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SAFMC March 2017 Meeting Catch Share

timwfmtimwfm Posts: 258 Deckhand

They are going to take away what fishing we have left. Share this have everyone write a comment against catch share by March 8


  • Tom HiltonTom Hilton Posts: 1,595 Captain
    Here is a synopsis os what has happened here in the Gulf of Mexico in the 10 years that Catch Shares were introduced - now they are trying to expand this cancer into the South Atlantic fisheries. We can expect the same results in the Atlantic as has already happened in the Gulf if the Catch Share cancer is expanded.

    Common denominator: Roy Crabtree serves on both the GOMFMC and SAFMC.

    The Trump administration will have something to say about this.

    THE PROBLEM: Federal fisheries management has been corrupted by a well-organized, well-funded coalition of environmental corporations, their front groups (The Charter Fishermans Association, The Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders Alliance, Gulf Seafood Institute, Gulf Fishermens Association, et al), along with our own National Marine Fisheries Service(!) with a long term plan to convert our Public Trust Resources into private commodities via Catch Shares.

    This began in 2006 with the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) when they introduced Catch Shares in our Gulf of Mexico commercial red snapper fishery.

    The legal tender for the commercial IFQ shareholders is fish, sold to fish markets or leased to other commercial fishermen by the pound.

    The commercial allocation has increased from 4.65 million pounds in 2006 to 6 million pounds in 2017. This year's poundage represents 130% of the 2006 poundage (increase of 1.35 million pounds) that equates to an ADDITIONAL $6,750,000/year in revenue if sold to a fish market, or $4,400,000/year if leased to other commercial fishermen.

    Commercial fishermen do not pay Resource Rent for the privilege of profiting from the harvest of our Public Trust Resources like other industries such as timber/mining on public lands, oil leases, etc. Commercial fishermen RECEIVE the nation’s Resource Rent when they lease to other commercial fishermen, and pocket 100% of the money into their private bank accounts.

    Commercial fishermen pay a 3% Cost recovery Fee that goes towards management and enforcement of the IFQ program - that’s it. To put this in perspective;
    The dockside price for red snapper is $4.75/pound - the 3% CRF equals 14 cents/pound.
    The dockside price for leasing quota = $3.25/pound. So, the program gets 3% to cover costs and the commercial IFQ Shareholder receives 68%. The commercial IFQ Shareholders are collecting our nation's resource rent on the commercial sale of the IFQ species and neither the nation nor the fisheries receives a dime - that's just not right.

    The legal tender for recreational fishermen is season days and bag limits per day.

    In 2006, the Gulf of Mexico recreational red snapper fishermen enjoyed a 194 day season and 4 fish per day bag limits. In 2016 that access was 11 days and 2 fish per day bag limits, representing a 97% DECREASE.

    Recreational fishing access = 3% of 2006 levels. Commercial fishing access is 130% poundage, 300% days (120 days vs 365 days today). This is no coincidence.

    The NMFS has been working in collusion with the enviro/commercial fishing interests since 2006 to constrict our access to the point that we would be willing to accept the so-called “solution” - Catch Shares. This would come in the form of IFQs or PFQs for the for-hire boats and fish tags for private recreational fishermen. This would further restrict our access DRAMATICALLY versus traditional seasons bag limits. There would not likely be enough fish tags to go around for the private recs, with a high probability of each fishermen getting 0-1 fish tags PER YEAR. For-hire customers would see their access reduced by about 2/3’s (based on 2016 numbers) if they go to IFQs/PFQs.

    NOT TO WORRY! The commercial IFQ shareholders will “come to the rescue” by leasing us “their” fish - THAT is the Plan. Today almost 40% of ALL commercial IFQ Shareholders don't even own a commercial fishing permit - that means they lease out 100% of their allocation and don't even go fishing at all anymore. The remaining IFQ shareholders lease out an additional unknown % of their shares, so I would think that at least 50% of ALL IFQ SHARES are being leased out. That represents 10's of millions of OUR dollars that COULD have been put towards our fisheries instead of enriching private bank accounts. The fisheries management councils have the authority to levy resource rent on these IFQs but have elected NOT to - the Gulf Council needs to explain how diverting hundreds of millions of dollars from our fisheries over the last 10 years that Catch Shares have been implemented is the best thing for our fisheries, or our nation.

    Ownership of our fish needs to be abolished. Commercial fishermen should be required to bid on the amount of fish desired to harvest each year and we need to prohibit leasing between fishermen - NOBODY should have the right to collect and POCKET our nation's Resource Rent. Leasing directly from the government will also allow a more affordable way for new entrants to enter the commercial fishery instead of paying exorbitant fees to commercial shareholders. Currently, new entrants must purchase quota at $45/pound (or $450,000 for $10,000 pounds which isn't near enough to make a living on), or lease from the Sea Lords at $3.25/pound. If they could lease directly from the government for say, $1.00/pound, they would have a much better chance of being successful AND the nation/fisheries would benefit. Charging resource rent for the current IFQ commercial harvest of our Public Trust Resources could raise 10's of millions of dollars per year that COULD be dedicated to helping our fisheries instead of enriching private bank accounts.

    Catch Shares certainly have no place in the recreational fisheries as seasons and bag limits have proven to work well over the decades - it’s time to correct this imbalance in our fisheries management, fire the NMFS, and delegate our fisheries management to the coastal states' fisheries commissions.

    Require recreational fishermen to pay for an annual reef fish endorsement, like a duck stamp - $25/year for coastal fishermen, or $5/day for out of tourists. This could raise 10's of millions of dollars annually that COULD go towards helping our fisheries. Combine this new revenue stream with the commercial resource rent, and we are looking at some substantial money to go towards better data, enforcement, habitat enhancement, etc.
  • HuckleberryHuckleberry Posts: 180 Officer
    So your fine with commercial IFQs as long as they lease fish from the Government correct?
  • Tom HiltonTom Hilton Posts: 1,595 Captain
    One way to get it done would be they could set aside a % for new entrants, keep their % allocations that the current IFQ shareholders are apportioned but they should be paying somewhere between $1 to $2/pound in resource rent annually. They should set the commercial allocation back to the 4.65 million pounds they had before the Hijack. Prohibit leasing between shareholders. I would estimate that about 50% of the shares are leased each year - maybe more. The 37% or so of shareholders that lease out 100% of their quota need to get a permit and start fishing again or relinquish their quota back to the government which could then be leased out to fishermen ACTUALLY doing the fishing. Funny thing is that the commercial outfits have shown that leasing the fish is a viable business model - it would be much cheaper now though.

    According to the law, these shares could be revoked at any time, so this really shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

    According to the law, the councils COULD have been charging resource rent but for some odd reason have elected not to. Imagine that - our Gulf Council thinks those hundreds of millions of dollars that COULD have been collected in the last 10 years benefitted the fishery BETTER by enriching private bank accounts instead of applying those funds towards the needs of our fisheries.
  • HuckleberryHuckleberry Posts: 180 Officer
    Boy id like to be a new entrant. How would you decide who gets to be a new entrant?
  • Tom HiltonTom Hilton Posts: 1,595 Captain
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