Tuesday, June 19, 2012

by Robin

About 2 weeks ago, SAFMC (South Atlantic Fisheries Management Committee)  had another series of meetings in the Orlando area to discuss what is going on with the Red Snapper species in the SE Atlantic Ocean.  If you're new to this argument, the nutshell is that SAFMC believes the species is being overfished and they are going to end overfishing it.  They shut down Red Snapper fishing back around Jan 2010, I believe.  Well, all the local fishermen, commercial & recreation alike, do not see it the same way.  The ocean is filled with Red Snapper and the 2 fish/ 20" limit was working to bring back the species to large numbers and huge sizes.  Because of the lack of pressure on the RS, the species has taken over many wrecks & reefs and were even studied as eating fertilized eggs of other species, putting them in jeopardy.  So, back to the meeting, there is a lot of political pressure put onto board members to cave to the fishermen who are sick of the politicians, who are appointing these folks & buying into these lies.

The results of that last meeting was to have two 3-day weekends in Aug - Oct of 2012.  Details have yet to be worked out.  Lottery.  Limits.  Restrictions.  Not sure how that all pans out.  If the weather is bad, they agreed to reschedule the dates. 

So where does this leave us?  We're suppose to be satisfied with 6 opportunities to catch a couple of Red Snapper after a couple years of it being shut down.  ??  Really  ??   Do you politicians think that will make us renew our trust in you and re-elect you for the next term?    Quit lying to yourselves. 

I think there is no greater conservationist than a man/woman who makes their living from the sea. They have everything to gain and everything to lose by what happens in the sea.  They have a love for the creatures held in the waters.  They don't seem to be greedy but rather want to make an honest day's wages while doing what they love to do.  I don't understand how people who come out of left-field, with no experience on the ocean, seem to trump the knowledge of experienced sea men.  Where do they get the power to control the oceans?  Why are fishermen voiceless?

This weekend, we went to Sea World because we LOVE THE OCEAN.  We love sea life.  I have a deep respect and admiration for all of it.  It broke my heart to see the changes in the Shamu show.  The trainers are no longer allowed in the water with the killer whales since the death of one of the trainers last year.  (or was that 2 yrs ago now)  Don't get me wrong, the show was still great, but what I really loved about it was the relationship between the people & the whales.  I think that is why movies like Free Willy and Dolphin Tales do so well.  It's the bond that gives us the warm-fuzzy feelings, not the circus show of jumps. 

And right on cue with the end of the performance, there was the good message about not littering the oceans.  It is a message I wholeheartedly agree with.  I see garbage on the ocean every single time we get in our boat.  Sadly, the majority of it comes from those who sit on the beach or stuff coming off the cruise ships.  But, that's a soapbox for another day.   The second part of the message was for us to be good little citizens and eat ONLY sustainable seafood.  What?  You mean that frozen crap at the grocery store that comes from some foreign country with freezer burn on some unknown species.  I didn't move several hundreds of miles, spend thousands of $ on this hobby, so I could eat spam seafood from Thailand or Vietnam.  No Sir.  I want to eat local seafood.  Catch my own fish.  Eat my own fish.  Help sustain my own fisheries. Help local fishermen survive in this awful economy.  I promise not to take babies or breeders.  I promise not to take too many.  But doggone it, I want my fair share.  You can keep you stinkin' 6 days of lottery tickes, likely to be bought up by every PETA member, so we can take nothing from our own corner of the sea. 

Don't come back to the table until you're ready to REALLY negotiate and address the issue in an honest way.  And seriously, don't expect a vote from me either.  Really now.....

And while you're at it, I have a bag of your sustainable Whiting from Publix to feed you with when you come over for dinner.  I was going to use it for bait, but I think it may be ok for politicians too.

God Bless the USA,

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