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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This letter is in response to Congressman Barney Frank's comments found here:

http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071201/OPINION/712010353/-1/TOWN1001

quote:

Fishery rebuilding goals should be revised, not endlessly delayed

The New Bedford Standard Times, January 01, 2008

By MICHAEL S. FLAHERTY
Mr. Flaherty, a recreational fisherman, lives in Wareham.

In the Dec. 1 issue of The Standard-Times, Congressman Barney Frank explained his position on why he is co-sponsoring the "Flexibility in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act" (HR 4087), which was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Walter Jones, R-N.C.

Congressman Frank defended the fact that the Jones bill would add yet another four more exceptions to current law in order to extend the timetables needed to rebuild weakened fish stocks. On the other hand, he insisted that he is not in favor of "open-ended" time frames for fishery rebuilding plans.

With all due respect to Congressman Frank, the wording of HR 4087 is so ambiguous that it would be nearly impossible to implement finite time frames for any fishery rebuilding schedule if it passed.

Consider the example of Georges Bank Cod. Due to the biology of that stock, under current law the rebuilding plan was legally allowed to be extended twice beyond the standard 10-year limit to 20 years. Clearly, this demonstrates that the exceptions currently written into the law already allow a great deal of flexibility when the science, not politics, indicates it is needed.

Under the Jones bill, however, care to guess what would be the new maximum time legally allowed for cod to rebuild? It is a good question. Unfortunately, nobody is able to answer it, including Congressman Frank's own office when I asked them.

Surprisingly, Congressman Frank isn't the only proponent of the Jones bill who hasn't done the math. I also asked the Garden State Seafood Association. They are a major supporter of the Jones bill, but they too could not answer this fundamentally important question.

Finally, I checked with the National Marine Fisheries Service. NMFS is the federal agency ultimately tasked with implementing fishery management plans. They took a look at the bill and concluded that they, too, could not estimate what the Jones bill would do to rebuilding schedules because it is, in their words, "rather broad."

Congressman Frank also pondered, "If the same rebuilding targets can be met in, say, 13 years instead of 10, without compromising the ultimate rebuilding goal, who is hurt?" Interestingly, this is precisely what was done with summer flounder with a special exception written into the law for that species last year. Only one year later and all but two states have overfished their quota for summer flounder yet again. Predictably, industry groups are now complaining that the special extension still did not provide enough time. Now they are demanding for the passage of the Jones bill to allow the rebuilding period to be extended further still, with literally no end in sight.

Many fishermen have called the rebuilding target itself for summer flounder "unrealistic." The Recreational Fishing Alliance, another major organization lobbying for the passage of the Jones bill, has gone so far as to claim that the target for summer flounder is actually "unattainable." Think about that for a moment. If the RFA is right, then how on Earth can the bill that they and Congressman Frank are supporting not lead to "open-ended" rebuilding schedules if the rebuilding goal can never be achieved anyway?

Like many issues where politics interferes with science, it makes no sense.

Honestly, the rebuilding target for summer flounder may indeed be unrealistic. That claim does have some merit, which is why I, as a recreational fisherman, cannot support HR 4087. The bill simply does not address that potential flaw in the system at all.

If folks are truly concerned that the rebuilding targets are somehow outdated, obsolete, and impossible to achieve, then a much more responsible and prudent position would be to insist on having fishery managers actually revisit the science originally used to determine the rebuilding targets themselves. In other words, due to impacts from modern society on our marine resources, it may indeed be the case that summer flounder, and other rebuilding species, are already rebuilt to new, lower baselines than were previously acceptable. Accordingly, the targets could be revised to reflect these contemporary realities, presuming that is the case. Naturally, though, fishing capacity would also need to be reduced appropriately to accommodate the lower baselines.

