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Thread: IFQ, Misunderstandings and Fishing Rights Violations

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    Below are basically my thoughts on the ITQ/IFQ (catch shares) issue. This has turned out to be a disaster in the gulf, with some commercial vessels discarding as much as 1,700 pounds of red snapper in a single trip because they do not have red snapper ITQ's.

    Although bottom longline gear is prohibited in the snapper grouper fishery in the South Atlantic that has not deterred certain environmental groups, and larger commercial fishing operations from continuing their push for catch shares.

    I don't like the direction this is heading--greed and a total misunderstanding of how the fishery operates seems to be guiding the process.

    Don

    --------------------------------------------------------

    To the Editor:

    Recently, a highly complex experiment was completed by a group of independent scientists. Two groups of subjects were chosen for this particular experiment. The first group was composed of a dozen randomly selected commercial fishermen--the second, a group of randomly selected government bureaucrats. The objective of the experiment was to determine which group, given a minimum amount of guidance and rules, could get themselves out of a difficult situation the quickest.

    The two groups were placed in two separate windowless rooms--the one door leading into each room was locked and chained. Two round steel balls were placed in the center of each room, and the subjects were each told to use them to figure out how to get out of the rooms. After a week the researchers returned to find the commercial fishermen gone. They had somehow managed to make a file out of one of the steel balls and used it to file through the chain. With the other steel ball, they had fashioned a key, which they used to unlock the door. When the researchers checked the other room they were shocked to find the government bureaucrats wondering around aimlessly--they had broke one of the round steel balls and lost he other one.

    Now the same group of bumbling bureaucrats are conducting an experiment of their own--it is called catch shares, and their subjects are the commercial fishing fleets of the Southeast U.S. Along with NGO's, and a handful of commercial fishermen that stood to profit at the expense of their fellow fishermen, the bureaucrats have already managed to force an ill thought out system of catch shares on the snapper/grouper fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico, with results nothing short of disastrous. This has not deterred the bureaucrats and their supporters as their sights are now set on the South Atlantic snapper/grouper fleet.

    Much like the fictitious commercial fishermen in the round steel ball experiment, the commercial fleet needs only minimal guidance from the government in the form of reasonable quotas, size limits, trip limits, etc., along with proper enforcement of the regulations, to get out of the situation they find ourselves in. Too much government intervention, in the form of catch shares will, just like the bumbling bureaucrats did with the two round steel balls, break and eventually cause the loss of a priceless part of our history and culture--the traditional snapper/grouper commercial fishing fleet of the Southeast U.S.

    Don DeMaria
    South Atlantic Snapper Grouper AP member

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    During the creation of the grouper ifq program I suggested to have provisions to make sure vessels had enough quota to cover their bycatch. I suggested that you must hold a percentage of a bycatch species prior to beginning your fishing year. ie: if you had 80,000 RG you would have to have 8,000 RS. IF you had 10,000 DWG you had to have 1000 RS. The longliners and RS shareholders thought that was "a stupid idea". Ironically, the greed from the longliners and RS shareholders who crafted the program to their advantage rather than to benefit of the resource will be the ones who suffer in the end!

    When they increase the TAC for RS it should only go to vessels fishing the eastern gulf.
    www.e-searider.com/store
    "Fish Hard-Ride E-Sea"

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    Recent hearings have pointed out that ~90% of the NMFS agency employees are criminal investigators and that the NMFS has accumulated a huge "slush fund" from fines etc. and has been accused of mismanagement of these funds.

    Comes as no surprise that the agency wants more "rules" and "regulations" so then they can criminally investigate and generate more "slush Fund" resources. If you are a carpenter, you build things, if you are a fisherman, you fish; and if you are a criminal investigator, you look for things to investigate. 90% of NMFS employees are criminal investigators.

    Make one wonder if cutting off congressional funds will not end up driving more criminal investigations to generate more funds so the NMFS can tell congress to shove their funding. Then they can tout themselves as a self sustaining governmental agency.

    Looking at the video of the congressional hearings, the NMFS looked about as concerned as Michael Corleone in Godfather II at the senatorial hearings.

    YouTube - Dennis Kucinich Confronts N.M.F.S. Dale Jones

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    that is an eye opening video

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    Fiz:

    It is too bad that NMFS and the gulf council did not take your suggestions seriously as we now have a problem with red snapper bycatch.

