More Puffing and Blowing from the RFA

Here goes the RFA again trying to whip up fear, loathing and paranoia with warnings about drinking the "Kool-Aid of the anti-fishing environmental

  • By: Ted Williams
Here goes the RFA again trying to whip up fear, loathing and paranoia with warnings about drinking the "Kool-Aid of the anti-fishing environmental groups." If there's an "anti-fishing environmental group," I've not heard of it and I am way more in touch with the environmental community than Jim Donofrio.

ANGLERS GATHER AND AGREE THAT WE CAN'T WAIT TEN YEARS

9/17/07, Belmar, NJ - Thanks to the efforts of the Shark River Surf Anglers (SRSA) and the RFA staff, a successful fisheries town meeting of over 300 anglers was held at the Taylor Pavilion in Belmar last night. The purpose of the meeting was to inform local anglers on the critical issues we are facing with summer flounder and other important fisheries. There was not one disagreement in the audience while discussing that the Magnuson-Stevens Act provisions must be changed to include flexibility in order to maintain access to our fisheries.

SRSA President Greg Hueth initiated this informative meeting. "We all need to support RFA's efforts and help build a strong membership that will allow us to move forward on these critical issues," stated Hueth. "We need to work together in guiding anglers on the truth of this issue. If we unify as one, together we can work to create a fishery we will all be happy with that allows for conservation and access."

Ray Bogan, RFA General Counsel, provided excellent explanation as to why fishermen are being regulated out of these fisheries due to the Magnuson-Stevens Act. "We appreciate the organization and enthusiasm of the SRSA and Greg Hueth in particular." Bogan continued, "This meeting brought unanimity to work towards a common goal- that we must play an active role in analyzing, critiquing and presenting sound science into the fisheries management process."

John DePersenaire, RFA Fisheries Researcher, described the various data collection projects that RFA, in cooperation with the academic community, is working on to change the 'only available science' to the 'best available science.'

RFA Executive Director Jim Donofrio stated, "It is obvious that the recreational community is still splintered on issues. Some are still drinking the Kool-Aid of the anti-fishing environmental groups and believe that we need to cut back on fishing for summer flounder. We have a different opinion- that is we need to fix the Magnuson-Stevens Act to include flexibility and amend overfishing definitions." Donofrio continued, "We cannot wait ten years- the implementation of the Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization will be a train wreck for the Jersey shore as well as all coastal communities around the country."

The RFA plans to hold several town meetings concerning these critical issues throughout the country in the near future. Anglers must rally together to demand to Congress that they revisit the Magnuson-Stevens Act and fix overfishing provisions, remove arbitrary rebuilding time frames and include flexibility with rebuilding stocks. The devastating 2008 fluke season is only going to be the beginning. We can't wait another ten years!