If, however, the current rebuilding targets are validated by a review using the best available science, then fishery managers must finally address the same problems that they have been putting off for years. For example, the dead discard rate of summer flounder in other non-directed commercial fisheries still remains a tremendous waste. In addition, the commercial size limit for summer flounder is a puny 14 inches, at least in Massachusetts. That is barely a fish that is mature enough to spawn once. Managers should consider increasing the minimum size to be more in line with the recreational standard, which is a much more conservative 17.5 inches coupled with a reasonably limited season. This has proven effective in keeping Massachusetts anglers from going over our quota.

During the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act last year, many loopholes were removed that were often used by industry groups to delay the steps necessary to rebuild overfished stocks. I urge Congressman Frank and the industry supporters of HR 4087 to reconsider introducing a whole slew of new ones.
Source:
http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080101/OPINION/801010362
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Lies, lies, and more lies

For the umpteenth time, John.

1) I am not associated with Pew any more than you are.

2) The website, Tidewise.Com is owned by myself and by myself alone. Not Pew (and it isn't even up and running yet).

You have no credibility because you have no facts. Regardless. Stop lying about me!!!


Thanks In Advance,
Mike F.

P.S.
If supporting the DMF's proposal for a shortened season in MA for Fluke amounts to "arguing against [my] fellow recreational fishermen", then I don't know what to tell you? Maybe it is one of the reasons that MA kept from overfishing our quota this year. But go ahead and knock that too.

By the way, how did you make out with your petition with the DMF to ban all those commercial gill nets in MA waters?

I can put up with your HYPOCRACY, John, but again, please stop lying. It only misinforms folks and that is exactly what I'm trying to avoid.

This post edited by flatts1b 08:56 AM 01/04/2008
 

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I won't debate you anymore Mikey.....you've gone over to the PEW side.

As far as credibility is concerned, well, I think the sentence above sums that up fairly well.;)

"I can put up with your HYPOCRACY, John,"

thats good....cause ya can't spell it;)


This post edited by loligo 09:37 AM 01/04/2008
 

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"I also asked the Garden State Seafood Association."

"They are a major supporter of the Jones bill, but they too could not answer this fundamentally important question."

Regarding veracity, Mike, as far as I know, you didn't ask the Garden State Seafood Association, you asked me. And I choose, as I most often do, to ignore your question.

First off, Mike, the Garden State Seafood Association represents New Jersey fishermen and businesses associated with the New Jersey commercial fishing industry. Landings of cod are, have been and in all probability will continue to be minimal, regardless of what the rebuilding period is or isn't. Hence I/we have virtually no direct interest in cod. Hence why ask me/GSSA, and why expect an answer? As you should be aware, there are a number of recreational and commercial fishermen's organizations whose members are directly and seriously interested in cod. Perhaps you should be querying them.

Secondly, Mike, there is nothing that I'm aware of that would make me/GSSA feel in any ways compelled to answer any of your questions. Speaking for myself, not for GSSA, your behavior in public internet fora towards me is, as many "witnesses" would attest, such as to warrant my not answering. Additionally, you have no status that I'm aware of other than that of a disgruntled recreational angler (perhaps because you can't catch as many fish as you feel you are entitled to) with an arsenal of anti-commercial fishing axes to grind and an excess of time to devote to grinding them. In the several dialogs I had attempted to carry out with you in the past, you misrepresented my words and their intent to such an extent that it became obvious that continuing with you was counterproductive at best. Your letter to South Coast Today clearly demonstrates that this hasn't changed.

While I suppose there is an underlying reason or two as to why you have this fixation with putting me/GSSA on what you consider to be "the spot," what it is is beyond me.

Unless and until you've proven to me that carrying out any kind of exchange with you is anything but an exercise in futility, I will refrain. You can attempt to convince whomever you like that there are other, more profound reasons for my refusal, but the bottom lines is that to me it's simply not worth the effort.

This post edited by NilsS 10:12 AM 01/04/2008
 

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Commercial size limits for summer flounder should be more in line with the rec size.WRONG!!That will only increase discard.Mass is 17.5,for the recs and New York is 19.5.It still baffles me the size differences from state to state.
 

