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Entries in environmentalists (9)

Monday
Aug252014

Sharks, Dead Zones, Oil Spills, and Other Realities

Remember the mayor in the movie “Jaws”? He didn’t care about the reality. He cared about the perception, even though people were dying.

Some in the fishing community are that way too, I think, based on my experience writing about issues that they don’t want to deal with.

Recently, I posted a piece about “dead zones” degrading our waters and how, unlike climate change, we can do something about the problem.  And, not surprisingly, someone complained, saying that the Gulf of Mexico “ain’t dead by a long shot, calling it so is a misrepresentation of the facts or just piss poor reporting on science.”

The only problem with that assessment is that I did NOT say the Gulf of Mexico is dead. I simply pointed out that a dead zone occurs there annually because of nutrient overload flowing down the Mississippi River.

Additionally, the “dead” area is not oxygen depleted from top to bottom, and I did not say that it is. The problem exists mostly in subsurface waters.

In 2013, I wrote a piece about how dolphins, turtles, and some species of fish are likely casualties of the Deep Horizon oil spill. I added, “No one is suggesting that the coastal states aren't open for tourism business or that the fishing isn't good, but some species still are being harmed.

Nevertheless, I received comments from angry anglers who disputed the science and accused me of harming the sport fishing economy of Louisiana by writing about such things. (By the way, check out this article, which details how aquatic life in the Gulf is thriving because of the oil industry.)

Years ago, I also was criticized by communities and chambers of commerce for reporting on Largemouth Bass Virus (LMBV) outbreaks at major impoundments.

For me, the bottom line is the welfare of resource, and, if there’s a problem, I want it solved or at least dealt with in a way that minimizes the damage done. I don’t know the motivation of those who don’t want to deal with the reality, but I have my suspicions.

Like the mayor of Amity, communities dependent on recreational fishing for economic prosperity don’t want to acknowledge events that might discourage tourism--- and don’t want anyone else to either.

Understanding what’s going on with anglers who criticize exposure of fisheries-related problems is a little more mysterious. But I suspect that it relates to the intense political divide in this country between the Left and the Right. Yes, I realize that not all anglers are conservative, but the majority are. And they bristle at the idea of anything “environmental,” which conjures up visions of Big Government intrusions by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and on behalf of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

That division is one of the main reasons that such controversy exists regarding new proposals for the federal Clean Water Act (CWA).

Yes, we needed EPA, ESA, and CWA for better stewardship of our wildlife, land, air, and waters. But over time, they’ve all been abused by environmentalists and bureaucrats to further political agendas and infringe on personal freedoms and property rights.

As an angler who prefers less intrusive government, I understand that. But as an ardent conservationist who knows the importance of science-based management of our natural resources, I’m not going to reject everything “environmental” because I don’t like what the word connotes.  

Tuesday
Jul012014

With Closure of Smelter, Future for Lead Fishing Tackle Uncertain

Late last year, the last primary lead smelter in this country closed, forced out of business by oppressive regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Owned by the Doe Run Company, it had operated in Herculaneum, Mo., since 1892.

In a nutshell, what that means is lead ammunition and lead fishing tackle no longer can be entirely manufactured domestically from raw ore to finished products. That’s because the ore will be shipped to other countries for smelting. As a consequence, prices likely will be higher for many of these items.

That will be the case, that is, unless another company decides to open a new smelter that can meet the more stringent air quality standards imposed by the EPA.

“Whatever the EPA’s motivation when creating the new lead air quality standard, increasingly restrictive regulation of lead is likely to affect the production and cost of traditional ammunition,” said AmmoLand in explaining the consequences.

Cost of sinkers, jig heads, and other lead fishing tackle also will go up if companies must buy lead bullion from foreign smelters. Some companies, including TTI Blakemore Fishing Group, won’t be impacted--- yet.

Since most Road Runners are tied in Haiti, Dominican Republic, and the Philippines, our lead is foreign sourced. We are okay, for now,” said T.J. Stallings, director of marketing for the company.”

