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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Everyone knows the situation concerning the Snapper fishery. It's been a mess, for years. Sportsmen blameing the commercials, visa versa, Charter for Hire wanting this and that, but there may be an answer.
How about this for an idea to save the Snapper?
For decades, the government has paid farmers subsidies for NOT growing certain crops.
Why not apply this concept to commercial snapper fishermen?
Crops and Snapper are both commodities.
The NMFS always asks the fishermen to come up with plans.
The commercial sector did, and now they are 100% accountable. Each “shareholder” has an account containing the exact number of pounds they are allowed to catch annually. That allocation is based on their shares percentage of the commercial TAC.
Now, the Charter for Hire guys (hey Gary) have come up with a plan to be 100% accountable as well. It looks like that is going to happen too.
The recreational sector is lagging in accountability, for obvious reasons. It's a hugh fishery, and will not obtain accountability quickly. Then there's the fish counters. I'm not even going there. (but I do have a better counting plan).
The following plan would allow the recreational fishermen to fish a longer season, with a larger bag limit, while giving the sportsmen and NMFS time to come up with a workable plan.

It’s a simple plan. Maybe too simple, but it still makes sense to me.

Here goes:
The government (NMFS) could offer to purchase ½ of each commercial shareholders allocation for the highest market price recorded, for the next (?) years.
Any fisherman that didn’t jump at that, just plain hasn’t got any business sense.
This, if done properly, could leave millions & millions of pounds of snapper in the water.

Geez, that was too simple, even for the NMFS!
 

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snapper

Howdy,
I suggested this very thing over 3 years ago in the Snapper Manifesto;

"The federal government should compensate the commercial snapper fishermen, much like the federal government does farmers for not planting crops - pay them NOT to go fishing. It makes economic and ecological sense."

The problem is not knowing where the funding to do this would come from, and since NMFS is an arm of the Dept. of Commerce, there is no will to take them off the water.

The SOS Plan will remove a LOT of the CFH boats off of the water. The big push by EDF and the chief of NOAA is to implement Catch Shares. Since your analogy is farming subsidies, the result here will be "Catch-Share-Cropping", much like when sharecroppers were beholden to pay the landowner exorbitant fees to farm their land, fishermen will have to pay high rates to the owners of the quota.

Here's some quotes from EcoTrust Canada;

EcoTrust Canada, a community building non-profit division, released a scathing report on the impact of catch shares in British Columbia.
"Individual transferable quotas are being heavily promoted as a solution for both conservation and the financial ills plaguing fishing fleets around the world," said Tasha Sutcliffe, fisheries program manager for Ecotrust Canada. "However, our experience in B.C. is that highly unregulated, speculative ITQ markets can create as many problems as they solve."
"Under ITQ markets, working fishermen in British Columbia are increasingly becoming 'tenants' who pay exorbitant rents to landlords, or 'sealords,' who own all the quota. The lucrative leasing has, in turn, driven up the cost of fishing and the price of purchasing quota, making ownership prohibitively expensive for many fishermen," Sutcliffe said.

David Goethel, a New Hampshire fisherman and member of the New England council warned that with catch shares, and without a buyout or systems designed to assist small boat businesses, an economic and cultural disaster looms. "Absent massive intervention at a congressional level, most commercial fisheries in New England will contract to a handful of large boats in large ports and a way of life that has existed in New Hampshire for over 400 years will be lost," Goethel said. "Most of the fishermen I know wish to continue fishing as independent small boat owner/operators not as share croppers."
 

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Mobile , Alabama Council Meeting

Tom,

Do you remember the meeting we went to in Mobile when Dr. Crabtree wanted to shut down the entire fishery for several years?

I went on the record and told him to do exactly what you just mentioned
pay the Commercials and For Hire sector to sit out the seasons and I am sure they would go for it. He did not like my comment. He did not like being boxed in.

