The slander and straw men of the RFA - 2CoolFishing
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Old 09-14-2012, 01:58 PM   #1
fishball
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The slander and straw men of the RFA

http://fishhq.org/2012/09/13/the-sla...he-rfa-part-1/

Photo credit: flickr user gardo CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Most of us who work in the fisheries world long ago settled into the habit of comfortably tuning out the fiction-based broodings of Recreational Fishing Alliance Managing Director Jim Hutchinson. With monotonous predictability his writing features a healthy dose of conspiracy theories centered around ‘Big Green’—a cabal of corporate environmental NGOs turned evil—and a liberal sprinkling of libel targeting fishermen who have had the audacity to adopt a more rational worldview than him. Once you’ve read a couple of pieces of his nonsense, you weary of the experience and file them away, unread, somewhere between the Horror and Fantasy genre folders.
Before we toss aside this week’s tawdry Hutchinson hatchet job, however, let’s pause briefly. The internet is full of drivel like this, most not worthy of a moment’s thought. But this piece of carefully tailored deception demands a response, for two reasons. First, it contains assertions that are becoming accepted wisdom among too many fishermen simply by force of repetition. Second, it speaks so clearly to the RFA leadership’s motives and MO that we should all take note.
Where to begin??
One has to resist the temptation to dive head-long into the mud and expose the truly eye-popping hypocrisy of the RFA’s national leadership—of all people—attempting to discredit fishermen with whom they disagree by playing the character card. Wow. Rather than go there, however, I want to call attention to the sheer lack of reason behind the rhetoric.
Let’s start by acknowledging that fisheries management is inherently complicated. It seeks to divide an invisible and difficult-to-quantify ‘pie’ between any number of stakeholders. And with the management approaches employed during the second half of the twentieth century having all too often failed, competing ideas about alternative management techniques have emerged.
The catch shares straw man
That’s the context for the emergence of catch shares as an alternative management tool—and it’s a major piece of conspiracy fodder for Mr. Hutchinson:
In recent years … extremist non-government organizations like Pew Environment Group (PEW) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) have invested heavily in a cap and trade fisheries program. … .The PEW/EDF fisheries ownership plot [is] breaking down the barrier between the commercial and recreational sectors in a winner-take-all battle over resource allocation.
Good on a bumper sticker, perhaps. But let’s be straight: there is no ‘Big Green’ conspiracy on catch shares—more like a loose confederation of warring tribes. Here’s what’s actually going on:
  • EDF has been a strong proponent of catch share management for years, arguing that it’s a proven and durable tool with which to build sustainable fisheries. You can dive into some of the scientific and policy literature that EDF would contend proves their point by checking out their Catch Share Design Manual. Now, whatever you think of EDF or their catch shares work — and there is no shortage of strongly-held views — no one can seriously contend that they’re in this line of work due to some nefarious motive. They’re in it because they believe that catch share programs work. Simple as that.
  • The Pew Environment Group, by contrast, has adopted a more skeptical posture towards catch share management — for which you can get a sense by reading their 2009 report, Design Matters. In that report, after acknowledging that catch shares can be a “viable tool”, but making clear that they are “not a cure-all for fisheries management problems and should not be considered an end unto themselves”, the Pew authors declare catch shares “one of a number of possible tools” councils can employ. The concluding nut graph reiterates that in those instances where managers feel that catch share systems afford value, such programs: “must include effective and explicit policies that address overfishing, bycatch and habitat protection. They should also contain regulations to protect the health and resilience of the marine ecosystems that sustain productive fisheries. Finally, catch shares should also accommodate recreational anglers and diverse community-based fleets and crew that are the heart and soul of a working waterfront.”
Whoa. I can only imagine how those cautiously-calibrated and somewhat skeptical words from Pew must have been greeted at RFA high command. “Quick Jimmy! Fetch the rake! The first shots in the winner-take-all PEW/EDF ownership plot have been fired!”
Back to reality
The truth is, Mr. Hutchinson’s blog post rails against catch shares for a simple reason: to avoid talking about the real issues that emerged around the House Natural Resources Committee field hearing in Panama City. Fishermen in the Gulf — irrespective of their views on catch shares — spoke out en mass against Florida Panhandle Congressman Steve Southerland. And they did it for one simple reason: because he’s abjectly failing to do his job and represent them. They worry he’s more interested in political games than in their fishing futures. They fret he’ll take their fisheries back to the bad old days, before having even mastered his brief. And they are offended by his refusal to meet with or listen to many of them, choosing instead to shoot from the hip.
Funnily enough, these are all core character traits upon which the RFA national leadership evidently put a premium. Little wonder, then, that with Mr. Southerland under siege back home in Florida for working to dismantle science-based management of our nation’s fisheries, it’s a poison pen from New Jersey that rises to his defense.
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:02 PM   #2
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I predict this thread is not going to go over well.
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Old 09-14-2012, 03:25 PM   #3
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Quote: "They’re in it (EDF) because they believe that catch share programs work. Simple as that."

