Many of you have been reading my blogs and following us on our face book page CHARTER BOAT BACK DOWN 2 or have been members of our group page of the same name. And you know by now that I have been active in organizing recreational fishermen who fish on charter boats and charter boat Captains to come together to help save your public access to our Nations federal fisheries. In doing that it also gives us hope to stay in business to provide you that access. Well after four years ,traveling to dozens of gulf council meetings in all five coastal states, sitting on four NMFS advisory panels and traveling to those meetings,many trips to Washington D.C. and thousands of dollars out of my own pocket and spending waaaay too much time from my business and family we finally have a reef fish admendment ( Am 40 ) before the Council. It is finally starting to be developed and in the scoping faze where meetings are held all along the gulf coast and are open to the general public. This is where fishermen can come and go on public record to make comments to support or not AM 40. It is also time to make suggestions or ideas to be considered when building this plan. And the main idea is to gain additional comments on how best to put together a new fishery management plan during the action and option faze ( the actual building of the plan ) that is fair and equitable to all recreational fishermen while still maintaining sound biological management of each recreational species.
But there are forces out there that do not want it to even get to the scoping faze. They do not want to give both sectors of recreational fishermen or charter fishing business owners a opportunity to explore a modern approach to fishery management and wish to keep aFMPwhich stands for Fishery Management Plan, that is almost 30 years old in place because it is now and will continue over time to slowly eradicate open public access to federal recreational fisheries. These groups have spent tens of thousands of dollars to prevent the establishment of new 21 st century FMP or Fishery Management Plans for both private boat recreational anglers and the non boat owning recreational anglers who access the resource aboard federally permitted vessels. AM 40 is not just a charter boat FMP it will establish new management plans for each sector in recreational fisheries. But why are traditional conservation groups like CCA, RFAWho is funded by Viking yachts, and a few state licensed guide Asocc who can not take paying customers into federal waters, taking a scorched earth policy and let this 27 yr old status quo FMP destroy public access to recreational fisheries?
Is it because they care about sound scientific management of recreational fisheries? No. Is it because they want the same rules to apply to every recreational fisherman or woman no mater how they access the fishery on their own private vessel or on federally permitted charter vessels ? No. Is it because they want to finally stop 20 plus years of over fishing certain stocks to ensure rebuild time lines for stocks of fish are enhanced and met? Hell No. It’s all about political reallocation of fisheries from the commercial fishing industry and the last remaining professional fishermen who compete directly for this portion of the resource and give it all ( I DO MEAN ALL ) of our Nations resources to only one elite demographic of U.S. citizens to supply enough resources to satisfy their own selfish needs.The American consumer and the non boat owning public recreational angler are not in their plans for future access to federal fisheries.
There is only one way for the above mentioned groups to accomplish this , it is to take the allocation of fish that has been set aside for the American consumer and take it away by political maneuvering and a outright hostile campaign against hard working small commercial fishing businesses as was the case during last years SEP SouthEast Economic Panel meetings where CCA paid a former NMFS scientist to produce a paper that tried to prove recreational caught fish had more value to this country . But this attempt was totally rejected by the SEP for the scientific panel knew that it would render every American who loves to eat fresh Gulf seafood but who can not fish or can not afford to fish totally excluded from their right to share in this nations public resource. Then as explained above is the scorched earth policy these groups have taken in the recreational fisheries. Status Quo management is destroying public access and soon no charter for hire businesses who provide this public access will be able to operate as seasons get so short and compressed that they no longer can stay in business. The end result of this scorched earth policy? All the fish is left only for the members of CCA,RFA etc.who have the economic means to invest over 50 thousand dollars and up to a couple of million for a offshore capable boat.
Allocation means power, allocation means money , allocation means membership which gives them both. And these groups want it all so they can have it all. Support equal access, support fair management, support sound scientific policy, Support AM 40
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