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Thursday
Jul102014

Feds Slash Season for Red Snapper

“Environmental organizations, who have infiltrated our federal government -- they are hell-bent on reducing the fleet of fishermen.” --- Capt. Bob Zales

Back in 2009,  I started warning the nation’s anglers about the dangers posed to the future of fishing by the Obama Administration. Many of those threats center around the National Ocean Council and Catch Shares. But anti-fishing sentiment pervades this administration in general, as Zales, a Florida charter captain, points out in the aftermath of the feds reducing the red snapper season from 40 days to 9.

Zales made the comments in a Fox News article about the closure.

"I already had the boats sold out for the season and then I had to cancel those trips because I couldn't provide the service," added  Capt. Mark Hubbard.

From Fox: “Hubbard and other fishermen point out that the number of red snapper this year is the highest in decades, and say the regulation is purely bureaucratic and not really about protecting fish. The recreational fishing industry employs an estimated 150,000 people along the Gulf and pumps some $7 billion into the local economies, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. In 2012, more than 3.1 million recreational anglers took 23 million fishing trips in the Gulf of Mexico region.”

Here’s what I wrote in February 2010 for ESPN Outdoors:

Environmental groups enthusiastically support federal management of our fisheries, starting with the oceans, coastal waters, and Great Lakes. They now are pressuring President Barack Obama to by-pass Congressional oversight and public discussion and instead issue an Executive Order, endorsing the recommendations of his Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force and creation of a massive federal bureaucracy.

This should come as no surprise, since members in many of these organizations favor creation of “marine protected areas,” where all uses --- including recreational angling --- are banned. Almost certainly they envision these being an integral part of the “spatial planning” strategy created by the task force and to be enforced by a National Ocean Council.

What might come as a surprise, though, is that these same groups produced a “wish list” document, Transition to Green, shortly after Obama’s election. And what has happened since, starting with the President’s creation of the task force, suggests that this special interest group --- with little to no public input --- is controlling public policy on a staggering scale.

Who wrote that document and who is determining the future of fishing in federal waters these days? Here’s the list:

AMERICAN RIVERS - CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

CLEAN WATER ACTION- DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE - EARTHJUSTICE -

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA - ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND - FRIENDS OF THE EARTH

GREENPEACE - IZAAK WALTON LEAGUE - LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS

NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY - NATIONAL PARKS CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION

NATIONAL TRIBAL ENVIRONMENTAL COUNCIL - NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION

NATIVE AMERICAN RIGHTS FUND - NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL - OCEANA

OCEAN CONSERVANCY - PEW ENVIRONMENT GROUP

PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY - POPULATION CONNECTION

POPULATION ACTION INTERNATIONAL

RAILS-TO-TRAILS CONSERVANCY - SIERRA CLUB - THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY

THE TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND - UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS

WORLD WILDLIFE FUND

Wednesday
Jul092014

Anti-Fishing Advocates Take Advantage of Shark Attack

Ken Jones photo of Manhattan Beach pier

Those who want to keep us from fishing are just as relentless as those who want to take away our guns.

That’s why I knew exactly what would happen after a swimmer was bitten by a hooked shark as he swam near a pier where people were fishing.

And it did. Manhattan Beach government officials in the People’s Socialist Republic of California immediately banned fishing on the pier.

Now People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is pushing for a permanent ban. In a letter to the city’s major, it said the following:

“When you consider that in 2012, anglers at the Manhattan Beach Pier reeled in at least four great white sharks on three separate occasions, it seems clear that the best way to protect public safety and reduce the risk that another swimmer will be injured or killed by a panicked or confused shark is to ban fishing at the pier permanently.

“Banning fishing will spare some of the millions of sharks, birds, turtles and other animals who sustain debilitating injuries after swallowing fish hooks or becoming entangled in fishing line every year."

Never mind that the swimmer was largely responsible for the attack. The zealots don’t care about addressing the cause of the incident, any more than they care about preventing future mass murders. They see these tragedies simply as opportunities.

What they care about is imposing their Big Government world view on the rest of us. Admittedly, a ban on fishing probably isn’t in the top five of their wish list. But it’s still there, along with gun control, open borders, public-funded birth control and abortion, and a power grid powered by unicorn farts and other sources of green energy.

PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said this:

“This weekend's incident was painful for both victims — the young shark who struggled for more than 30 minutes while impaled on an angler's hook and the swimmer who had the bad luck to stumble into the shark's path. PETA is calling on the mayor to look out for everyone who wants to enjoy Manhattan Beach, including the sharks who naturally shun human contact and, like humans, rarely attack without provocation.” (Notice use of “who” as a pronoun for sharks to humanize them.)

And in a post about the incident for LA Weekly,  the anti-fishing writer advocates a ban on fishing at all L.A. area piers. He also pointedly described the angler as a “tattooed fisherman.” No attempt to poison the waters for fishermen there, huh?

I don’t know the specifics regarding piers and fishing in California. But clearly swimming and surfing should not be allowed within a couple of hundred yards of piers used for fishing. If that’s not happening now, some sort of system needs to be established to accommodate all users. Possibly that would included designating some piers for fishing and the rest for other uses.

We can all live together peacefully. The problem is that some are willing to do so only by imposing their ideology on the rest of us.

Tuesday
Jul082014

Pew Accused of Using 'Fake' Anglers to Promote No-Fishing Zone

In Australia, preservationist groups have been accused of using “fake” anglers to endorse a massive no-fishing zone in the Coral Sea.  One of those is Pew, also an advocate for similar restrictions in U.S. marine waters.