    I don't like to see the small historical commercial snapper grouper fisherman (bandit and handline) forced out of business or become an indendured servent to the bigger and more organized commercial operations, but that is what is happening.

    I think we are heading down the wrong path with catch shares. Don

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    Quote Originally Posted by Screen Name View Post
    Ben, you are one of the few people who get it.

    Let me paraphrase:

    Magnuson-Stevens Act is being used by our government to give title to our fishery resources to large corporations at our expense.

    That's no joke. Ask commercial fishermen in the NE about it. If they want to fish, they have to work for Gorton's now. Ask recreational fishermen in the NE about it. There are some fish that they cant catch, but the big companies can.

    The last ten years of US fishery management are a nightmare for fishermen.
    Wow, I love this quote, from MR IFQ himself!
    SPUC
    1987 Mako 254 with twin 175 ETEC's
    1984 Mako 17 with 115 Suzuki

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    It is much easier for regulators to manage a small number of larger (corporate type) vessels, all fishing out of the same location and dock, than it is to manage a larger number of smaller traditional type fishermen spread out over a large area and numerous different ports and docks.

    I don't like this logic, but I think that is what is driving much of the push for catch shares.

    Don

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    catch shares makes it much easier for (a) large corporation(s) to monopolize the entire industry. i believe our long term goal for seafood is much like our oil agenda. use everyone elses resource until they are exhausted and then tap into our reserves.

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    My opinion: The first IFQ vote in the Gulf was for Red Snapper. I may be wrong but, to the best of my recollection the first vote was 1 vote for each class 1 or class 2 permit. It was overwhelmingly defeated because the majority were small 200lb trip limit perimt holders. Not what the council wanted. So what did the council do?...why a revote of course! Only this time it had to be done with a "substantially fished'" criteria. Every permit was again allowed to vote but the next vote was based on the average total pounds of historical landings attached to a permit, which meant 1 vote for every 1 pound of landings. Guess what happened. The grouper IFQ in the gulf was passed pretty much in the same manner with the exception that the council learned from their RS experience by making "substantially fished" criteria up front by combing through the landings log books to establish a weighted vote threshold of 8000lbs. Permits with 8000 or more got to vote those other permit holders, too bad. Essentially eliminating 70% of permit holders a vote. Thereby assuring the results they wanted. You now have to buy your way into a commercial fishery. "Fair and equitable" is mentioned at least 7 times in MSA but the concils generally cherry pick through the statutes to favor the larger more desirable stakeholders in a fishery. Most other issues the qualifier is based on a pecentage of earned income. Why not this one? Right now the council is touting what a great success the RS IFQ program has been, a model system, for those who have shares maybe. Their only major concern with all the management schemes now is BYCATCH, which means those who don't have quota for commercial and for recs fish caught out of season while fishing for species that are in season. Oh and the fact that the recs constantly overfish their TAC..yeah right. Commercial could be addressed by setting aside a small portion of TAC increases that first time and entry level fisherman can obtain without bankrupting them. Recreational TAC increases could make provisions for overlaping seasons.
    There are provisions in MSA to address bycatch issues but so far they have adressed some provisions and overlooked parts I assume they don't like.