General Snapper Population Reserve Program-Texas Soil and Land Bank Program-

Jim Smarr
 

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At roughly $3 per pound to lease shares, you would be looking at roughly 7 million dollars per year to lease the commercial allocation. That's going to be a tough sell to Washington, since the free market is already paying that. I would rather spend that money on reefing and research that documents what artificial reefs do for the snapper fishery than pay guys to sit at the dock. Currently, there's no way to move an allocation from sector to sector, although that's one possibility that is being considered. There's a real danger in paying people not to fish or buying shares for that reason. 7 mil is a speed bump in the budget to some of the environmental groups in this fight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replys . . . but

Hilton - The sharecropper problem has already been addressed. No one can own over a certain percent of snapper shares. The buyout ELIMINATES fishing for half of the com. allocations.
MONT- The price tag would be about half your figures. In 2009 the comercials had 2.5 million. I suggest 1/2 of that. The MS act states that "there must be a commercial fishery". 1/2 would protect that mandate.
It looks like - IT DOES INDEED MAKE TOO MUCH SENSE>
Hey, the fact is, these guys at NMFS and councils like doing what they do. The councils don't get paid, but they get travel expenses that get them out of the house. IF THEY FIX IT, THEY HAVE TO STAY HOME WITH MOMMA!
 

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Paying the Commercial Sector not to fish would drive the biomass off the charts to recovery. Paying the for hire sector would keep them from going flat broke in the time frame to fully rebuild to a point the Gulf would be orange with Snapper. The problem is the Red Snapper will eat everything in their path. We will soon find out how destructive playing with the eco system can be as I believe the Snapper are eating everything else in the zero to 1 year stages right now.

7,000,000.00 would be cheap to save the jobs and infrustructure for the Recreational Sector which we are darn near losing.
 

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One of the biggest problems we have are captains walking away from commercial boats. They dock them somewhere, get all their valuable gear and portable electronics, and simply walk away. The poor dockmaster is left with abandoned boats, sometimes sinking and sometimes leaking fuel into the water. The prolem is particularly acute in New Bedford (ground trawlers) and Brownsville (shrimpers), and LA (all gear types).

Of course, the dock loses money because the owner/operator isn't paying dockage rent. Abandoned vessels also take up space that could be used for active fishing boats. It's a huge problem.

Rarely if ever are these walk-away boat owners found. Instead, considerable funds much be spent to get the boat to a giant crane or railway to pull the boat, chop it up, and recycle / trash it as best as possible. The cost of this can be tends to several hundred thousands of dollars. There is no way that any pay-back system can finance removing the existing crop of "dead boats" nevermind the new ones that will be idled by programs such as ITQ or buy-backs.

The US government did have a buy-back program at one time, but the money ran out so fast only a few boats could take advantage of it. Many boats simply got out of one kind of fishery, relocated, changed names, and fished something else (many California boats started showing up on the East Coast such as for tuna or mid-water pair trawl herring for lobster bait).

And think about it, us taxpayers are wasting our money, something that really manes me mad - same for the government handouts to not grow crops under the USDA. It is subsidizing fail, a policy that is only doomed for failure. Hey, if you want to pay me to not work so I can drink beer all day at the government expense, have at it, but it's still fail.

And y'all fail to realize that the commercials are fairly well regulated - most would say so regulated it's not worth the deal anymore. But they follow the laws or walk away from their boats, plain and simple. Meanwhile, the recreational catch is subject to wild estimates and nobody has a clue what we catch, since there are millions of us and we don't report a darn thing. It's like Pogo said, something 'we know the enemy and it is us.'

Honestly, all the bailouts make me mad as heck. Leave the commercials alone and let's worry about our sector.
sammie
 

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Paying the Commercial Sector not to fish would drive the biomass off the charts to recovery
not if it's absorbed by the rec side, amigo. Dead fish don't come with commercial or recreational labels. In fact, it could easily have the undesired effect of adding recreational discards to that side of the coin. Right now (depends upon who you ask), the commercial side is a very efficient industry with regard to discards because they keep smaller fish and virtually 100% of what comes over the side. In fact, one of them stated at the last meeting the fish are getting larger than they would like to see them, and they are avoiding the big ones since the little ones bring a better price.

Goodnews, I disagree about the members of the council and ap's wanting to stay in position to be able to attend meetings and be reimbursed. Speaking for myself, I would much rather be on vacation than be taking vacation to attend meetings. I would never have stayed in the last hotel we were booked at in a million years on vacation. The food sucked too. If that's what these guys do to have fun, more power to them. $71 per day, plus a crappy hotel room isn't much incentive, at least not in my book.
 

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The problem is regulatory discards. You know we fought the 18" minimun size along with anything over 15". We even wanted first whatever number of fish over 15" and end regulatory discards. Studies have shown fish under 15" do not have well developed swim bladers so release mortality is very low on smaller fish from embolism. Flipper and other preditors is another story.
 