Whoa Pardner. According to EDF's Dave Festa, they're in it because catch shares will bring enormous profits to investors as evidenced from the much-discussed, much-maligned Milken Institute speech by Festa that implies 400% returns for investors in the catch share scam. That's no "conspiracy theory" as you guys often cite - it's straight from the EDF horse's mouth.

Catch Shares work? Not according to the communities up in the NE where they have been clamouring for disaster relief due directly to the implementation of Catch Shares in 2010. The governors of several states are asking for $100 million in assistance to help people survive this man-made disaster until a REAL solution to our fisheries is found.

Provisions in the new sector management program for the commercial sector up in the NE allowed draggers of any size to come in to the Gulf of Maine and fish day and night, with no trip limits since 2010. This wiped out the cod population, and the latest assessment in 2011 repudiating the 2008 assessment which showed a robust cod fishery. "What took years to rebuild to phenomenal fishing has been destroyed in two years by catch shares," said Capt. Dave Waldrip of Rockland, MA".


Quote: "Fishermen in the Gulf — irrespective of their views on catch shares — spoke out en mass against Florida Panhandle Congressman Steve Southerland. And they did it for one simple reason: because he’s abjectly failing to do his job and represent them."


What? The "useful idiots" donning the obnoxious orange t-shirts handed out by the EDF-funded Shareholder's Alliance leader T.J. Tate were bussed in to disrupt the meeting, on an EDF-funded bus, have different views on catch shares? Not according to the t-shirts they were all wearing - "Keep Catch Shares On The Table". Hardly non-biased.

Typical M.O. of the EDF-funded lackeys, as they have done for the last few years - EDF paying their expenses to stack the Gulf Council and other meetings to give the illusion that "fishermen in the Gulf support catch shares when in reality the overwhelming majority do not. The EDF lackeys at Southerland's meeting went there for one reason all right - to fight FOR the enormous profits that are being promised to them by the EDF-shell group Shareholder's Alliance.

Funny how they don't mention the large financial windfall that these lackeys will receive if and when catch shares are implemented in the Gulf recreational fishery. Talk about deceptive.

Mr. Hutchinson's blog on catch shares is right on the mark, or should I say money.

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Old 09-14-2012, 04:30 PM   #4
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"With monotonous predictability his writing features a healthy dose of conspiracy theories centered around ‘Big Green’—a cabal of corporate environmental NGOs turned evil—and a liberal sprinkling of libel ..."
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:45 PM   #5
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The Marine Fish Conservation Network is a sister green, anti-fishing organization to the Environmental Defense Fund. Even before Rep. Southerland's Congressional hearing held in Panama City, FL a couple of weeks ago, the enviros have been engaged in an all out campaign to smear his name and get him ousted from Congress.
http://www.oceanchampions.org/oc-cur...ean-enemy-1-is

These enviro organizations never let an opportunity to beg for more donations go to waste, and they are using Southerland to further fill their coffers; Please donate today to help us beat Congressman Southerland!

Here's a quote from a link listed on Tinning's tirade above; take their fisheries back to the bad old days

"Coming from very different fishery sectors — one of us is a commercial fisherman, one of us a charter boat captain — we don’t always see eye to eye. But on the big picture question of what it takes to promote the health of our fisheries and safeguard the jobs that they create, we’re in full agreement."

Hell yeah these 2 EDF-funded captains are in full agreement here - they both are pushing for the substantial PROFITS that they both would realize if catch shares/IFQs are implemented in our Gulf recreational fisheries. Profits gained at the EXPENSE of the other Gulf fishermen - indeed, there is a sense of "entitlement" that these guys espouse, as if we somehow owe them something, as if the government should step in and provide for them.

