: Fishermen March Washington..2/24/10
02-23-2010, 11:52 AM
I realize this is not retriever related however I do know many of you are avid saltwater sportsmen (women).....some have even sailed with me on either the Cock Robin or the ReelNauti!
February 24, 2010 is a HUGE day for recreational saltwater anglers, party and charter captains and crews, and commercial fisherman as we UNITE and MARCH on Washington, DC to PROTEST and urge the FIXING of the Magnuson- Stevens Conservation and Management Act (MSA)
For further info on this historic event and further information on the fight of our very livelihood, click on the links below.
United We Fish
Save the Summer Flounder Fishery Fund (this isnt just about fluke anymore)
Recreational Fishing Alliance
Captain Bill Carroll
02-23-2010, 03:06 PM
how do you propose to "fix" it?
i frequent a lot of fishing forums. so far all i can see that the marchers want is less regulation. having been fishing all my life, fresh and salt, i can say that human greed has prompted the regulations we have today. i don't believe for one second that fishermen have changed in this regard.
Magnuson-Stevens was enacted to protect our stocks from overfishing by the foreign fleets. since it was enacted, we (Americans) have diminished the populations of every commercially important species i can think of, some to the point of collapse.-Paul
02-23-2010, 03:41 PM
Paul it is the science, actually the lack there of, behind they way they are going about this that is wrong.
One thing they are doing down her is closing the recreational fishery and leaving, and in some cases increasing the commercial (and I don’t mean guides) quotas. NOAA, who is setting a lot of these regulations just got taken to task big time.
Summary of the Inspector General's Report on NOAA Fisheries Law Enforcement
The Inspector General's inquiry into the practices of NOAA Fisheries enforcement found "systemic, nationwide issues adversely affecting NOAA’s ability to effectively carry out its mission of regulating the fishing industry...particularly in the Northeast Region." The Inspector General said "We find it difficult to argue with those who view the process as arbitrary and in need of reform."
They said that "if not addressed by NOAA’s senior leadership, these issues have the potential to further strain the tenuous relationship that exists in the Northeast Region, and to become problematic in NOAA’s other regions."
The Inspector General noted that the NMFS Assistant Administrator position is presently occupied by an acting official, and that the new NOAA General Counsel appointee was just announced." They observed that "key leadership positions are critical to NOAA’s ability to effectively oversee its enforcement program."
Senator Olympia Snowe stated "I am appalled at the stunning breadth and depth of the Inspector General’s findings of gross mismanagement within all levels of NOAA’s law enforcement community." ( Ooooooooooooooo... that's gotta sting.... ) Senator Snowe continued "That the Agency would allow its agents to continue running roughshod over hardworking fishermen, employing a law enforcement force consisting of 90 percent criminal investigators when the vast majority of its cases are civil in nature is by all accounts a travesty.” The Senator also stated "I pledge to do all in my power, including pursuing legislative action, to ensure that our fishermen are treated fairly while necessary regulatory enforcement practices are carried out.”
1. NOAA senior leadership and headquarters needs to exercise greater management and oversight of regional enforcement operations.
These include setting priorities, implementing effective management information systems, and utilizing data to inform management decisions and enforcement activities. Given the complexities of NOAA’s mission and organization, the industry, and the current enforcement climate, its establishment of enforcement priorities should involve integration and coordination with its headquarters fisheries management and science center elements, including the Assistant Administrator for NMFS—to whom OLE reports. Such linkage, with corresponding use of both science and enforcement-related data, would better enable NOAA to establish priorities and target its enforcement operations to those areas warranting focused enforcement.
2. NOAA needs to strengthen policy, procedures, and internal controls to address the industry perception that civil penalties are arbitrary and unfair.
They concluded that there is significant discretion on the part of individual enforcement attorneys, with minimal guidance on how to exercise that discretion. The Inspector General said "We find it difficult to argue with those who view the process as arbitrary and in need of reform."
They praised recent efforts taken by NOAA in December to "promote transparency, help ensure fairness, and open lines of communication"
3. NOAA needs to reassess its workforce (presently 90 percent criminal investigators), to determine if this criminal-enforcement-oriented structure is effective for accomplishing its primarily regulatory mission.
NOAA's caseload from January 1, 2007 through June 30, 2009, was about 98 percent noncriminal. Their Office of Law Enforcement is 90% criminal investigator.
NOAA made decisions about OLE’s workforce composition 10 years ago, increasing its already predominantly criminal investigator workforce (then 75 percent) to today’s 90 percent. This workforce structure is not the only option available to NOAA; for example, we looked at how some other regulatory enforcement agencies are staffed and our report includes comparative information. In 1998, the then-Assistant Administrator for NMFS desired a different mix, consisting of a greater proportion of uniformed enforcement officers to carry out essential regulatory inspection functions. This did not occur; in fact, today, of OLE’s enforcement workforce of 164 personnel, only 15 are uniformed officers—none of whom are in the Northeast Region. There are also indications in the record that this workforce composition was driven by considerations of the better pay and benefits that apply to federal criminal investigators, rather than by strict mission requirements.