    "109-479
    SEC. 316. BYCATCH REDUCTION ENGINEERING 16 U.S.C. 1865
    PROGRAM.
    (a) BYCATCH REDUCTION ENGINEERING PROGRAM.—Not later than 1 year after the
    date of enactment of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management
    Reauthorization Act of 2006, the Secretary, in cooperation with the Councils and other affected
    interests, and based upon the best scientific information available, shall establish a bycatch
    reduction program, including grants, to develop technological devices and other conservation
    engineering changes designed to minimize bycatch, seabird interactions, bycatch mortality, and
    post-release mortality in Federally managed fisheries. The program shall—
    (1) be regionally based;
    (2) be coordinated with projects conducted under the cooperative research and
    management program established under this Act;
    (3) provide information and outreach to fishery participants that will encourage adoption
    and use of technologies developed under the program; and
    (4) provide for routine consultation with the Councils in order to maximize opportunities
    to incorporate results of the program in Council actions and provide incentives for adoption
    of methods developed under the program in fishery management plans developed by the
    Councils.
    (b) INCENTIVES.—Any fishery management plan prepared by a Council or by the
    Secretary may establish a system of incentives to reduce total bycatch and seabird interactions,
    amounts, bycatch rates, and post-release mortality in fisheries under the Council’s or
    Secretary’s jurisdiction, including—
    [B](1) measures to incorporate bycatch into quotas, including the establishment of collective or individual bycatch quotas;
    (2) measures to promote the use of gear with verifiable and monitored low bycatch and
    seabird interactions, rates; and
    (3) measures that, based on the best scientific information available, will reduce bycatch
    and seabird interactions, bycatch mortality, post-release mortality, or regulatory discards in
    the fishery.
    (c) COORDINATION ON SEABIRD INTERACTIONS.—The Secretary, in coordination
    with the Secretary of Interior, is authorized to undertake projects in cooperation with industry to
    improve information and technology to reduce seabird bycatch, including—
    (1) outreach to industry on new technologies and methods;
    (2) projects to mitigate for seabird mortality; and
    (3) actions at appropriate international fishery organizations to reduce seabird interactions
    in fisheries.
    16 U.S.C. 1865-1867
    MSA §§ 316-318
    145
    (d) REPORT.—The Secretary shall transmit an annual report to the Senate Committee on
    Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House of Representatives Committee on
    Resources that—
    (1) describes funding provided to implement this section;
    (2) describes developments in gear technology achieved under this section; and
    (3) describes improvements and reduction in bycatch and seabird interactions associated
    with implementing this section, as well as proposals to address remaining bycatch or seabird
    interaction problems.

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    We are not the only ones wrestling with the problem, same issues in European Union.

    BBC News - Fish discards could end under EU proposals

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    #Two

    You are correct about how the "weighted vote" was carried out. I was under the impression that we lived in a country that took great pride in equality--one man one vote. Apparently, that is not the case when it comes to fisheries issues. I suspect the weighted vote was "legal," but it certainly was offensive.

    I think there is something to be said for maintaining a small scale traditional, and sustainable commercial fishing fleet. It is part of our history and culture. Catch shares (ITQ's IFQ's) favor the larger and more distructive type fishing operations and tend to force traditional fishermen out of business.

    I spent the month of Sept. in Alaska diving (working) and got to talk with numerous commercial fishermen and regulatiors. There is a lot of discontent with catch shares even in Alaska--something we do not hear about from the catch share proponents here.

    Don

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    Yep, it was legal. Here's a summary of how:

    2.2.1 ACTION B1: Substantial Participants
    Preferred Alternative 1: No action - Do not define substantial participants
    Alternative 2: Commercial reef fish permit holders are considered substantial
    participants. (AP Preferred)
    Alternative 3: Commercial reef fish permit holders and reef fish captains and crew
    members are considered substantial participants.
    Alternative 4: Commercial reef fish permit holders and federally permitted reef fish
    dealers are considered substantial participants.
    Alternative 5: Commercial reef fish permit holders, federally permitted reef fish
    dealers, and reef fish captains and crew members are considered substantial
    participants.
    Alternative 6: Commercial reef fish permit holders who were defined to have
    substantially fished in the referendum criteria are considered substantial
    participants.
    Alternative 7: Commercial reef fish permit holders, federally permitted reef fish
    dealers, reef fish captains and crew members and others who provide necessary
    services in the reef fish fishery (such as restaurant owners and fish house employees)
    are considered substantial participants.

    Discussion and Rationale
    Section 303(a)(5)(e) of the reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Act indicates that “In
    developing a limited access privilege program to harvest fish the Council or the Secretary
    shall authorize limited access privileges to harvest fish to be held, acquired, used by, or
    issued under the system to persons who substantially participate in the fishery, including
    in a specific sector of such fishery, as specified by the Council.”
    This action determines which group(s) of individuals would be considered as substantial
    participants in the commercial grouper and tilefish fisheries. Upon implementation of an
    IFQ program, the universe of substantial participants identified by the Council would
    constitute the minimum number of individuals that would be eligible for the transfer of
    IFQ shares or annual allocation.

