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History Repeating Itself?

Tom HiltonTom Hilton Posts: 1,595 Captain
When Catch Shares were implemented up in the NE a while back, NOAA Fisheries claimed there was no need for the required referendum since there was already a "pilot program" in place. The referendum is required for "new" Catch Share programs.

The parsed the law to push it through at all costs - that action is now under investigation.

Now they are trying to implement Catch Shares in the recreational sector here in the Gulf using the same tactics - 2 pilot programs are in the works, and I'm sure that when the time comes for a referendum, Crabtree and Co. will find one excuse or another why the required referendum is not legally required.

Sector Separation, which provides the foundation for Catch Share implementation here in the Gulf recreational fisheries, has gone to scoping. Scoping usually requires that the Council goes through the process of allowing all affected stakeholders to voice their concerns about said project. Since most people don't have the time and/or cannot afford to attend the Gulf Council meetings (always held in mid-week), scoping meetings are held in several port cities across the Gulf, usually after work hours, to allow the average Joe to attend.

But alas! The EDF funded, scripted, and counseled Charter Fisherman's Association leader Gary Jarvis is making the case that scoping has ALREADY been done. He claims that there is no need to hold the meetings across the Gulf to allow the average Joe to voice his concerns. This reeks of the same foul smell that happened when EDF/NOAA Fisheries skirted the law to force Catch Shares up in the NE, claiming the required actions had ALREADY been done.

Of course they don't want it to go to scoping as they already know most Gulf fishermen oppose it.

Greed has no boundaries it seems.

Capt. Thomas J. Hilton

From: [email protected]
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2012 22:18:56 -0400 (EDT)
To: <[email protected]>
Cc: <[email protected]>
Subject: Time for action and options on RFA 39

Mr chairman ,
As president of the Charter Fisherman's Association and one of the developers of the plan once known as SOS or Sector Separation and now known as reef fish amendment 39 which will establish a separate Charter for Hire FMP. I want to take this opportunity to make a request that I would like for you and the entire council to consider.The birth of admendment 39 officially began in August of 2008 at the red snapper AP meeting held in New Orleans when a small group of federally permitted charter boat Captains attended that meeting and as part of that group I made a presentation to the AP on a management plan that would change the way red snapper could be managed in the charter for hire sector .

The presentation outlined a plan that would improve the flexibility small business needed to stay profitable, improve the flexibility that public recreational fishermen needed to access the red snapper fishery, help stop the erosion of the historical public access to that fishery , improve accountability in the charter for hire sector, stop over fishing of the portion of the ACL historically landed in the recreational charter for hire sector, and develop a better data collection system that would improve fishery dependent science and enforcement.

4 years later and now including most federal species this plan with great painstaking discussion , workshops , testimonies , staff presentations and evaluation is now at the beginnings of a planned admendment process.It is in the interest of timely progress of that process that I make my request that you begin the process of developing the options and actions portion of this admendment. This charter for hire FMP admendment has already gone through the scoping process ad nauseam for 4 years.

Since the Oct 08 gulf council meeting in Mobile Al. There has been a total of 18 council meetings where almost every aspect of the issues of developing a Separate FMP for the CFH sector has been discussed both in committee and in full council and at every one of these meetings there has been and was opportunity for personal and electronic public testimony for the general public on this issue and the normal discussions between council members and stakeholders in this process. This issues has been on the agenda at council meetings in all 5 coastal states covering ports and areas from Key West to Corpus Christi Tx for the public to attend a total of 18 meetings to have a in person say in the development of this plan and had 4 years to come up with alternative ideas as well.

This issue has been at the forefront of articles, printed op-eds, discussion papers, fishing blogs , and special workshops,meetings and AP panels and developing pilot projects to examine the improvement of managing our fisheries in the charter for hire sector. I will give you a simple time line on what has been done up until now in the public discussion and scoping of this plan as presented and evaluated by NMFS and the Gulf council staff.
• In Oct of 2008 in Mobile Al the SOS plan was presented to the gulf council.

• In Jan of 2009 in Bay St Louis Ms the gulf council staff developed presented a white paper examining 3 different aspects of managements the 3 were the SOS plan , council plan , and Ad Hoc Red Snapper AP plan.

