Captain Dave Wittenborn
302 West Ave
Beach Haven, NJ 08008
Thursday, January 7, 2010
March on Washington-February 24th
10:26 am est
FISHERMEN TO MARCH ON WASHINGTON
"United We Fish" To Seek Congressional Support
On February 24
In a historic show of solidarity, recreational and commercial fishermen will gather together
on the steps of the Capitol on February 24, 2010 from noon until 3 p.m. in an organized demonstration against the unintended
negative impacts of the Magnuson Stevens Conservation and Management Act (MSA), the federal fisheries law which was revised
in January of 2007. Coordinating the march under the flag of United We Fish, rally organizers are hoping to see a large
show of force in defense of coastal communities.
"The closures keep coming and it's good to see the
collective fishing communities and industries, both recreational and commercial, calling for scientific based Magnuson reform,"
said Jim Donofrio, Executive Director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA). "We are all in this together."
Donofrio cited recent closures of amberjack, black sea bass and red snapper fisheries as examples of what he calls a "broken"
federal fisheries law.
The groups organized through United We Fish are hoping to prove to legislators
just how many American anglers and business owners are truly being impacted by the overly restrictive management requirements
created by MSA based on non scientific arbitrary deadlines. According to Bob Zales of the Conservation Cooperative of
Gulf Fishermen (CCGF), the time-specific deadlines mandated by MSA coupled with flawed data collection methods are forcing
anglers off the water. "We fully support real science based management and the conservation of our marine resources
while also being able to sustain recreational and commercial fishing activities, providing locally caught seafood, sustaining
small family businesses, and supporting our coastal communities."
This effort is being coordinated by many
organizations and individuals including but not limited to the RFA, CCGF, SSFFF, United Boatmen of New York, United Boatmen
of New Jersey, New York Sportfishing Federation, Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association and the Fishing Rights Alliance.
"Some people have asked 'why, it's winter'," said Donofrio who said he's gotten the required permits and expects
a large crowd in DC on February 24th, regardless of weather. "We can't let seasons stop the momentum, and if we wait
any longer none of us will be fishing. Many members of Congress will be standing shoulder to shoulder with us,"
Nils Stolpe, a consultant to the commercial fishing industry and columnist for SavingSeafood.org
said that over the past three decades since the original Magnuson Act was established, fishermen have been gradually phased
out of the fisheries management process, regardless of sector. "The scientists have been put in charge, and as
the list of closures and restrictions up above painfully demonstrates, the Act has been turned into a weapon that is now being
used against fishermen and fishing communities."
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) first introduced the
Flexibility in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act of 2008 in the 110th Congress to incorporate "limited flexibility"
into federal fisheries management. More than 100 fishing groups and industry members from around the country pledged
their support for the legislation and the bill's 19 bipartisan coastal cosponsors, but the bill languished during the volatile
economic climate in advance of the presidential elections in November of 2008.
that fisheries closures would continue without congressional intervention, in March of this year, Rep. Pallone and fellow
Representatives John Adler (D-NJ), Henry Brown, Jr. (R-SC), Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL), Barney Frank (D-MA), Walter B. Jones,
Jr. (R-NC), Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Frank LoBiondo (D-NJ), Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Michael Michaud (D-ME), Solomon Ortiz (D-TX)
and John Tierney (D-MA), reintroduced the Flexibility in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act of 2009 (HR 1584). Twenty-five
total co-sponsors have since pledged support to date including Rob Andrews (D-NJ), Timothy Bishop (D-NY), Allen Boyd (D-FL),
Joe Courtney (D-CT), Peter King (R-NY), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Jo Bonner (R-AL), John Mica (R-FL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL),
Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Clifford Stearns (R-FL), Donna Christensen (D-VI), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), and Ander Crenshaw (R-FL).
Following a letter-writing campaign by the RFA-NY and members of the New York Sportfishing Federation, senior Democratic
Senator Charles Schumer of New York announced his Senate version of the bill (S.1255). Currently, the Senate bill to
correct the flaws in MSA has no co-sponsors, which is something United We Fish organizers are hoping will change in February.
"New York's Senator Schumer is as concerned about his fishing constituents as he is about the fish, just
as Congressmen Pallone, Frank, Jones, LoBiondo, Kennedy, Adler and others in the House of Representatives are," said
Stolpe. "Hence they have formed the nucleus of a growing movement in Congress that, in spite of the editorial opinion
of the New York Times and the expenditure of many millions of dollars by the Pew Charitable Trusts, is aimed at preserving
recreational and commercial fishing, the lifestyles of millions of fishermen, and the tens of thousands of businesses and
hundreds of fishing communities that they support," Stolpe added.
Organizers from within the recreational
fishing sector are hoping to get commitment from all user groups and across varied state and regional boundaries. "This
is much bigger than any one state issue or individual grievance," said RFA's Managing Director Jim Hutchinson, Jr.
"Whether it's our restrictive fluke fishery in New York, the arbitrary closure of state waters for our anglers in California,
or the shutdown of red snapper and amberjack down south, our community has been divided by preservationist tactics for too
long. It's time to unite the clans in defense of our coastal heritage and traditions," Hutchinson said.
"We need to let Congress and NOAA know that we are the collective voice of the recreational fishing community and the
collective voice does not accept the current broken management system which wreaks such havoc on all of us and our businesses,"
said Donofrio, adding "The goal on February 24th will be to get all of our congressional friends to attend."
"At this point Senator Schumer and his Congressional colleagues in the House deserve the thanks and the support
of every one of us who fishes, whether for fun or profit," said Stolpe.
The United We Fish rally is
set for 2/24/10 at noon at the Capitol. For details as they become available, sign up for the RFA's email newsletter
on the homepage at www.joinrfa.org.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Happy New Year!!
3:20 pm est
It's been a while since I posted a report. Things have been busy in a good way but I of course have managed to put
in several fishing days in this fall. Sandy Hook was very successful this year. The fish showed up in full force
around November 1st and I managed limit catches every time I went out. The large cows were hard to come by with most
of the fish around 30 inches which is good eating. The largest bass I got this fall was 17lbs.
I made two side
trips this fall. The first trip I made was to New York City with the family in the boat. I have spent my entire
life boating around LBI and have never been in a boat in NY Harbor. It was quite an experience and the ship traffic
was incredible. There was no wind but the seas were averaging around four feet with the large tankers and freighters
barreling their way through. We stopped in at Chelsey Piers and had lunch and then made our way over to Ellis Island
and Liberty Island. It was a great day and a nice new experience.
My second trip took me to Pine Cay in the Turks
and Caicos where I fished with my good friend in a wahoo tournament. Unfortunately, we caught the tail end of a late
season hurricane and we were fishing in 8-12 foot seas. The wave period was pretty spread out so it was not as bad as
it seems but 12 footers are still pretty intimidating. We did manage to put five wahoo in the box and tied for first
place. We still had a great time hanging on this beautiful private island drinking Presidente beer.
I will be
attending the AC boat show this winter in February and will be working a few saltwater sportsman shows for the Beach Haven
Charter Fishing Association. There is a march on Washington in late February to protest the unreasonable fishing regulations
which I will be attending and I encourage everyone else to attend. There will be buses leaving from all over the state
and I am sure if you visit some of the other fishing sites and check the paper there will be plenty of info. I will
update my site with additional info on the march as more info becomes available.
So hunker down for the winter and relax
because the spring will be here soon and we will be back at it again.