"The Magnuson-Stevens Act has been rewritten, science-based catch limits have been put in place, and fishermen have been given more say at the regional level about what fishery management systems work best for us."

Yes, the Magnuson was rewritten all right - hijacked by the enviro.orgs using possibly illegal undue influence in the process. Congress is addressing that issue as we speak.

At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing last fall, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco admitted there was no scientific basis for the 10-year rebuilding requirement in Magnuson. None. Yet, that doesn't stop these enviro.orgs from claiming that they are "science-based". Talk about deception, garbage, and smoke/mirrors all rolled into one.

"Things aren’t perfect in fisheries management today. But those who can’t see that we’ve turned the corner and are charting a course toward a more prosperous fishing future are missing the forest for the trees."

Wow. Let's take a look at what has transpired since the Magnuson was rewritten in 2007; In 2006, we Gulf recreational red snapper fishermen enjoyed a 194 day season, 4 fish limits, each fish averaged 3.2 pounds, we landed about 4.22 million pounds, or about 1,300,000 fish.

Fast forward to 2011, after many of the provisions of the "new and improved" Magnuson have kicked in; Our fishing season was reduced 75% to a mere 48 days, our bag limits reduced 50% to 2 fish, each fish was larger - 6.4 pounds, and we somehow magically were able to land even more poundage - 4.5 million pounds, and about half the number of fish we caught in 2006. This supposed overage WILL result in even fewer fishing days next year.

Further, Dr. Crabtree has intimated that we could not expect to be fishing for longer than 60 days for red snapper 20 YEARS FROM NOW.

This is turning the corner and charting a course for a more prosperous fishing future? Really?

FACT IS, that Crabtree and the NMFS do not have a clue as to how many fish are actually swimming out there, NOR do they know how many fishermen are fishing OFFSHORE. They have to rely on random phone surveys and other antiquated techniques, and refuse to use the best technology available that COULD provide laser-sharp, almost real-time information on effort and landings. (Refer to the OFS Permit Plan).

FACT IS, that several factors have been in play since the reauthorization that have led to LESS effort - not more, and certainly NOT 4-5 times more effort as Crabtree and Co. claim, as that is exactly what would have been required in order to make their numbers work.

FACT IS, that IF effort remained the same in 2011 (I believe recreational effort was actually less than in 2006), that in order for us to have landed 4.5 million pounds of fish, it would have required for us to have a 211 day season, NOT a mere 48 days.

ISN'T THAT WHAT WE SHOULD BE LOOKING AT? WHAT IF THE DATA SHOWED THAT WE COULD BE FISHING 200+ DAYS? FISHERIES MANAGEMENT 101 REQUIRES USING REAL NUMBERS - NUMBERS THAT CAN BE VERIFIED AND VALIDATED. UNFORTUNATELY, ALL WE HAVE TODAY IS CONVOLUTED MODELS, EQUATIONS, AND GUESSES BY OUR FISHERIES MANAGERS. THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

Another quote;
"Rep. Southerland himself is behind a new bill that risks unraveling management measures that have balanced the number of fish we catch with the health of the fishery. A fishing free-for-all sounds good on paper, but we remember those days and it sure didn’t work in the water."

FACT IS, that since the rebuilding timelines have no scientific basis, and that extending those timelines to provide flexibility for fishermen while NOT putting the rebuilding effort at risk is a viable and worthy proposition.

A fishing "free-for-all"? Really? NOBODY has suggested that we fish without limits or regulations as this unfairly and intentionally imply. This is a good example of the alarmist rhetoric that these groups use to tug at the heartstrings of Americans to try ot justify their efforts.

These people are targeting Rep. Southerland in this blatant attempt to libel his efforts and defeat him at the polls - I guess they will need to broaden their scope, as the majority of the 300 member Congressional Sportmen's Caucus don't like this anti-fishing profit grab any more than Southerland does.

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Last edited by hilton; 09-15-2012 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 09-15-2012, 01:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest View Post
I predict this thread is not going to go over well.
Counselor I totally agree.

I don't like extremism on either side of the argument, and RFA does at times take an extremist push to the right by casting their position as a bunch of flaming liberal whack jobs who are probably wayward gay hippies dressed in orange shirts. Well that certainly wasn't helpful.