“ As more states decide what’s best for the environment based on lies, we may have to offer a lead-free alternative, at nearly double the cost,” he added.

That’s because the regulations that forced Doe Run to close its smelter are  part of an ongoing and coordinated campaign to demonize and ban lead fishing tackle. Never mind that no evidence exists that sinkers, jig heads, and other items pose a significant threat to fish and wildlife.

Lead is a natural substance. It is inert,” Stallings added.

“I’ve poured and tied thousands of jigs. I’ve crimped split shot with my teeth since I was eight. I’m still here.

“Meanwhile the environmentalists are screaming that we are killing birds with our lead fishing tackle. I guess that is the difference between environmentalists and conservationists.

“You only need to do a little fact checking to see what the conservationists at Ducks Unlimited and the National Wild Turkey Federation have done the last 40 years. The results of their work are astounding.”

By contrast, just one “green energy” wind turbine kills more birds annually than lead tackle ever has, he added.

Meanwhile, here’s the Second Amendment angle to the closure of the Doe Run Smelter:

Without ammunition, a gun is just a club,” said New American.

“The government knows this, and in light of the ongoing project of arming federal agencies to the teeth with millions of rounds of ammunition and military-grade weapons and vehicles, the EPA’s closing of the Doe Run plant, although not a direct assault on the right to keep and bear arms, can be seen as another step toward civilian disarmament. 

“While a few other media outlets have reported on the closure, none has connected this dot to a couple of others in the overall plan to leave Americans without weapons and ammunition.”

Go here to read more.

And here’s a more in-depth look at the lead issue from Activist Angler.

Monday
Apr212014

'Ecosystem Management' Is Tactic to Restrict Fishing

Passed in 1973, the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) was much needed. Before then, we have given little regard to the damage that we were doing to fish and wildlife through pollution, habitat destruction, and overharvest. The gray wolf, the shortnose sturgeon, the whooping crane, and the American crocodile are but a few of the species brought back from the brink.

But soon environmental activists discovered that they could use the act to impose preservationist agendas, under the guise of saving endangered species. They started suing the federal government to force action.

As a result, the ESA now has become a polarizing force, as examples abound of the federal government abusing its power to seize and/or deny use of privately owned lands and waters. Sadly, some property owners even practice “shoot, shovel, and shut up” as a means of protecting themselves.

And now the environmentalists, financed by Pew Charitable Trusts, want to use the same tactic to restrict fishing by imposing “ecosystem-based fisheries management.” It’s simply the ESA by another name, with the focus on our waters.

The Recreational Fishing Alliance reports this Pew strategy:

“Ecosystem-based fisheries management could ensure the long-term health of our fisheries and the communities that depend on them for recreation, employment, and nutrition," with environmental advocates describing the vague term as a system to "account for the protection of important habitats, consider the critical role of prey, or forage fish, in the food web, and reduce the waste of non-target species through bycatch."

And in response, Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, says this:

"Pew Charitable Trusts wants ecosystem protections put into the federal fisheries law. That way they've got a legal argument to sue and settle for increased fisheries restrictions.

"Under such a nebulous ecosystem definition, Pew and their partners would then have a legal challenge to close down any recreational fishery they choose by claiming the need to protect sea lice, spearing, oyster toads, undersea corals, even jellyfish."

In May, Pew will hold a forum for Connecticut anglers in what RFA calls the “Hijacking America” tour.

“The Pew script explains how ecosystem plans should be created and implemented across our coasts to further integrate ecosystem considerations into management, while appealing for support for incorporating ecosystem-based fishery management policies into federal law by way of changes to MSA (Magnuson-Stevens Act). Event organizers are hyping ecosystem-based management as yet another ‘new approach’ to fisheries management in their war on recreational fishing,” RFA says.

Go here to learn more about this and how Pew, according to RFA, is trying to recruit recreational anglers “willing only to speak positively about federal fisheries management policies that have denied anglers access to healthy, rebuilt stocks like summer flounder, black sea bass, and porgy.”