Because it is staffed largely with criminal investigators, OLE’s orientation is to conduct criminal investigations. However, the criminal provisions of the Act are narrowly-focused and nearly all misdemeanors. Most violations (such as exceeding catch limits) result in civil penalties alone. NOAA requested expansion of the Act’s criminal provisions in conjunction with the 2006 reauthorization process, but such provisions were not adopted.
Our findings underscore a larger challenge for NOAA, one involving complicated issues that have existed and become magnified over decades without being properly addressed. This has become particularly apparent in the Northeast Region. We see this challenge as two-fold: First, as expressed through industry concerns, the fishing laws and regulations are highly complex, making compliance by those in the industry difficult even with the best of intentions. Second, whether NOAA’s workforce and management structure is appropriate to carry out its equally complicated mission of enforcing the regulations with transparent, fair, and well-managed processes. While we recognize that OLE has limited resources to cover an increasingly complex and vast jurisdiction, this underscores the critical importance of ensuring that constrained resources are used to support the most effective enforcement approach.
The Inspector General determined the following three areas require—and will receive—additional review:
• Fishermen and other industry sources expressed concern to us that NOAA’s fines are excessive, constituting a form of bounty, because NOAA is able to retain the proceeds from its enforcement cases. This is not an uncommon charge against law enforcement agencies granted authority to seize assets. The most effective way to counter such charges is for the agency to demonstrate in a transparent way how the proceeds of its enforcement actions are used. NOAA has the statutory authority to retain proceeds from the civil penalties it imposes and collects, and pursuant to asset forfeitures (such as the sale of seized fish, vessels, etc.) for Magnuson-Stevens Act violations to pay for expenses directly related to investigations and civil or criminal enforcement proceedings.4 We determined that NOAA has an asset forfeiture fund comprising such proceeds, the balance of which NOAA reported as $8.4 million as of December 31, 2009. However, the account under which they are maintained has weak internal controls, and we could not readily determine how NOAA has utilized these funds because while the fund’s balance is included in the Department’s overall financial statements, internal controls over the fund are not tested as part of the Department’s annual financial statement audit, due to the relatively small size of the fund, or as part of the Department-wide financial audit. As a result, we are commissioning a forensic review of the fund as a follow-up, and will issue our findings upon its completion.
• NOAA's General Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation plans specific actions responding to the Inspector General's findings and recommendations. The Inspector General will carry out follow-up reviews to assess their progress.
• During the review the Inspector General received specific complaints from dozens of fishermen, including alleged abuses of authority by NOAA enforcement personnel, disparate treatment, and excessive fines. They are in the process of examining these complaints and the corresponding enforcement case files to determine whether any additional action is necessary.
02-23-2010, 03:44 PM
i appreciate your response and respect your opinion of what you judge the MSA to be. I would ask you to review the original content of the Magnuson and what it has evolved in to today.
I provided you with links clearly stating the issues we in the recreational fishing industry judge to be at fault with the act and the representation of government currently working to revise (fix) the Act.
The answer to your question regarding a proposal to "fix" the Act can be found in Senate Bill 1255 and House Bill 1584, known as Flexibility in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act of 2009. Again, the content available in the links I supplied earlier.
NO fisherperson I know is against regulation on the stocks. What we DO feel is wrong with the Act is the LACK of science behind TODAYS legislation.
Two quick examples, the first deals with sea bass closure. The science behind the government emergency closure included TWO periods of time when the targeted fishery was experiencing a HURRICANE and included poundage THOUGHT to be caught at that time. Does this make sense to you? The fishery remains closed and the government has acknowledged that an error in tally may have been made. That really doesnt help the vessel owners, captains and crews who have now been out of work since the fall, not to mention tackle shops, motels, restaurants and others affected by the closures.
Second example, deals with fluke. When discussing the length of fish, goverment official stated, "....whats the difference between a 17" and a 18" fish, do we really need to argue over 1"?..." Again, I ask you does THAT science make sense?
All we are asking is for seasons and catch limits that make sense, NOT BROAD AND RANDOM CLOSURES BASED ON NON SCIENCE AND INCORRECT DATA.
02-26-2010, 12:24 PM
Pictures from Wednesday's, UNITED WE FISH Rally in Washington, DC.
Video from the Rally
4500 plus gathered within earshot of the Capitol Building from as far west as Alaska and California, south from Texas and Florida, through the Mid-Atlantic including South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland and New Jersey and north from NY to Massachusetts
Captain Bill Carroll
03-04-2010, 07:19 PM
and so we begin to find out how DEEP the heavy hands involved in "bad science" reached....
SHREDDED DOCUMENTS (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100304/ap_on_bi_ge/us_fishery_enforcement)
FORGOTTEN TRAVEL (http://www.gloucestertimes.com/punews/local_story_061230337.html)
Inspector General Forces Congressional Hearing Against NOAA (http://resources.edgeboss.net/wmedia/resources/2010_03_03_oceans.wvx)
Captain Bill Carroll