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commfish wrote:
Commercial size limits for summer flounder should be more in line with the rec size.WRONG!!That will only increase discard.

indeed it will and does Rob. I tried to make that perfectly clear at that meeting Mikey is referring to, looks like the DMF understood that as well, because our size is still 14", just like it should be.....

Like I've explained countless times, I me myself, have strived to take larger fish, not for conservation, but for economics, however, if I'm not getting the big ones, i still need to make my days pay and if I have to take the little ones, I will/do.

As I stated at the same meeting though, in regard to min. rec sizes......I don't recall ever seeing anyone holding up a 14" fluke in pics at bait shops.....so....why do they want to raise my size to fit their agenda?

Could be, that those enviro psycho's know that raising the min. comm'l size will just make it that much harder for the little guys like me to survive, eh? That would make more sense, reasoning-wise than any other explanation I have ever heard.

Discriminate....consolidate.....eliminate. Thats their game.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It's not about you Nils

NilsS wrote:
"They are a major supporter of the Jones bill, but they too could not answer this fundamentally important question."

First off, Mike, the Garden State Seafood Association represents New Jersey fishermen and businesses associated with the New Jersey commercial fishing industry. Landings of cod are, have been and in all probability will continue to be minimal, regardless of what the rebuilding period is or isn't. Hence I/we have virtually no direct interest in cod. Hence why ask me/GSSA, and why expect an answer? As you should be aware, there are a number of recreational and commercial fishermen's organizations whose members are directly and seriously interested in cod. Perhaps you should be querying them.

Nils,

You are right. You have avoided this question like most others tripping over themselves to push a bill that they don't know what the real impacts will be. So I asked Greg D. at GSSA about 4 or 5 specific stocks that are rebuilding, including fluke (GSSA does have an interest in fluke, right). Greg is listed as GSSA's Executive Director on its website. Is he not?

Check with him regarding his response.

Have a good weekend.

Mike F.

This post edited by flatts1b 12:16 PM 01/04/2008
 

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loligo wrote:


I'm sure I'm there ;) I wonder how long it will be before he's talking to himself. Because when you stick your head in the sand and leave your butt exposed....hummm...well. I'm sure it's already happened
 

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Back on topic

I think there are several flaws in Mike's logic. First and foremost, he fails to realize that far too often in fisheries management the "best available science" isn't very good at all, in fact it is often poor science. One of the results is the rebuilding targets that may or not be attainable in the real world. But if we are going to be rules by using "best Available science" then thos goals will stand and the will not be revised. Secondly, the "best available science" may say that a stock can be rebuilt by a given date, but is that the date we should use as our target date? What are the trade-offs for shoosing that date as opposed to another date sometime later in time?

IMHO, putting some "flexability" back into managers hands is a good way to counter the sometimes capricious results of the "best available science" rule.

As far as increasing the minimum commercial sizes for fluke, Mike is just plain wrong. I wonder if he really thought thru what increasing the minimum size would mean? Mike?
 

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in the spirit of my new years resolution....

flatts1b wrote:
In addition, the commercial size limit for summer flounder is a puny 14 inches, at least in Massachusetts. That is barely a fish that is mature enough to spawn once. Managers should consider increasing the minimum size to be more in line with the recreational standard, which is a much more conservative 17.5 inches coupled with a reasonably limited season. This has proven effective in keeping Massachusetts anglers from going over our quota.

The very fact that Ma. min. comm'l size is actually 14", is a funny point to use to impress folks that we are somehow not being conservative here in Ma. If I am not mistaken, Ma. was the first state to actually have a size limit and we were the state with the largest size limit, for many years. Apparently however, this is of no significance to Mr. Flaherty, who's interest seems more to be how he can influence the greater public as to how to bring further harm to all fishermen, especially the ones right here in my home state.

Obvious as may be to some who read here, why a 14" size minimum for commercial only makes sense, it may not be so obvious for others.

