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Entries in Environmental Defense Fund (23)

Thursday
Jul112013

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.

 

Monday
Sep172012

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.” 

Monday
Aug132012

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.”


Wednesday
May092012

House Votes Against Catch Shares Expansion 

The House of Representatives has voted 220-191 to deny additional funding for Catch Shares --- the Big Government strategy to privatize our public ocean fisheries.

In passing the Southerland-Grimm Amendment, the House closed a loophole created by environmental groups to expand Catch Shares, described as Limited Access Privilege Programs along the Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Mexico.

According to the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA), the amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act 2013 prohibits use of appropriated funds from being used to develop, approve, or implement any limited access privilege program that is not already developed, approved, or implemented for any fishery under the jurisdiction of the South Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, New England, or Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Councils.

Now, the Senate will consider the measure.

"We applaud the efforts of Rep. (Michael) Grimm and Rep. (Steve) Southerland, not only for getting this vote to the floor but for their ability to successfully debate this issue with fellow members of Congress to see it get passed," says RFA Executive Director Jim Donofrio.

"There was certainly some partisan opposition to this effort, but for the coastal legislators who understand what's been going on back at home for the past 3-1/2 years, the united efforts of Republicans and Democrats alike was what got this important amendment through."

In a letter to colleagues, RFA says, Rep. Grimm and Rep. Southerland explained that Catch Shares “are no different than any other inside-the-Beltway-style tactic determined to destroy every aspect of American freedom under the guise of conservation.

By capping the amount of fish that may be caught annually and gifting a select few with shares of the annual catch, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is privatizing access to a once open fishery. Make no mistake about it: Catch Shares are nothing less than a cap-and-trade management system for our oceans."

RFA adds that NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco helped write the official Catch Shares manual while working with Environmental Defense Fund prior to her presidential appointment in 2009. Now she has put the power of Catch Shares development and approval into the hands of a few hand-selected appointments to the regional fisheries councils.

"We're happy that key staffers in Rep. Southerland's office have been attending Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meetings during the past two years to see what's actually happening under this administration," Donofrio says.

RFA encourages other coastal members of Congress to send staffers to regional fishery council meetings to gain a better understanding of the process by which this Administration has all but neglected the input of local fishermen. "It's an eye-opener watching NOAA's arrogance at work from a local level," Donofrio says.

Friday
Jan202012

Catch Shares for Whales Exposes Hypocrisy of Management Strategy

Nothing exemplifies hypocrisy like blind adherence to an ideology. In this case, it’s the Big-Government, we-know-better-than-you ideology practiced by the Obama administration.

Led by Jane Lubchenco at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and her Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) cronies, the feds have been pushing to implement Catch Shares in our oceans’ fisheries.  They argue that they do so for conservation, to prevent overfishing.

In reality, Catch Shares imposes Big-Government management of a public resource for private profit. All that this fisheries version of cap-and-trade does is limit participation, mostly in the commercial sector to begin, but inevitably for recreational anglers as well.

Now, according to the Gloucester Times, two of Lubchenco’s colleagues are proposing a similar strategy to “end commercial whaling.”

Hmmm. If Catch Shares would end whaling . . .

Oh, silly me. There I go, with a conspiracy theory.  The real problem isn’t with Catch Shares; it’s that my narrow mind can’t grasp the reason that Catch Shares could end whaling but not do likewise to fishing.

Not surprisingly, the Obama administration doesn’t want to deal with its own version of “an inconvenient truth.” The Times reports that it “deflected questions Wednesday about the proposal for a global catch share program for whales.”

The EDF said that it “isn’t actively involved in whaling politics and policy, and we feel there are substantial differences between fishing policy and whaling.

“Catch Shares is an effective answer to the serious problems facing commercial fisheries, which is good for the species that live in the oceans --- including whales.”

Yeah, right. Next time that you’re out on the ocean, look around. I’m sure that you’ll see whales sporting “Catch Shares Now!” signs.

Now, courtesy of the Times, here are some responses to this proposal from people living in the real world:

"'Catch and trade' applies market forces to reallocate public or 'free' resources to seemingly more beneficial outcomes," said Brian Rothschild, the distinguished marine biologist at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, advocate for the commercial fishing industry and critic of the catch share regimen created in 2010 to govern the New England groundfishery.

"For example, application of the catch-and-trade system to global whaling can be used to eliminate commercial whaling — whoever has the most money wins. But is this an ethical approach to resource allocation?" Rothschild wrote in an email to the Times.

"Many of our resources are owned by the 'public,' or by 'society,' or are 'the common heritage of mankind (such as national parks and air space),'" he added. "Should they be for sale?"

Others agreed.

"This 'market proposal' to saving the whales is just another example of the commercial privatization of our oceans for the benefit of private enterprise," said Mitch Jones, fish program director for the consumers' group Food & Water Watch.

"If the real goal is to reduce the number of whales harvested every year, then we should start by enforcing the International Whaling Commission moratorium on whale hunting," he said. "We could begin by no longer permitting 1000 whales to be taken for the commercial market under the guise of 'scientific research.'"

"This proposal," he said, "is really just a Catch Shares for whales program, allowing whalers the opportunity to buy and sell the right to hunt whales. That's not a solution to the problem of harvesting too many whales.

"The proposal is another example of the wrongheaded belief that a resource has to be privately controlled in order to be sustainably managed," wrote Jones.