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The problem is regulatory discards.
Again, there's a real need to understand the game here. Currently, the commercial side is considered much cleaner in that regard to the rec side, so if I accept your premise, the problem is one sided and is ours. We need to be really careful about what we put out as "problems". When the day comes, and it's coming, that I can't put my line in the water, then it's going to be a problem on the rec side. We all need to read what is put into writing and read it closely, with care.
 

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Hilton - The sharecropper problem has already been addressed. No one can own over a certain percent of snapper shares. The buyout ELIMINATES fishing for half of the com. allocations.
Wrong - if leasing of the shares is allowed, you have the CATCH-SHARECROPPER problem. For example, Buddy Guindon, a commercial IFQ shareholder, can sit on his butt and lease out all of his shares (that he received for FREE from the gov't) for several hundred thousand dollars per year, even though he is limited by the amount of shares he can own.

The American public is not receiving fair equitable value for their resource that the government IFQ bailout/welfare/reparation program has given away for FREE. Now the CFH sector wants to get in on this action through the SOS Plan as it's FREE money AND will eliminate a large portion of their charter-for-hire competition. If the CATCH SHARECROPPER concept is forced upon the rec sector, then the CFH sector will benefit even more by the elimination of large #'s of private rec boats on the water and the CFH will have a corner on the market.

Tom
 

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Regulatory Discards

The reason we have them is the Federal Government has set Recreational size limits above 15".
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hilton - I thought we were on the same page, but it looks like we aren't even in the same book. Shares can not be leased. ALLOCATION can be leased. SHARES can be sold, and taken over by another commercial shareholder. Please read up on the subjects, before stateing lambasting the comms. They are just trying to make a living.
The government has not GIVEN commercial fishermen anything for FREE, except for 100% accountability.
 

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Hilton - I thought we were on the same page, but it looks like we aren't even in the same book. Shares can not be leased. ALLOCATION can be leased. SHARES can be sold, and taken over by another commercial shareholder. Please read up on the subjects, before stateing lambasting the comms. They are just trying to make a living.
The government has not GIVEN commercial fishermen anything for FREE, except for 100% accountability.
I expect that everyone knows what Hilton ment by his comment, you wanting to split hairs over terminology is childish, he is well versed by the way.

Trying to make a living, give me a break YOU need to read up boyo...
 

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I love to snapper fish and try to get my hunting and fishing fix at the same time while doing it.
While this thread is very interesting and I love to hear this kind of debate, there are MANY problems with any Govt plan to pay people to NOT FISH. For years my business has suffered from the "PIC" program in various degrees (pays farmers not to grow crops). If a farmer gets money to not produce, he doesn't buy equipment, doesn't buy fertilizer, doesn't get the product fumigated, doesn't use the dryers... etc. etc. etc The program started when Jjmmy Carter got mad at Russia and cut off the grain shipments to them- we had a surplus of grain- the price dumped- farmers got paid to not grow. BUT the govt didn't pay the business who got hurt because the farmers didn't farm! The peanut farmer helped the farmers - sorry another issue. I do not want to see that type of BS with ANY industry. It causes far more problems than anyone can imagine. On the other hand, I assume there are far more farmers than commercial snapper fishermen.
I hope this is not taken as a hijack of the thread- just a PO'd victim of a govt bailout with no thought beforehand.
 

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I expect that everyone knows what Hilton ment by his comment, you wanting to split hairs over terminoligy is childish, he is well versed by the way.

Trying to make a living, give me a break YOU need to read up boyo...
I didn't take any umbrage to what Hilton said, although I will say the Inter-Web sucks for good communication unless you write darn near a book, and nobody wants to read a book. We want everything on a bumper sticker, right?

As to the snapper fishermen, tell me any that are making more than a hundred grand a year in that trade - most of these folks are subsistence fishermen with small quotas except for a very few heavy hitters. With all the overhead, I don't see how one could profit very much. To smack down the commercial fisherman is a major no-no in my book, excepting the few sea rapers that are well known on the waterfront. By and large, these are honest men who sell fish at a loss, to tell the truth. They are 'salt of the Earth' kind of people like you and me. I do not understand all the bitterness about the commercial red snapper bandit boats.

Instead of reading up on the deal like a college course, perhaps you should meet some of these ladies and gentlemen and get the real story?
 

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Tom and I talked w one of these clowns at a gulf council meeting, I also know a few others on 2 coasts. They are laughing at you, not me.

Bandit boat, yep thats a good term for good reason.
 
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