I'm not going to go into the whole draggers throw back story here, but I am going to segue directly to the finer points involved in this particular persons argument, strictly for a higher size limit for Ma.

As a I have pointed out and has been discussed here several times, the majority of Ma. summer flounder fishery is conducted inshore, during the summer. As a result in the trawl fishery, the discards of small fish is negligible and the mortality of undersized/regulatory discards is also rather low. The efforts of the hook sector, only account for around 10% of the quota, it does vary some years, but it's a small percentage of the landings. Of those landings, the majority of these are a combination of the many landings from several hundred permitees, most of whom are landing less than 50#'s., with the landings from the few fishermen like myself, not really adding up to nearly as much collectively as the landings of the
permitees with small landings, collectively, the state itself has conceded that there are less than 50 of us who are even landing the 200#'s we are allowed with any regularity. That said, the hook fishermen with the small landings are the ones who also are typically landing the smaller fish, its a matter of skill and commitment, as in those of us who are actual fishermen are able to better discern the catch through our inherent ability. So, if there is a problem with small fish being caught, which there isn't, it's obvious where the problem lies.

So, most of the folks who are fishing for fluke recreationally, at least all the ones I've seen or know, want to catch big fluke, not small fluke. As anyone with a brain knows, making us catch bigger fish here at the top of the flukes migratory range will have scant, if any effect to the availability of larger fish for Ma. anglers , or comm'l fishermen, they simply aren't here long enough and the states to our south with their offshore fisheries and enormous rec fishery are of a
tremendously larger impact to any significant improvements in stocks.

So, unless I am completely mistaken, raising the size limit here, will only serve to further limit little guys like me, ability to make a living and little else. You think about that for a while folks.

-JR

This post edited by loligo 05:24 PM 01/04/2008
 

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The whole MSA is flawed.Their science is worthless.It has had negative economic impact on all user groups.It was also supposed to look at how regulation would affect fishing communities.I don't think it ever has.Jones has addressed some of this problem with longer rebuilding time frames.A good point in my opinion.Where did they ever come up a time frame of 10 years...same place they come up with every other number they pull it out of their air,for lack of better words.Everything has to be rebuilt in 10 years.over and out.BS.To what level..well they pulled that number out of their ass as well.In my life i have never seen Fluke at the abundance they are now.Guess what boys i do not even have a fluke permit,but more concerned over all this poor science and poor managment.The problem here is we have people playing God or mother nature if you will and again just pull numbers out their ass,without regard to natural predation or natural cycles.Everything has to be rebuilt to their highest level ever.Every species has to co-exist at peak numbers.It does not always work that way.You either have alot of foxes or alot of rabbits.When the foxes all die of starvation the rabbits come back and again the foxes come back.It's been going on forever.I have had enough saltwater run down my ass to tell you that this also applies to the marine species.Now back to the topic...Flatts you speak like a man with a hidden agenda.Really you must know why comms are at 14".How much rec fishing do you do?Have problems catching fish do ya?Last and final question did you ever get a wedge and have your lunch money stolen only to get stuffed in a locker with a jock strap around your face for breathing apparatus,if i was a bettin man.......

This post edited by commfish 08:04 PM 01/04/2008
 

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commfish wrote:
The whole MSA is flawed.

Absolutely. If you go back to the first law in 1976, the law has really never been right. The SFA was when things really hit the fan with lawsuits and a general trend toward focusing on the 'science' rather than the other parts, such as protecting communities.

(The 1976 law basically built up our fisheries to an extreme level and they apparently tried to reverse that in 1996, which was really when the law cracked down on fishermen in a big way. Today's problems are really rooted in the 1996 law when 'science' became all-important. But really no matter how you look at the law, its never worked from the start.)

The current issue with the rebuilding targets and fluke is just another example of how messed up the law really is. Granted, fishery management is not an easy thing to start with- and I feel that the US is one of the countries that has tried hardest with fishery regs (along with Canada)- but I really gotta believe that we could do a heck of a lot better than the MSA.
 

