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RFA fights for recreational anglers

It appears politics is outgunning science and common sense when it comes to fishing regulations these days. Enter the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA), an organization worthy of boating industry support as it advocates in Washington and elsewhere for the nation’s recreational saltwater anglers.

Last year, Congress reauthorized the “Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation & Management Act” that advocates protection for America’s fisheries. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the act also mandates inflexible deadlines and directs Regional Management Councils to set yearly quotas for all federally managed fish stocks. In such mandates rest many potential problems for recreational anglers.

Right now the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council has blatantly ignored calls by recreational anglers to verify the accuracy of claimed gag grouper stocks before plunging into arbitrary new regulations that will virtually wipe out recreational angling for this grouper. World-respected fisheries biologist Trevor Ketchington has reviewed the National Marine Fisheries Service’s own data and determined that overfishing was not occurring for this grouper. Still, the Gulf Council is turning a deaf ear.

Accordingly, topping the agenda at RFA is H.R. 5425, “The Flexibility in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act.” It’s a fancy name for a bill that promotes restoration of fish populations and positively impact the growth of fishing and boating for the long-term. Most importantly, the bill also mandates fishery managers to exercise flexibility in regulations and timetables when certain common sense conditions apply, such as economic considerations or changes in environmental, ecological or fish-stock assessments. In other words, let reason prevail over politics!

“Despite the known inaccuracies with the gag grouper assessment, as well as other stock assessments, NMFS continues to hide behind some claim of ‘best available science’ to justify its cutbacks,” says Jim Donofrio, RFA executive director and founder. “The approach taken in the gag grouper fishery is one example of a growing trend. It’s time for the boating and fishing industries to force NMFS to close massive holes in their assessments through the use of outside, non-bias fishery experts,” he adds. Amen!

RFA is doing a much-needed work and deserves direct support from the retail side of our industry, particularly those dealers who are selling boats in saltwater fishing markets. To learn a lot more and show your support and join, simply go to: www.joinrfa.org  

Comments

2 comments on “RFA fights for recreational anglers

  1. Doug Reimel

    It never ceases to amaze me how regulations are directed and ordered by the highly educated individuals who do not, will not ever participate in the subject of their regulations. Their income, pay check should be attached to what they do for the good their regulations do. In other words let you and I write the regulations that determine their funding source on a personal level. obviously they don’t understand how their regulations affect our ability and our employees ability to provide for our families. Most likely it will take an organization to use the system against them. More commonly known as a law suite and court ordered injuntion so the attorneys can make a living. So I will close with the law that has a common sense clause. If common sense is no longer common than what does a common sense law mean?

  2. Robert NorVelle

    It is very difficlt to overcome the uninformed zeal of the voter when junk science is employed to advocate a position that contains “ENVIRONMENTAL” considerations. Politicians know that thay can catch the attention of the voting public with emotion-based stories proporting to expose wanton distruction of elements of Nature, both flora and fauna (and of course, FISH!)

    The stories need not be true but the telling and re-telling of them tends to eventually lend an air of authenticity to them (and the story-tellers themselves.) This is the precise result many politicians seek.

    I point out the above obvious facts only to lend some focus to the real problem we citizens are facing: The “win at any cost, just do what you need to, say what you need to” politicians who care little for the people, the economy, or the environment!

    Cynical? Perhaps. True? Unfortunatly, yes. It will be a very tough fight to save our fisheries.

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