    The Advisory Panel chose:
    Alternative 2, only commercial reef fish permit holders would be considered as
    substantial participants. Thus, the universe of substantial participants in the grouper and
    tilefish fisheries would include the 1,028 permits that are currently valid or renewable
    (within the one year grace period following expiration).

    The council chose:
    Alternative 6 would consider as substantial participants commercial reef fish permit
    holders that would meet the minimum average landing criterion selected in the
    referendum criteria. Alternative 6 would correspond to the smallest number of
    substantial participants. The average grouper and tilefish landings threshold selected as
    referendum criterium was 8,000 pounds., The number of substantial participants under
    this criteria is approximately 300.

    My opinion,
    They knew alternative 2 would never pass a vote for an IFQ. The goal of implimenting catch shares is to reduce the fleet and effort in a fishery. They are now going to scopeing meetings to make provisions to put all Council managed reef fish under limited access catch shares in order to further reduce effort.
    Formerly overfishing since '58

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by #two View Post
    Yep, it was legal. Here's a summary of how:

    2.2.1 ACTION B1: Substantial Participants
    Preferred Alternative 1: No action - Do not define substantial participants
    Alternative 2: Commercial reef fish permit holders are considered substantial
    participants. (AP Preferred)
    Alternative 3: Commercial reef fish permit holders and reef fish captains and crew
    members are considered substantial participants.
    Alternative 4: Commercial reef fish permit holders and federally permitted reef fish
    dealers are considered substantial participants.
    Alternative 5: Commercial reef fish permit holders, federally permitted reef fish
    dealers, and reef fish captains and crew members are considered substantial
    participants.
    Alternative 6: Commercial reef fish permit holders who were defined to have
    substantially fished in the referendum criteria are considered substantial
    participants.
    Alternative 7: Commercial reef fish permit holders, federally permitted reef fish
    dealers, reef fish captains and crew members and others who provide necessary
    services in the reef fish fishery (such as restaurant owners and fish house employees)
    are considered substantial participants.

    Discussion and Rationale
    Section 303(a)(5)(e) of the reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Act indicates that “In
    developing a limited access privilege program to harvest fish the Council or the Secretary
    shall authorize limited access privileges to harvest fish to be held, acquired, used by, or
    issued under the system to persons who substantially participate in the fishery, including
    in a specific sector of such fishery, as specified by the Council.”
    This action determines which group(s) of individuals would be considered as substantial
    participants in the commercial grouper and tilefish fisheries. Upon implementation of an
    IFQ program, the universe of substantial participants identified by the Council would
    constitute the minimum number of individuals that would be eligible for the transfer of
    IFQ shares or annual allocation.

    The Advisory Panel chose:
    Alternative 2, only commercial reef fish permit holders would be considered as
    substantial participants. Thus, the universe of substantial participants in the grouper and
    tilefish fisheries would include the 1,028 permits that are currently valid or renewable
    (within the one year grace period following expiration).

    The council chose:
    Alternative 6 would consider as substantial participants commercial reef fish permit
    holders that would meet the minimum average landing criterion selected in the
    referendum criteria. Alternative 6 would correspond to the smallest number of
    substantial participants. The average grouper and tilefish landings threshold selected as
    referendum criterium was 8,000 pounds., The number of substantial participants under
    this criteria is approximately 300.

    My opinion,
    They knew alternative 2 would never pass a vote for an IFQ. The goal of implimenting catch shares is to reduce the fleet and effort in a fishery. They are now going to scopeing meetings to make provisions to put all Council managed reef fish under limited access catch shares in order to further reduce effort.
    And make EDF more $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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    Default All too real

    I can't help but notice a trend. The corporations and government work together, they cover everything in red tape in order to make it impossible for any one (other than them) to make changes to their "new and improved" plans for our resources and our lives. My question is: What can I do to stop them? It's sad to say, I'm afraid to even post this.
    Last edited by rodney.duncan; 03-07-2011 at 02:19 PM. Reason: typing error

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodney.duncan View Post
    I can't help but notice a trend. The corporations and government always work together. They cover everything in red tape in order to make it impossible for any one (other than them) to make changes to their "new and improved" plans for our resources and lives. My question is: What can I do to stop them? It's sad to say, I'm afraid to even post this.
    Keep reading, your doing great so far.
    Try this next

    http://www.spearfishingplanet.com/f1...01/#post194140

    Its easy make a phone call
    Chris Grauer- "To protect, promote, and grow the sport of spearfishing" www.spearfishingplanet.com

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    Default carch shares

    Privatizing the resource, as catch shares do, does not necessarily assure its protection. The rain forest in Brazil is an excellent example. Yet, EDF is relentless in their push to force catch shares on as many fisheries as possible--regardless of the consequences.