• In August 2009 in New Oleans a MRIP data collection work shop was held for 2 days with scientist, enforcement, managers and stakeholders in the charter for hire industry to discuss the issue of self reported electronic log books for the charter for hire sector and the types of data needs , validations, enforcement and scientific value. This data collection system is a corner stone of the charter for hire FMP that we presented.

• In Oct 2010 in Baton Rouge La. We presented the council a sector separation concept paper that we had put together with input from fishermen and businesses from all 5 coastal states and had committee discussions and public comment that led to the development of a work shop to further vet out what sector separation meant to recreational fishery management .

• In Nov 2010 in Tampa, Fl A special public sector separation workshop was held for 3 days To try and define what would a Separate Sector FMP look like and what it meant to management of recreational fisheries in the future.
• In April 2011 in Orange Beach AL. Andy Strelcheck and his staff presented a 12 series scenario of what impact would sector separation and the plan as presented have on future access for the public non boat owning fishermen. This presentation was also given in May to members of the public and charter industry in Florida in Tampa and Destin, Also In Orange Beach Al, and in Tx.

• And In April 2012 in Corpus Christi Tx the gulf council staff presented the sector separation paper showing the reality of trends and future of the charter for hire sector under status quo management and compared benefits of a new separate FMP for the charter for hire sector.

So in closing I again respectfully request that we begin the actual building of this Admendment through the options and actions process. No one can see what we can develop until this actually begins. Industry and the public on both sides of the issue keep requesting to see what it will look like other than what we want it to look like as presented. And Quoting direct from the scoping document presented tomorrow it even states "

"The question most often asked by those who wish to know the
length of the private recreational and for-hire fishing seasons before taking position for or against
sector separation can only be answered once (and if) the Council makes the policy decision and apportions resources between the for-hire and private recreational sectors."

It is past time to develop those answers. Thank you for your consideration,

Capt. Gary Jarvis President CFA
F/V Back Down 2
Providing access to our Gulf fisheries for the American consumer and recreational fishermen for 34 years


  • ACME Ventures FishingACME Ventures Fishing Posts: 851 Officer
    He wants a "Signed, Blank Check" basically! This is the same man, when finally frustrated with me continually asking for his
    groups position on Mandating Science Based data in Setting ACL's, finally responded with...'Science wont save you, in fact
    science may make it worse'.... really shows where he and his group stand. They simply want full control to manage the fisheries
    in a way that profits them the most. He has proved it has nothing to do with conservation.

    To think he is even suggesting that seperating the allocations is some how going to affect the fishing seasons is proposteroius!
    Then again, they have pretty much ignored things like the Truth and Facts in making their case!
  • offshore hunteroffshore hunter Posts: 7 Greenhorn
    Oh how true.......
    Hello, boys and girls.....
    Here's some facts that have not changed;
    FACT- Recreational fishing is done by recreational anglers
    FACT - A Recreational angler can choose to hire a pro captain and boat to.....RECREATIONALLY FISH
    FACT - Recreational data collection improvement has been stymied for over a decade by NMFS
    FACT - NMFS top dog, Jane Lubechenco, defies the very Congress which funds her agency

    I got a phone call tonight from a friend who attended the 'informal chat with crabtree'. Seems as though there was some serious disrespect and intimidation going on. Typical thuggish behaviour from those used to bullying their way through.

    And how about the jarvis letter above? Laughable, if it were not for the serious implications. It certainly highlights the disdain jarvis has for the fishing public. Ad nauseum describes the pablum that is continuously poured out upon tired ears about the smokescreen (sector separation) that is being used to cloak the theft of our public resource.

    Recreational fishing is a sector. Recreational fishing guides are a service to that sector. Most Guides, captains and for hire operators KNOW this and do not support the notion of sector separation.

    So where were all these sector separation advocates who are bent at all costs on the 'survival of their industry' when NMFS took away their rights? Where were they when the federal permit holders got squeezed by NMFS and their some-times crafty lawyers?

    They were absent for what they now claim causes them to demand ownership of a public resource.

    Tomorrow afternoon should pretty interesting.

    We will see if the Council is willing to go along with the EDF funded march towards total ownership of our fisheries. So far, they have. But to blow off scoping hearings? THAT would cause a stir, I'm guessing.

    Denny O'Hern
    Fishing Rights Alliance Executive Director
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