And then the argument is confused between commercial and recreational fishing. I could give a hoot about the commercial side, since that industry has been ruined by a hundred years of bad management and declining fish stocks. Let's stay focused here: we're talking recreational fishermen, who mainly fish some of the weekends and maybe two weeks a year if you got the time off for vacations.

So forget about the Gloucester draggers and all the same commercial guys, that is their problem and they only have themselves to blame for over-capitalizing the industry in a declining market. They're just like farmers who would b!tch if there was too much supply and unit prices dropped to nothing (which happened with Maine lobsters recently). Folks, we can't and don't make money off fish.

The RFA means 'Recreational Fishing Association' and I want to know what specific measures they have to improve upon at portion of the fisheries. They don't seem to have any, despite their hatred for anything that threatens their turf. I read the RFA interview with candidate Romney and he didn't say squat either, no details, just a bunch of gas-bag words with no concrete meaning. Economics, better science, yada-yada.

Second, let's take a look at the "fisheries flexibility" amendments to the Magnuson Stevens Act, which were introduced between 2009 and the present and all died in committee. Those were filed by hard-line Democrats! Representative Pallone (NJ) and Senator Charles Schumer (NY). Y'all should be careful about your politics here. This topic is and should be a bipartisan one.

Thank you.
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:24 AM   #7
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Well Said Mr Swells. Well said
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:52 AM   #8
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I disagree Swells.

Perhaps you should do some research on the subject first before commenting on it.

Here's a quote from a guy actually living it up in Massachussetts; "What took years to rebuild to phenomenal fishing has been destroyed in two years by catch shares," said Capt. Dave Waldrip of Rockland, MA".

The big commercial boats came inshore, with no trip limits, and wiped out the population of cod there. Coincidentally, the 2011 assessment showed a major reversal from the 2008 assessment which showed the cod as a robust population well on the road to recovery. Due to the implementation of catch shares, they are probably looking at a total shutdown of the fishery, both commercial and recreational, in a year or 2.

The issue at hand here in the Gulf is the blurring of the line between commercial and recreational fisheries. Look at how the commercial fishing association formed and funded by the Environmental Defense Fund, The Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholder's Alliance (Alliance) is laundering cash for EDF to fund this new "recreational" Charter Fisherman's Association (CFA) - also formed and funded by EDF. The Alliance gave CFA $48,000 of EDF's money recently to fund their travel expenses and pay Miglini $40,000/year as executive director.

Why would a "commercial" fishing association be funding a "recreational" fishing association? Oh yeah, that's because they are pushing for catch shares in the RECREATIONAL sector Amigo - shares that could be bought by commercial interests, or outside investors that have nothing to do with the fishery. We had ALL better start giving a hoot about what the commercial side is doing.

EDF is simply replicating here in the Gulf what they already did up in the NE - fund/create shell fishing organizations (Cape Cod Hook and LIne Fishermen's Association up there) to push their agenda and give the illusion that fishermen actually want what they are shoveling. THey also got catch shares implemented up there WITHOUT the required referendum.

Another example of how this commercial meddling harms RECREATIONAL interests is the recent tabling of the commercial/recreational allocation issue along with the sector separation issue. THe CFA leadership applauded this move. Why? The reallocation would probably increased the recreational % of the TAC, thereby giving these supposed "recreational" CFH captains more time on the water to provide access to the millions of Americans that they constantly claim to do. YET, they applaud an action that benefits only the commercial sector? Whose interests are they protecting? Doesn't seem to be the recreational fishermen, by any stretch of the imagination. Promoting the status quo allocation at a time that the recreational fishing community is reeling from the severe cutbacks in our access, seasons, and limits is criminal, especially when noting that they are doing this solely for personal gain.

These actions underscore what this is REALLY all about - privatizing the Gulf recreational fisheries, OUR Public Trust Resource, for the private benefit and profit for a select few individuals and corporations.

Capt. Thomas J. Hilton
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:27 PM   #9
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Interesting points.

Is EDF funding this days-at-sea thing too? Seems like this is their backdoor method to get a second try at sector separation, but just with a different name.

I can't see anyway possible with this scheme other than to do it with SS.

