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Entries in Environmental Defense Fund (25)


Anglers Should Support Improving Magnuson-Stevens

As progress is made to better manage the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery, with the likelihood of more angling opportunities for recreational anglers, the Environmental Defense Fund and others who want to restrict access are stepping up their well-funded opposition.

That's why Jeff Angers at the Center for Coastal Conservation encourages fishermen  to talk to their elected officials  during August, urging them to support improving the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

He also points out that, despite its misleading name, the Charter Fisherman's Association does not represent most charter captains in the Gulf.

Here's more from Angers:

In the last six weeks, we’ve made more progress toward improving the Magnuson-Stevens Act on behalf of recreational anglers than at any time in the last six years. 

When you look at how far we’ve come -- passage by the full U.S. House of Representatives of Magnuson-Stevens modernization, approval by the Senate Commerce Committee of the Rubio-Nelson Fisheries Management bill, and introduction just last week of Rep. Garret Graves’ H.R.3094 bipartisan legislation to recognize the Gulf States’ historic cooperative plan for improved red snapper fishery management -- there’s no question we are gaining major yardage.
That’s why the shrill rhetoric of our adversaries is reaching new heights.
Vastly unpopular in the Gulf region, the Environmental Defense Fund must operate under pseudonyms. One alias (of many) is the “Charter Fisherman’s Association.” Heavily funded by the Washington mega-lobbyists at EDF, when CFA speaks, it’s EDF money doing the talking -- and this week, they’ve been doing a lot of it.
My friend Bob Zales is the well-known president of the Panama City Boatmen Association with real-life bona fides as president of the National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO).

Bob’s perspective: “If you poll the 1,300 federally permitted charter vessel owners in the Gulf, over two-thirds would support the proposed five Gulf State plan and legislation recently introduced in the House.” 

Zales added, “Charter Fisherman's Association is an Environmental Defense Fund-created and -funded association to help push the EDF agenda.  Their membership does not represent the majority of charter boat owners in the Gulf.  They are heavily financed by EDF so are able to make a lot of noise in key areas.  The grassroots charter boat owners are not able to be heard as loudly since they cannot afford to travel to D.C., all of the Gulf Council meetings, or areas where a few who are financially supported can.”

Zales speaks the truth. Federally permitted charter owners know, just like we do, that federal Gulf red snapper fishery management is badly broken. These hard-working folks are no more supportive of the status quo than we are, and they trust the states to do a better job, just like we do. 

Still, EDF’s money buys a lot of talk and we have to make sure our representatives and senators hear the truth.
We’re making progress, but we can’t stop now.  Now is the time to redouble our efforts to seek out our elected representatives when they conduct town hall meetings or hold office hours during the upcoming August Congressional Recess.
Tell your elected representatives how important it is to modernize the Magnuson-Stevens Act so recreational anglers like us can have a fair shake.  Remind them of the jobs we create and the money we contribute to fisheries conservation.
Tell them, “I fish -- I fish and I vote."


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.


EDF Wants More Punishment for Recreational Anglers, Says RFA

The Gulf of Mexico is ground zero for the assault on recreational angling. That’s because commercial fishermen are colluding with the anti-fishing Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to further restrict the red snapper fishery for sport fishermen.

The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) asserts that a lawsuit “argues how recreational fishermen aren’t being punished enough by our federal government.”

It also says this:

The Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance is a group of commercial fishermen in the Gulf, specifically owners of individual fishing quota (IFQ) and red snapper ‘catch shares’ – who are themselves supported financially by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). 

“The lawsuit through K&L Gates would force more restrictive accountability measures on recreational anglers in the Gulf of Mexico.

“An ‘accountability measure’ is punishment for catching too many fish; one such punishment is an in-season closure, another is a harvest payback of any overage.  The final ‘accountability measure’ which would forever change the way we fish is the IFQ or ‘catch share’ for the recreational sector.

Catch Shares is a scheme pushed insistently by this administration to manage fisheries by turning a public resource into a private commodity. Mostly it is directed at commercial fisheries, as individuals are allotted shares of the overall allowed harvest. But if used with a mixed fishery, it could have catastrophic consequences for recreational angling, as an infinite number of anglers are restricted to a limited collective share.

The reality, meanwhile, is that recreational anglers harvest only about 2 percent of marine species. Commercials take the rest. Yet recreational fishing, with minimal harvest, is more beneficial to the economy.

RFA is soliciting help to combat this attack. Go here to learn more.



Angler Criticizes Behavior of Catch Shares Supporters

Pushed by this administration and environmental groups, Catch Shares is a scheme to manage a public resource (fisheries) as a commodity for the benefit of a few. Mostly its implementation impacts commercial fishermen, as is playing out right now in New England, where smaller operators are being forced out of business by larger, who consolidate shares.

