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;
"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."
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
Who is on the 2012 Board of Directors for the NFWF? None other than Jane Lubchenco herself ;
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!
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