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Nice avatar Rob


I think it's come down to a very simple issue.

Who do we want setting our domestic fishing policies?

Right now we are dealing with policies that are ONLY in place because of the interferences of some extremely well financed enviro-whacko's.
Imagine no SFA, no reauthorized MSA......, uh huh.

Whats in this for them? I can't say, because I don't know....thats the truth, something a certain person, whos's motivations I do understand , claims I have a problem with. What I do know is this- since this groups have started INTERFERING with our domestic fishing policies, their ranks have increased, substantially,while OUR ranks have dwindled....no coincidence? No coincidence, no. Look at the quite recent situation in the Gulf with the red snapper fishery.....how did that happen?
uh huh. Look at more local and pending fluke situation,,,,,again,
where did this controversy come from?......uh huh.

There are literally thousands of people who are making a living
putting you and I out of business. To what end you ask? To our's,
I fear. What is motivating this? Goooood question......
Could it be something as simple as the good old $? Hmmmmm.

If in fact these enviro whackos were really concerned with resource restoration/preservation/ why, please some tell me why, they continue to push for our domestic fisheries policies aimed at putting the smallest of us out first? Uh huh. It's a lot easier to get rid of us first, we don't have big $ to defend ourselves, like the BIG corporations do. Oh sure, they are messing with them too, but, it's not them that continue to go out of business, business is in fact what the big corporations are about, just in this case, it's the fishing business. The big corporations have everything on their side, the tax breaks, the political favors etc etc.....what do we have? Not much, in contrast. The one thing we do have however, is the truth, the problem for us is getting the public to understand the difference.
That difference is that the majority of our fisheries problems styem from allocation issues, like how we favor, politically, those who do the most damage to the resouces and continue to abuse, neglect and villify those of us who have had a far lesser impact.

The Enviros aren't stupid, they're just crazy. It's become all too obvious that they don't give a **** about "the difference", they are just going to lie and lie and coerce and manipulate the system. They say they care about fishermen....they don't, they only care about $

I've try to impress that for quite a while....go to PEW site and do a search for "gillnets"....nothing? Kinda weird huh? They aren't disseminating between who is and who isn't doing what, most of the time, they are simply saying "bad fisherman...bad fisherman".

You can't simply paint us all with the same brush, it doesn't work.
Do they care? Look at the reality of our contemporary policies and think about how they came to be and what those policies have led to,
you can only reach one conclusion. It's about the $$$$

This post edited by loligo 05:37 AM 01/05/2008
 

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Big "corporate" guys aren't all that ecstatic about fisheries management

Actually, I deal with big businesses, small businesses and in-between businesses, big, intermediate and small boat guys, recreational, party/charter and commercial guys, full- and part-timers, fishermen, dealers, processors and suppliers. And I don't know one of 'em (other that those who have been bought and paid for by the antis) who are happy with fisheries management today, who like the way things are going for their businesses, or who don't realize that drastic changes in Magnuson and in the agency that administers it are necessary if we are to have a fishing industry (or fishing industries, if you'd rather) that is at all recognizable a couple of years down the line.

We're all in this together, and we're only going to get out of it - if we can - together. And anyone who doesn't realize that, and doesn't take it to heart, is very possibly, though unintentionally, helping the other guys.

p.s. - JR, it's about far more than the money. It's about the future use of our coastal and offshore waters and who gets to call the shots. And I haven't seen any indication that Big Energy (used to be Big Oil, but not no more) cares a rat's butt about any fishing entity, no matter how big, unless it can be co-opted.

This post edited by NilsS 10:11 AM 01/05/2008
 

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NilsS wrote:

We're all in this together, and we're only going to get out of it - if we can - together. And anyone who doesn't realize that, and doesn't take it to heart, is very possibly, though unintentionally, helping the other guys.

I agree.

It's the taking it to heart part, I worry about.





This post edited by loligo 10:11 AM 01/05/2008
 
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