But if this scheme is used with “mixed” (commercial and recreational) fisheries, it also would limit access and participation for sports fishermen.

To gain support in the recreational community, those advocating Catch Shares seek to divide and conquer with “sector separation.” In other words, favored charter captains would receive guaranteed shares separate from recreational fishing in general.

Angler Tom Adams recently attended a Congressional field hearing regarding Catch Shares in the Florida Panhandle. In a letter to the editor of The Sun, he expressed his dismay at the behavior of those favoring Catch Shares. Here’s an excerpt from his letter:

“I was surprised with their obvious lack of manners when they interrupted a full Congressional hearing with shouting and clapping when someone made some statements promoting Catch Shares. It shows their lack of respect for the democratic process. It also shows this group will do anything to promote Catch Shares and sector separation, which will only put more money in their pockets and take away from the recreational fisherman.

“This loud group that represents maybe 10 percent of commercial and even less than that of the recreational side of fishermen is backed by groups such as EDF (Environmental Defense Fund) and other environmental groups who are shutting down our fishing seasons and limiting our access to all fisheries in the name of environmental protection.

“All of us who live here know that we have had more snapper in the last six or seven years than we have ever had, and yet they only give us 40 days to fish for them. These unnecessary short seasons are killing our economy. “Now we have found Steve Southerland, someone willing to stand up for us in Congress to help cure these wrongs and have our plight listened to by all of Washington!

“This is great except for this small group of people that is attacking him in newspapers and on the internet. They don’t care about the truth, only winning. This is part of the same group that interrupted the field hearing last week.

“Part of this loud group is not even from this district of Florida for that matter and the money that brings them here and pays for their articles and their buses to bring them here to disrupt a formal democratic process is not even from this coast.” 


Why Is Catch Shares So Strongly Opposed? Here's Why:


One of the best arguments against Catch Shares that I’ve seen in awhile can be found in the comments section below a News Observer article here. The author is “DickyG.”

Catch Shares is a scheme pushed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and other environmental groups to manage ocean fisheries. They argue that is a “conservation” measure designed to sustain those fisheries.

In reality, Catch Shares would privatize a public resource, by granting “shares” to individual boats and companies. It is to fisheries what the failed and discredited “cap and trade” scheme pushed by this administration was for energy.

Under Catch Shares, eventually those with the deepest pockets would own the resource, as smaller businesses and independent fishermen are driven out of business. That is happening in New England, where the scheme already has been implemented.

Most of the focus, thus far, has been on commercial fisheries. But if the NOAA/EDF preservationists get their way, recreational fishing could also be restricted as Catch Shares are applied to “mixed” fisheries. That would mean one collective fixed share for the recreational sector, which would force limits on participation, deny growth, and cripple the economies of coastal communities dependent on sport fishing.

Here are some excerpts from DickyG’s comments:

"If catch shares are such a great cure for the fisheries, then why are the majority of the affected fishing communities, the fishermen, the shoreside businesses, Congressional oversight committees, a bipartisan Congressional delegation from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico and now some on the West Coast, the mayors, the governors, lawyers, judges, reporters, columnists, scientists, analysts and researchers, the DOC Inspector General, why are they all questioning, and most of them ultimately opposing, the Catch Shares scheme and the way it was imposed? 

"Is all this catch Shares resistance merely a conspiracy of deluded or ignorant individuals, a ‘...hotbed of whiners,’ or a well organized group of ‘itinerant alcoholic part-time drifter fishermen’? 

“Maybe it's the gobs of money that the fishermen are spending on media misinformation campaigns; or perhaps it's their grants to university departments to secure bogus agenda-driven ‘scientific’ propaganda articles that’s creating this catch share furor?”

Sarcasm alert. Actually, “gobs” of money is being spent by NOAA, EDF, etc. to prop up Catch Shares, including buying the support of some commercial fishermen and charter captains.

 “Or could it be that there is something very wrong with the fisheries management scheme of Catch Shares?

“The spending of tens (hundreds?) of millions of dollars pushing and defending and shoring up Catch Shares by NOAA and “partners” is a clear indicator that this management scheme is not working.  In fact, IT IS A DISASTER! 
“Rather than NOAA and “partners,” the Environmental Defense Fund and the Conservation Law Foundation, spending all those millions trying to defend this indefensible program, why not actually do some good in the world and put that money into a bit of ...conservation? 

“Perhaps the Gulf of Mexico could use some attention; or how about monitoring and stopping the pollution of the coastal estuarine fish rookeries, oil drilling pollution, ocean acidification, contributing to cooperative surveys for trustworthy stock assessments, or any project that would actually help the fish.  There are plenty of real conservation projects worthy of some of those millions that are now being wasted on spreading lies about catch shares.”