Question, more of a comment, it seems also like the SS guys would be a special class X2 as they want days/SS for snapper, but how would this be beneficial to guys in the Keys or South FL who never see these fish? Not fair anyway one looks at it.

Commercial management does not work for recreational anglers.
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:44 PM   #10
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Poor ol’ Matt Tinning. Since leaving Ocean Conservancy to join Marine Fish Conservation Network as full-time executive director last year, he’s gotten himself involved in one ‘blue’ after another.

Sorry, a blue is Australian slang for a ‘fight’ or a donnybrook. Considering the Tinning bloke was born, raised and educated Down Under, I thought I’d try to use a few Aussie terms; hell, he was still in an Aussie university in the 1990’s when the federal fisheries law here in the U.S.A. first started getting rewritten by the enviro's!

A lawyer by trade, Tinning got his degree in U.S. Politics back home in Sydney (that’s one of the cities where angry, anti-American protests have recently turned violent). Tinning came to the U.S. presumably on a work visa after college, having worked first in the office of New Mexico liberal Senator Jeff Bingaman, then as Congressional Liaison Officer for the Australian Government. One of Tinning’s online bios list him as having worked on Capitol Hill for seven years, where he helped steer through Congress measures of interest to Australian businesses, particularly legislation to implement the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement and to create a new class of visa for Australian nationals.

Angry yes, rational, no…experienced? Perhaps in manipulating the system, certainly not in understanding the values of this nation.

Tinning joined Ocean Conservancy in 2008 becoming legislative affairs director, but replaced outgoing Pew-funded Marine Fish Conservation Network executive director Bruce Steadman last year. Ocean Conservancy in the link above has taken decidedly anti-angler stances throughout the years (for years the group angrily opposed artificial reefs for the purposes of fishing and recreation; thought it made fish too easy to catch and hurt the populations!)

Tinning is a truly bitter man – ‘ropeable’ as they say Down Under. Loves to ‘rort’ the freedom loving natives of the United States who practice and participate in the First Amendment; as Tinning sees it, any time Americans who don’t support his view ask for a hearing or participate in a rally they are fair game to be attacked and vilified. He’s quite the ‘knocker’ when it comes to the whole democratic process.

Poor bloke simply doesn’t understand the process of American freedoms and values; it’s hard when you’re not brought up in a country as great as this one, founded on the very principles of democracy and participation.

Anyway, through all of Tinning’s vitriol and hatred, you know what’s missing? Any recognition of the facts! You see, he never did try to defend any of the groups or individuals mentioned at http://joinrfa.blogspot.com. The reason being is that the original piece referenced all the newspaper articles which supported the factual information.

As for Environmental Defense Fund’s participation in the funding of the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders Alliance, the Gulf Fishermen’s Association and the South Atlantic Fishermen's Association, Tinning won’t deny any of it – because it’s all true! The information about these groups and the hundreds of thousands of dollars they’ve received from EDF is all readily available through the IRS – as for the start-up Charter Fishermen’s Association, heck, all you have to do is go to the House Natural Resources Committee website at http://naturalresources.house.gov/uploadedfiles/jenningsdisclosure08-25-12.pdf to see how a bunch of IFQ holders are on the board of this organization, and how it received $48,000 from one of the EDF-funded groups to get off the ground!

As for Pew’s public policy with regard to catch shares and Tinning’s own role in trying to ‘have lend’ of our political process (taking advantage of a gullible person) towards privatizing our fisheries, political journalist Bennett Roth got the facts back in 2010 when he wrote:

“Lee Crockett, director of federal fisheries policy with the Pew Environmental Group, said his organization has been active in shaping the new policy and its implementation. He said Pew has also funded advocacy groups, including the Marine Fish Conservation Network and the Ocean Conservancy, to lobby for the policy”

Standard un-American, uncompromising, ideologically driven and hateful rhetoric coming from the cultural warriors on the left who are madder than a ‘cut snake’ at being completely ‘stonkered’ by the facts and stuck standing directly on top of their ‘old fellas.’

Poor Tinning’s up the billabong without a dingo.

Or something like that.

Feel free to trash RFA all you want folks; but when you do it in this thread, you’re only lending your support to EDF, PEW, the Marine Fish Conservation Network, and those who want to steal an election and take away your fish to award to their well-heeled political dogs.
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