Public Comments Regarding the PROPER Management of America's Fisheries
My name is Chris McCaffity. I am a commercial snapper/grouper fisherman who has been offering simple solutions that would mitigate many of the SEVERE negative impacts associated with LAWS written by unelected bureaucrats that violate the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Fishermen have been forced to obey these laws through the barrel of a gun and threats of fines, seizure of our property, or even imprisonment. We pay the price for our obedience with our blood, treasure, and liberty. The gross incompetence of the bureaucrats who claim to have mismanaged almost every stock they control is rewarded with more money and power to rule us with an iron fist and the full weight of the federal government behind them.
Roy Crabtree is the SE Regional Administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service and sits on the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. He told me that if I did not like the way our fisheries are being managed, then I needed to take it up with Congress. I pray these Public Comments will find their way to every member of Congress. I pray these comments will soften the hearts of the fishery "managers" who seem to feel absolved of any personal responsibility for their actions that financially DEVESTATE our families, play key roles in the DEATHS of our fellow fishermen, and cause TONS of perfectly edible fish to be TORTURED to death and WASTED in the name of CONSERVATION! I PRAY the PUBLIC will STAND with me against the environmental "charities" and their bureaucrat puppets that threaten our God-given freedom.
I will be BOYCOTTING the December SAFMC meeting that will be held three hours away from the closest saltwater. This appears to be an attempt to disenfranchise a small minority group of American citizens. Many of us cannot afford to travel and stay at an expensive hotel since our businesses have been destroyed. I believe this is a passive aggressive ploy to restrict our freedom of speech. Will Congress allow unelected bureaucrats to violate our First Amendment Right to peacefully defend our God-given Rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
I previously mentioned how the laws written by unelected bureaucrats are enforced through the barrel of a gun and threats of heavy fines, seizure of property, or even imprisonment. The enforcement officers VIOLATE our Fourth Amendment Constitutional Rights as they ILLEGALLY search and seize our private property. A boat is considered a residence if it has a head and bunk. The CURTILAGE of that residence includes the ENTIRE vessel. Any WARRANTLESS search or seizure of such vessels associated with anything other than safety violations (as ruled by the Supreme Court) is UNCONSTITUTIONAL!
EVERY member of Congress and EVERY unelected bureaucrat SWEARS an oath to uphold and defend the US Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic. Will Congress hold the domestic enemies of our Constitution accountable for their actions? Will our Senators and Representatives HONOR their oath?
The multiple layers of fishery bureaucracy are using tactics laid out in UN Agenda 21 which Congress recognized as a threat to our Nation's sovereignty and to our Constitutional Rights. Congress refused to ratify that attack on our individual Liberty. Environmental "charities" have lobbied Congress and pressured bureaucrats to load environmental laws with Agenda 21 mandates like the Precautionary Principal. Every President that held office since Congress refused to ratify Agenda 21 has issued executive orders forcing these UN mandates on us. Will Congress do anything about these Presidential and bureaucratic actions that usurp their authority? Will the public realize what is happening before we lose 51% of our freedom?
I ask Congress to take these actions to help America's fishermen and the seafood we harvest.
1. Give federal fishery permit holders the power to have final approval of any new regulation effecting their fishery with a 2/3 majority vote.
2. Give federal fishery permit holders the power to access ALL documents available to fishery "managers" and allow the permit holders to offer alternate management measures that follow ALL of the guidelines in the Magnuson-Stevens Act and use existing Total Allowable Catch numbers.
3. Set up an independent peer review panel to ensure that all past, present, and future management measures offered by fishery "managers" and permit holders abide by ALL of the Magnuson-Stevens Act mandates. Allow permit holders to offer alternatives to the past management measures that violate the MSA in any way or simply abolish them.
4. Give federal fishery permit holders the power to FIRE any fishery "manager" involved in their fishery with a 2/3 majority vote of no confidence and offer a replacement to be approved by the peer review panel and a 2/3 majority vote of the permit holders.
5. Create a federal data collection permit for every recreational and commercial fishery. Require all fishermen to purchase a twenty dollar permit for each federal fishery they participate in. Allocate those funds and 1% of the NMFS BILLION dollar annual budget to set up an independent data collection center. Require every permit holder to electronically report the fish they catch for each trip. The data collected should be used in independent stock assessments to support or refute the "Best Available Science" used by fishery "managers". The data should also be used to PROPERLY manage the quotas with possession limits adjusted quarterly or after approximately 75% of a seasonal quota has been caught to levels that will fill the quotas without any long closures. The permit holders would have final approval of any adjustments with a 2/3 majority vote.
6. Set up a secure way for federal permit holders to cast these 2/3 majority votes electronically. This secure site could also be used to debate how we want to manage our fisheries. Any permit holder could offer their own management measures. We could have an open and honest debate and come to a compromise that follows ALL MSA mandates and can pass a 2/3 majority vote of the permit holders in the effected fishery.
7. Begin a full Congressional investigation into all levels of federal fishery bureaucracy. Their own stock assessments show they have grossly mismanaged almost every fishery they have controlled for decades. The evidence of corruption and abuse of power is mounting against the multiple layers of fishery bureaucracy every day. Congress set up the fishery bureaucracies to manage our fisheries for the benefit of all Americans and to insure that those public resources are healthy and sustainable for future generations. They have failed miserably. They have destroyed countless jobs. They have caused the deaths of many innocent fishermen. They have forced fishermen to discard millions of dead and dying fish to go to waste in the name of conservation. They have violated our Constitutional Rights as they force us to commit these atrocities. They have used UN mandates to strike down the freedom our Creator endowed us with and many brave American soldiers have defended with their lives. We could achieve the goals we should all have of healthy fisheries that can be responsibly harvested forever with very little waste without all of the Regulatory Discards, financial ruin, bloodshed, and loss of Liberty. We simply need to work together using SOUND SCIENCE, the slightest bit of COMMON SENSE, and remember the GOLDEN RULE.