    It was not all that long ago that EDF was one of the main proponents of marine reserves. Now, there is not a word coming out of them about marine reserves--it is all about catch shares. Changing horses in the middle of the race, as EDF has done, has caused them to lose support and credibility among many in the commercial sector.

  18. #38
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    Here's more of what the secretary and councils can do with regard to IFQs:
    Excerpts:
    (D) NEW ENGLAND AND GULF REFERENDUM.—
    (i) Except as provided in clause (iii) for the Gulf of Mexico commercial red
    snapper fishery, the New England and Gulf Councils may not submit, and the
    Secretary may not approve or implement, a fishery management plan or amendment
    that creates an individual fishing quota program, including a Secretarial plan, unless
    such a system, as ultimately developed, has been approved by more than 2⁄3 of those
    voting in a referendum among eligible permit holders, or other persons
    described in
    clause (v), with respect to the New England Council, and by a majority of those voting
    in the referendum among eligible permit holders with respect to the Gulf Council. For
    multispecies permits in the Gulf of Mexico, only those participants who have
    substantially fished the species proposed to be included in the individual fishing quota
    program shall be eligible to vote in such a referendum. If an individual fishing quota
    program fails to be approved by the requisite number of those voting, it may be revised
    and submitted for approval in a subsequent referendum.

    16 U.S.C. 1853a
    MSA § 303A
    85
    (ii) The Secretary shall conduct a referendum under this subparagraph, including
    notifying all persons eligible to participate in the referendum and making available to
    them information concerning the schedule, procedures, and eligibility requirements for
    the referendum process and the proposed individual fishing quota program. Within 1
    year after the date of enactment of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and
    Management Reauthorization Act of 2006, the Secretary shall publish guidelines and
    procedures to determine procedures and voting eligibility requirements for referenda
    and to conduct such referenda in a fair and equitable manner.


    In my opinion:
    They can have as few as 3 eligible permit holders as long as 2 of 3 pass a referendum, make up the eligibilty requirements as they see fit without any real oversite by someone else and if it does not work out despite all that, redo the requirements and try again until they get what they want.

    Congress is the body that writes or adds amendments to the laws. Oversight that is necessary has to come from there. Remember congress enacted SFA and MSA in the first place. I'm pretty sure the Secretary or the councils cannot pass any more IFQ or other programs in a region without regulations and amendments to MSA specifically for that region unless congress agrees. A lot of NMFS and the councils decisions are predeterimed in my opinion. Any law with guidelines as broad and vague as this are an entitlement to councils to write and make submitions to impliment the rules they want. If you want to see a program revised under the law you have to become involved in the process which means contacting your representatives.

    MSA recognizes commercial, charter and recreational as sectors. There is so much more for them to do with commercial, charter and recreational. Which might include additional commercial IFQ species and regions, charter VMS, sector seperation, it isn't dead it's being revised, VMS and for recreational federal permits for fishing federal waters, accountability measures and probably a tag system. It is all out there and in MSA, SFA, and related amendments. Watch and see.
    Formerly overfishing since '58

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    next
    Last edited by #two; 03-09-2011 at 08:33 AM.
    Formerly overfishing since '58

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    Default

    I just found this on EDF's web site

    "Sharks play a key role in marine ecosystems. For example, as their populations have fallen on the U.S. Atlantic coast, the rays they prey on have flourished. The rays feed on bay scallops and have ravaged scallop beds, devastating a century-old fishery. Similarly, overfishing for sharks in the Caribbean has led to more grouper. Grouper feed on parrotfish, which hold in check algae that would otherwise overgrow living corals.
    With parrotfish populations falling, algae is smothering corals. Ecosystems with healthy shark populations are also believed to be more resilient to climate change."

    maybe we can get EDF to fund some spearfishing trips to the carribean to remove some of those nasty parrot fish eating groupers.

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