to not make any changes to FMP or impose rules unless they have a recent stock assessment (within 24 months) to base their actions on.

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