The actions listed above would give fishermen a little more say in how we do our jobs and how our fisheries are managed while following ALL of the requirements Congress included in the reauthorized MSA. Roy Crabtree has publicly stated that the management measures they pass do not have to follow all of the mandates in the MSA. Will Congress allow these unelected bureaucrats to get away with blatantly refusing to follow the MSA mandates to limit waste, make efficient use of our resources, and promote fishermen's safety at sea?
Please consider what Edmond Burke said. "Enforcing stupid laws is the essence or tyranny." I argue that forcing fishermen to torture fish to death and waste them in the name of conservation is a perfect example of a STUPID law that promotes tyranny rather than liberty. Is the loss of liberty any less tragic if it is taken with "good" intentions by fellow Americans, rather than by foreign enemies? Will Congress allow unelected bureaucrats to continue enforcing STUPID laws on American citizens through the barrel of a gun and violations of our Constitutional Rights?
I have laid out plans in previous public statements about how we could limit waste and enhance our resources with things like Artificial Reefs that are the perfect union of aquaculture and commercially or recreationally harvested wild seafood. An aggressive Artificial Reef program would benefit the resource and fishermen while providing millions of people with access to delicious and nutritious wild caught seafood. I have also mentioned how the Saltonstall-Kennedy tax on imported seafood should be used to enhance our fisheries and promote the domestic supply of seafood. How are the funds being used now?
I would be happy to provide anyone reading this with copies of my previous public comments. I would also be extremely happy to testify before Congress during the investigation that I pray will begin before it is too late for the few remaining commercial fishermen who have suffered mightily as our fisheries have been grossly mismanaged.
Thank you for taking the time to read these comments. Please feel free to ask me any questions or request any of my previous public comments. email@example.com
The comments below are from a fellow fisherman that is suffering as a direct result of the GROSS mismanagement of our fisheries.
Bobby, seems only typical to me that the SAFMC is holding their council meeting in Raleigh this coming week (our states capital). After all, it seems about the only science they rely on is "political" in the management process.
Secondly, with the Chairman of the snapper grouper committee from there, it is only typical of the disconnect that this council has with the actual world we experience daily. I am sure they would be thrilled to know that 2011 was the first year in 35 years that i did not land one pound of snapper grouper species because as you know our primary commercial fisheries up here (Hatteras) are deep water (even sea bass caught primarily outside of 40 fathoms). In fact i doubt there was a commercial fisherman that landed a pound out of here as well....NO THANKS TO THE 40 FATHOM CLOSURE....which they now admit was misguided. Take a year out of a fishermens lives and not so much as and i'm sorry...
Even though you are hurting right now, at least in your case there is light at the end of the tunnel because this is all really about one thing ..... , and that is the ultimate elimination of all but a token commercial fishery. The endorsement process which will take golden tile along with sea bass out of my toolbox is just the beginning, and of course the catch share craze will again be introduced at this council meeting by none other than Kate Quigley who used to be employed with the the council and now is and EDF puppet (which she probably was with the council since she reportedly vacationed with the EDF crowd south of the border while she was still employed by council.) Of course i am sure it was on her own dime. As for Miss Quigley, she was also the council minion that enlightened the fishermen as to their future under catch shares.....which is why over 90% of the fishermen came out against them. Now about the only ones for them (SAFA which employes her) are 39 out of the 800 permit holders who are primarily fish house operators with multiple permits.
As for the endorsement process, they profess to be doing it for the purpose of saving the fishermen involved in a respective fishery. Well before the endorsement process there were fishermen that were...well.....fishermen....who may have utilized 10 or more species to make a trip. As you know sometimes or in some years one would be biting...the next time or year it would be something else. So the endorsement process is about stealing our versatility and backing us into a little corner, and then shutting the door.....and in our case commercially a resurrection won't be allowed.
Some might question how i can feel this way since the charter industry is presently suffering equally with the 40 fathom closure as i am sure you can identify. Well i guess my answer to that would have to be that since 1996 when the 2/1 permit clause went into effect we have been reduced from around 3000 permit holders to around 800 of which i am told less that 300 are active (7 less counting those of us out of Hatteras this year) while at the same time the charter industry has been allowed to more than triple in this state alone. Futhermore, five years ago over 90 % of the commercial permit holders were over 50 and closing in on 60.... The continuance of a 2/1 will leave very shortly leave about 50 of us which was Roy's vision of the future a few years back when sked by those of us on the A.P.
Furthermore, a 100% commercial fishery (WHICH WAS RIDICLOUS TO BEGIN WITH) is going to reduced by half and then the 6 (yes six) remaining wreckfish ITQ participants are going to be given the latent effort with the exception of the 5 % given to the recreational community . Meanwhile as proposed the remaining however many commercial participants left that interact in deepwater get nothing but potential bycatch.....just more of the bueaties of the catch shares as far as they are concerned since they get to use that against us down the line....or at least have in other fisheries.
Another further example of the erosion perpetuated by this council is the recent decision on mahi which took the non fishing consumers access of this important tablefare down from a paltry 12% to 7% on a species that is not overfished and overfishing is not taking place. As stated before....OUR resurrection won't be allowed....nor obviously will more than a token of the consumers access!
Anyway Bobby, it should start getting better for you in a year or two, provided you can seduce your customers back. Hopefully father time doesn't intercede. Good luck......! jeff oden
P.S. Bobby i would be more than happy if you shared this with all the others cc'ed prior .....since i am sending it onto the council as my public comment... I would go in person but i can no longer justify the gas!
Kim Iverson, please pass on to council as public comment...............