Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Why I Support the RFA, not CCA

Press release from RFA

For Immediate Release: April, 29, 2009
Contact: Jim Hutchinson, Jr. 888 564-6732
Conservation Group Offers "Freedom to Fish" To Highest BidderNew Management Approach Would Sell Off Recreational Access

Galloway, NJ - In what can best be described as a "pay to play" version of fisheries management, the Texas-based conservation group, Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), has gone on record with a new socialized approach to managing the nation's coastal fisheries, whereby access to the resource is offered to the highest bidder. According to Dr. Russ Nelson, Fisheries Consultant for CCA, a "free market-based approach to managing red snapper and other marine fishes" could create individual fishing quotas (IFQ) for the recreational fishing community, the same as commercial fishermen.

"IFQ programs have demonstrated some success in controlling commercial fisheries, but restrict access by the general public and necessitate difficult allocation decisions," Nelson said in a CCA discussion paper delivered to the Gulf Council on April 10. Citing current discard mortality problems within the recreational sector, particularly with regard to the red snapper fishery, Nelson said "We are facing new, stricter control measures to assure that our annual catch doesn't exceed the allowable level, and the recreational sector remains without an accurate means of counting the fish we catch." CCA's proposed "free market-based approach" would issue individual, non-reusable tags for red snapper to account for the total allowable catch during an annual cycle.

The tags would be issued for public auction every year, and those members of the public who wish to catch red snapper would make bids on the available fish tags. "Let anyone who so desires to place their best bid and distribute to the highest bidders," Nelson's paper stated, "bidders could be individuals, states or organizations." Tags would remain on individual fish until cooked and consumed, whether in a residential home or at a seafood restaurant, which CCA explains will allow all fishermen who gain access to the tags to do with the fish what they please. "Those who buy the tags can used them any way they desire - take the fish home and eat it, give them as Christmas presents, sell them, take their fish to a market and sell them," the CCA paper continued.

The authors of the discussion paper explain that the current method of surveying recreational anglers through the Marine Recreational Fishing Statistical Survey (MRFSS) could be eliminated, since only anglers possessing tags would be allowed to fish for regulated species like red snapper, and only a certain allotment of tags would be issued during any given cycle. "It is simple and arguably the most fair and equitable approach. Every one - anglers, commercial harvesters, seafood processors, investors and conservationists would have the same opportunity to access the resource," the CCA paper added.

Many members of the recreational fishing community fear the proposal, if put into policy, would take the common man out of fishing. "We think it is bad policy to rest fishing rights in a select few," said Jim Hutchinson, Jr. Managing Director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA). "Such a proposal would create a fishing elite to the exclusion of the American fishing public." "Together with marine reserves, this plan, if implemented, would completely eliminate open-access fishing in America," Hutchinson added.

"Hopefully, the Gulf Council can squash this idea before it gains any credibility within fisheries management circles." "We do not intend that our natural resources shall be exploited by the few against the interests of the many. Our aim is to preserve our natural resource for the public as a whole, for the average man and the average woman who make up the body of the American people." - President Theodore Roosevelt.

###### The Recreational Fishing Alliance is a national, grassroots political action organization representing recreational fishermen and the recreational fishing industry on marine fisheries issues. The RFA Mission is to safeguard the rights of saltwater anglers, protect marine, boat and tackle industry jobs, and ensure the long-term sustainability of our Nation's saltwater fisheries. For more information, call 888-JOIN-RFA or visit www.joinrfa.org.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Back From Punta Gorda/ Captain Ralph Allen/The Wyvern Hotel

Captain Ralph Allen
(941) 639-0969
The Wyvern Hotel
(941) 639-7700

It was good to return to Punta Gorda to fish with Captain Ralph Allen of the KingFisher Fleet. My base of operations was the new and quite " 'luxe " Wyvern Hotel in the downtown historic district of "PG". The Wyvern is a 5-star experience for anglers and their families that demand the very best from accomodations to gourmet dining ( Lulu Restaurant) to roof-top cocktails

When the dust cleared on Friday, April 24. Captain Ralph and I not only had a West Coast Slam, but released 15 snook, 1 redfish, 1 very large trout, 3 blacktip sharks, 3 spanish mackeral, and a wad of sandtrout: we had a blast!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Back from Abaco/Green Turtle Cay/Captain Ricky Sawyer

Despite 30 m.p.h. winds that plagued 5 days, Ricky and I released 23 bonefish from 5 to 10 pounds, with 10 of the fish being over 9 pounds weighed! That's life with the ocean bonefish of Green Turtle Cay, biggest in the Bahamas.
More images, data, and stories to follow..

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Quick Thanks and Kudos...

Thanks to Captain Butch Moser for my Canal Slam of a largemouth, peacock, and sunshine bass in western Palm Beach county.

Thanks to Captain Mike Smith for my West Coast Slam of snook, redfish, and seatrout off Sanibel Island.

Kudos to the Navy Seals for freeing the U.S. captain from the Somali pirates (AKA vermin). The lesson here is that terrorists and criminals are emboldened by anything less than zero-tolerance!

Another Angling Destination Grows off Limits...

The rioting in Bangkok will now effect those curious travelers that were starting to do some flyfishing with an operator in this area.

Bangkok now joins the outer Seychelles as well as bordertown and central Mexico as angling destinations with high crime and danger risks.

Do not believe the minimizing from affected operators...check with the State Department.

In the Silver Lining Department, all eyes are trained on the possible warmup of relations with Cuba and Obama's possible lifting of the travel ban.

Jan Maizler

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thoughtful Measured Morning...

I heard from my friend Don Eichin that some tarpon were spotted rolling in an urban backbay yesterday.

Four days in the office were enough to make me rabid to fish by friday.

Friday was not good. Winds had increased to 20 mph out of the southeast. I did play around a nighttime bridge and released a 10-pound jack.

By dawn, I slipped into the alleged tarpon spot. I only saw about a dozen fish roll and had no strikes.

A guide in a Ghanoe slipped in behind me on his electric as he slow-trolled live bait for his customers. This convinced me it was time to wrap it up for the day and await better times.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Seychelles MotherShip and Yacht Hijacked!

MotherShip MV Indian Ocean Explorer is the second vessel hijacked the last few weeks in the Seychelles.

Regarding the first vessel-
Moving farther away from the naval patrols guarding the coast of Somalia, pirates today hijacked a yacht near the Seychelles, in the Indian Ocean, with two crew members on board. Via Reuters:
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Somali pirates have hijacked a yacht from the Seychelles with two men on board, a maritime official said on Wednesday.The yacht left the Seychelles in February en route to Madagascar but disappeared soon after, Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers Assistance Program said.He named the two men on board as Gilbert Victor and Andre Conrad, both from the Seychelles."The ill-fated yacht is presently under tight security, anchored next to Garacad, Somalia," he said.


If one takes a gander a the location of these lovely islands, Somalia is not really that far off.

There is a difference between adventure angling travel and the stuff of fools. My feeling is that travel to Mexico is not as safe as it was, though the Yucatan has less crime at this point.

Watch for angling travel trending towards more to the Bahamas as well as Cuba if the thaw continues.

And don't believe the old saw that drug traffic and crime is the same all over the Caribbean- it's not!

Jan Maizler