Thursday
Jun202013

Inactive Anglers Are Embarrassment in Fight for Bristol Bay and on Other Issues

Sadly, environmentalists and fishermen, who are conservationists, don’t have much in common these days. That’s because of much of the environmental agenda is inherently anti-fishing. 

Much of that stems from enviros refusal to differentiate between recreational fishing and commercial fishing.

As a matter of fact, anglers were among the first “environmentalists” because of their concern for clean water and healthy fisheries. Today, they contribute hundreds of millions of dollars annually for resource management through license fees and excise taxes on fishing tackle. And, unlike commercials, they keep only a tiny fraction of what they catch.

But stopping Pebble Mine near Alaska’s Bristol Bay is one thing that enviros and anglers--- both recreational and commercial-- agree on. Its creation would lead to the devastation of one of the world’s few remaining unspoiled salmon fisheries.

More than 925 angling and hunting groups, as well as related businesses, now are on record as supporting EPA’s assessment of the danger and asking that agency to take the necessary steps to deny permitting for the mine.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post newspaper reports the following:

“Almost all the comments urging the EPA to block the mine have been generated by major environmental groups . . .

“The Natural Resources Defense Council produced 83,095 comments, more than any other group in favor of EPA action, while the Pew Charitable Trusts came in second with 41,158 comments.”

Now here is where you come in. You have until June 30 to voice your opposition to the mine. Go here to do so, and, in the process, enter a contest to win a fishing trip to Bristol Bay.

Thus far, the enviros have done most of the heavy lifting in producing comments. As of May 18, only about 6,000 sportsmen had participated.

In a nation where 60 million people describe themselves as anglers, that’s beyond pathetic.

“Sadly, fishermen have lagged, but not by any lack of effort,” said Scott Hed, director of the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska. “Keep America Fishing sent out two notices to their massive list. Many other groups and businesses sent action alerts and posted to their Facebook groups, whose collective number of followers is in the millions.”

So, what all of this tells me is that sometimes enviros and anglers can agree on an issue, and that’s a good thing. Maybe one will lead to more.

But it also suggests that we’re going to lose when we oppose them on any issue that requires grassroots support. Almost certainly we outnumber them, but too many anglers are content to just go fishing and leave standing up for our sport to someone else.

Mark my words: Eventually, that’s going to bite us in the butt big time.

Thursday
Aug232012

More California Craziness Shows What's Coming if President Is Re-elected

Dan Richardson lost his job as chairman of the California Fish and Game Commission for legally hunting a mountain lion in Idaho.

Once more I am warning you: Anglers and hunters will pay dearly for their passiveness if Barack Obama is re-elected.

A second term will mean an administration controlled by preservationists and environmental groups who revile fishing and hunting as much as they hate fossil fuels and free markets. They will make it their mission to use Executive Orders and agency regulations to shut down both sports as quickly and as thoroughly as possible.

Certainly their views do not represent the majority of people in this country, but they are zealots with deep pockets. They can get what they want if we do not fight back with the power of the vote in November.

Sadly, California already has fallen to them, and it is the poster child for what they want to achieve nationally. The latest evidence is the removal of Dan Richards as president of the California Fish and Game Commission. Bowing to pressure from anti-hunting and animal rights groups, other commissioners unanimously voted him out.

His crime? Legally killing a mountain lion in Idaho and then posing for a photo with the carcass.

Of course, hunting mountain lions is illegal in the enlightened state of California.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation says this:  

“After the photo was published, anti-hunting state legislators circulated a letter threatening to remove Richards from the California Fish and Game Commission if he did not resign on his own. Undeterred and remaining steadfastly committed to standing up for California's recreational hunters and anglers, Richards refused to step down and legislators eventually abandoned their efforts to remove him from his post on the Commission.

“Despite being stripped of his leadership position, Richards has stated that he intends to remain on the commission through the remainder of his term which will expire in February 2013.”

Michael Bolton has a great piece about the difference between California and the rest of the nation at Al.com. His opening paragraph:

“California and Alabama aren't different states. They are different planets.”

And if we re-elect this President, we will suffer four more years of an administration pushing us to be more like California, which is totally alien to the values of most of us who fish and hunt.