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Letís help the federal deficit

Itís no secret the federal government is running a big deficit these days.†And in so†recognizing our patriotic duty to bail out Washington, here is a plan to help balance the books.

Letís have the Fisheries Service of NOAA require all recreational saltwater anglers who fish in federal ocean waters to register before they go fishing! Now, letís see Ė that would whack an estimated 14 million anglers at, say, $25 per person. Wow, that should raise some real money. But wait, weíre on a roll — letís not stop there.

Letís also register all spearfishers. There are bunches of them. And, while NOAAís reeling in these bucks, hereís another beauty: Register everyone who may catch anadromous species anywhere. Thatís fish like striped bass, salmon and shad that spawn in rivers and streams and spend their adult lives in estuaries and the ocean. Boy, thereís a cash cow!

By now, Iíd guess some of you are thinking: ďSend Schultz out for random drug testing!Ē Wait, I didnít say these were my ideas, but they are very real. In fact, hold on to your† seat — NOAA has actually proposed these and wants to implement this registration requirement for next year!

Whatís behind all this? The National Academy of Science’s National Research Council advised NOAA’s Fisheries Service in 2006 to redesign its surveys of recreational fishermen for more accuracy, precision, and transparency. The NRC’s review resulted in more than 200 recommendations for improving marine recreational surveys, including establishing a national database of saltwater anglers. NOAA claims this recommendation meets requirements in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the primary fisheries law for U.S. ocean waters that was reauthorized in 2007.

But is national registration really necessary?

After all, for the last 28 years, NOAA’s Fisheries Service has conducted recreational fishing surveys through random telephone interviews in coastal counties.† In addition, NOAAís regional and state partners conduct extensive dockside interviews to obtain data on catches. Moreover, accurate surveys of everything from soap flakes to sex practices are undertaken every day in America without some national registration requirement. So, is it that NOAAís done a lousy job for 28 years or is it that NOAA canít do what so many others routinely can. Or, is this simply another intrusive and unnecessary federal program that should be sent to the deep six?

NOAA’s Fisheries Service is seeking comment on a proposed rule until Aug. 11. Iíll bet you can figure what mine will be! To read the proposed rule for yourself, go to: www.countmyfish.noaa.gov. Comments can be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov

Comments

3 comments on “Letís help the federal deficit

  1. arch

    How is this any different than your typical FL angler that has to pay for seperate fishing licenses for salt and freshwaters, and special tags for snook, tarpon, etc etc.?
    I’m not supporting this since I don’t know enough about it, but it doesn’t sound so far stretched.
    I just think it’s hilarious though. The gov’t wants to go after these groups to collect millions, yet they can’t do anyting about all the ILLEGALS here working under the table and wasting BILLIONS of taxpayer funds on social servies. Unbelievable.
    We need a complete overhaul of our gov’t.
    How about CRIST joining McCAIN in lifting their support of the offshore drilling ban off FL. Is this not politics at it’s best? makes me sick.
    They are just now figuring out we need to drill?
    But why would they do it in FL where MILLIONS live on the coast and with a delicate ecosystem when there are MILLIONS of barrels of oil available in the plains states and ANWAR, far from any major population centers?

    We n

  2. Grant W. Westerson

    Norm

    The object really is transparant…additional funding for those important programs that need to be embellished (in other words, those programs that just need more funding) Licensing, a government’s excuse to print money, is just that. An established cash flow to help out bigger government.

    The sorry buzz today is that you need a license to do this and a permit to do that and little is accomplished overall. I reviewed a simple permit application from a marina to turn fixed docks into floating docks, all without any increases in size or capacities. One of the big questions that they were asked to respond to is how it would impact Atlantic sturgeon in the river?? Perhaps the new docks might give them better shade??

    Let’s let government shrink a bit now that money is tight instead of finding new ways to funnel dollars to Washington, DC.

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