If they are using this tactic, I am not at all surprised. For these people, the end--- imposing their Big Government world view--- justifies the means, and facts mean little. It’s all about appealing to emotion. It’s all about providing a place where fish “can have a safe home.”

According to Fishing World, Pew counters that the “anglers” featured in a brochure promoting the closure were volunteers.

“If they are also members or supporters of other environment groups, such as Greenpeace, it’s not something Pew is aware of and is really their choice,” a Pew spokesman said.

Read more here.

In this country, meanwhile, Pew, the Environmental Defense Fund, and others are coordinating efforts with the Obama Administration to restrict access through Catch Shares and “zoning” of uses in our waters by the National Ocean Council. You can learn more about both through the Activist Angler search window at top right.

Sunday
Jul062014

Kendall Jones, Conservation, and the Arrogance of the Ignorant

A farmer wants to harvest more corn from a field so he grows more plants. But he doesn’t get more corn. Why?

More plants diminished the nutrients that each received, lessening production.

In other words, he couldn’t grow more corn because his field had a finite carrying capacity.

Farmers understand this.

So do wildlife managers. That’s why we have hunting seasons for deer, turkey, and other game. That’s also one of the main reasons that big game hunting is allowed in Africa.

I mention this for two reasons:

1. The furor that Kendall Jones has created recently among “animal lovers” by posting photos of her big game kills in Africa.

2. These same people, who know nothing about wildlife management and ecological balance, would like nothing better than to prohibit both hunting and recreational fishing worldwide.

And they are hateful, malicious, and unrelenting in their zeal and ignorance.

A tweet (now deleted) from singer Diane Warren: “I wish someone would hunt that texas cheerleader bitch animal murderer and hang her head in a lions den. But what do I really think…— Diane Warren

A petition at Change.org to ban Jones from Africa collected more than 100,000 signatures with this incredibly naïve concept of wildlife management:

“Kendall Jones is an American-born hunter who has entered the continent and has been hunting African wildlife under the facade of conservation. She has publicly stated that she hopes to have a television hunting show and she is using endangered and helpless African animals as a stepping stone to further her popularity on social media platforms . . .

“With enough support globally we can take a step in the right direction with regards to animal conservation, and help put an end to practices such as these, in hopes of conserving what precious little is left of our natural world.”

And a caption of Jones with an elephant in the International Business Times said this: “African elephants are being hunted to extinction and are  now critically endangered.”

That’s not true. In some countries, they were nearly poached to extinction. In others, their numbers must be reduced regularly. Jones did not kill a “critically endangered” elephant.

This post, however, is not about Kendall Jones, her character, or her motivation. It’s about hunting in the 21st century.

The truth is that we cannot have healthy and sustainable populations of many wildlife species without management. That’s because we share this planet with them, and, with our cities and farms, have diminished the habitat available for them. Just as a field can’t grow an infinite amount of corn, a forest can’t sustain an infinite number of deer.

What happens when wildlife aren’t harvested by hunters to manage their numbers? Conflicts increase, often with harm occurring to both animals and people, as well as property. Also, more animals are likely to die of disease and starvation when their numbers reach unsustainable levels.

Additionally, as hunters and anglers already know, they are the real conservationists because they put their money where their mouth is. What they spend to hunt and fish goes directly for management, betterment, and, yes, even protection of wildlife, whether in the United States or Africa. In this country, hundreds of millions of dollars annually are collected through excise taxes on hunting gear and fishing tackle and then distributed to the states through the Wildlife and Fish Restoration Program.

In many countries of Africa, meanwhile, the huge fees that big game hunters pay to shoot individual animals go to overall protection of the species. And they do not shoot “endangered” species, as Change.org alleged.

Also, animals shot legally are worth much more to local economies than those that are illegally poached. And as hunters keep numbers to what is sustainable for the habitat available, they reduce wildlife damage to crops and villages.

But facts mean little to the millions of people like Diane Warren who know nothing about ecological balance and what we must do if we want to continue sharing the finite resources of this planet with a multitude of wildlife species.

They don’t want us to hunt and fish, and, as I’ve said before, they are unrelenting. While we are out enjoying a day in the woods or on the water, they are working actively to soil our image, and, ultimately, prohibit us from enjoying those pastimes that define us as a nation of sportsmen and conservationists.

And if we aren’t ever vigilant in promoting hunting and fishing, and the many benefits that they provide both to us as a society and to wildlife in general, we will lose.

 

Friday
Jul042014

No Better Country Than America for Fishing, Hunting

 

“What people don't understand is this is something that we only have in America. There is no other country in the world where the ordinary citizen can go out and enjoy hunting and fishing. There's no other nation in the world where that happens. And it's very much a part of our heritage.” Norman Schwarzkopf

 “Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land.  It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn.” Chuck Clark

“The true fisherman approaches the first day of fishing season with all the sense of wonder and awe of a child approaching Christmas.” Robert Traver

“Thank you, dear God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough. Thank you for the rain. And for the chance to wake up in three hours and go fishing: I thank you for that now, because I won't feel so thankful then.”  Garrison Keillor 

Why We Fish--- Reel Wisdom From Real Fishermen

“Hell, if I'd jumped on all the dames I'm supposed to have jumped on, I'd have had no time to go fishing.” Clark Gable

“Leave part of the yard rough. Don't manicure everything. Small children in particular love to turn over rocks and find bugs, and give them some space to do that. Take your child fishing. Take your child on hikes.” Richard Louv