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I got this e-mail this morning from Bob Zales and I believe it might be one of the most important reads regarding the issues with SOS, catch shares and fisheries management in general.

It is a letter from the past president of the Orange Beach Charter Boat Assoc, Ms. Bobbi Walker -- a woman I've worked with for years and know for decades and respect greatly. Her family pioneered charter fishing over there and here's where they stand on the issue.

I'm not looking to start a new arguement, I simply think that if you're interested in what's going on here, you need to read this. Soak it in.

More to come.

Joe Z
Ben and Tom,

Catch shares and sector separation isn't about accountability... its about reducing the fleet. Sure that sounds good until you become the reduction. I would argue that the recreational charter boat sector has already participated in fleet reduction because of our moratorium permits. Stop and think about it we have gone from over 1,560 charter boats to approximately 1,100 since 2004. Dr. Hogarth worked with us so we obtained a five year fixed season, kind of like a time out. Another component that causes our percentages of landings to be lower is the reduction in the fleet since 2004.

Please sit back and pull the string all the way out before you step out there and put us on the line. Can you guess who will be the first to go?
Perhaps those like Ben who don't own their own boat and are running corporate boats for doctors and such?
Then those who have other household incomes that produce more than 50% of the households total income (either through their spouse or retirement income)?
What happens then to those who have been forced to get part-time and full time jobs to make ends meet?
Then will folks have to choose either commercial or charter boat fishing?

This is the reality of reducing fleets. Somebody is always being thrown out of the fishery so that others can try to scratch out a living. There are never enough that leave though, they will always be pushing for larger reductions. Maybe even to the point of showing 75% of your income comes from charter fishing to stay (by that I mean 75% of the whole household income).

Did you read the email the other day from the commercial fishermen on the east coast who was proud she had made the first two cuts, but knew they were going to lose their permit on the third cut. In other words this won't be just one initial cut it will continue and no one should feel safe.

How will the allocation be further divided among guide vessels, 6 passenger vessels, multi passenger vessels, and headboats? The headboats are the only vessels that have had a logbook , which provides some data on their individual harvest. No other vessel has such historical data. We can?t start after the fact because people while reporting what they catch will increase their red snapper and grouper catch knowing it will affect their allocation. You can?t expect a multi passenger boat and head boat to survive on the number of fish a 6 passenger or guide boat will get. How do you handle that fairly?

I am just saying , I won?t step out there and support any plan until I know how it is going to affect my business. Change is a nice fluffy word, but unless you know exactly how that change is going to affect you be aware you could be worse off then when you started.

Dave Festa (EDF heiracrchy) has stated publicly it is all about the money and being able to sell and trade shares by big corporations on the stock market. It doesn't have anything to do with you or me. Here is a quote from the article that I have attached, ?Festa explained to the investors at the Milken conference that the plan to create catch shares and open the door for outside capitalization has been longstanding.

Ben, you stated on behalf of OBFA this plan would allow us to plan ahead. There are over 1,100 federally permitted boats that fish the EEZ, however there are thousands of boats that operate in state waters only and to be fair and equitable they will receive a portion of any quota too. Say you run a guide boat in Alabama waters and since there are no records to indicate what you catch the government comes in and asks you if you catch red snapper. Well you know if you say yes you'll get a share so what are you going to say? How will anyone be able to prove you didn't land red snapper?

Lets make it simple and look at just one fishery but all will be similar. Actually in the grouper fishery the private recreational sector will have higher historical landings through MRFSS.
Red snapper...
recreational quota 2.45 million pounds

Now the first battle will be how to split this amount between private recreational and recreational charter boat (remember though charter boats are the platform for anglers to catch their red snapper ,we don't keep the red snapper the recreational angler on the back of our boat keeps them). State licensed boats may or may not play at this level . But, private recreational anglers including those fishing on the back of our boats are going to want their share. There are millions of private recreational anglers and only 1,100 offshore plus a few thousand state only charter boats. We can go to our congressmen and representatives, but how many votes can we deliver? How many votes can the private recreational group deliver? If we end up alienating our customers who are private recreational anglers what have we done to our business? There is no way we are going to look like the good guys when we try to take our ?fair share? of the pie.

Now lets talk about dual permitted boats. A small minority of charter boats hold both commercial and charter boat permits. What happens when you have to choose which business to continue in because you will have to prove 51%-75% of your income comes from either or you can't have both permits aboard one boat. Dual permitting has come before the council in the past. Check the records. You will find out how hard it was pushed and also the person who was responsible for bringing it to the table.

In other words there will be NO sacred cows. No guarantees for anyone. Using the MRFSS data 1990-2009 (some of the 1980s data was questionable with MRFSS) and the council generally chooses to use the longer time series you find
for red snapper;
Charter boat offshore 47%
Charter boat inshore <10 mi 11%
Private recreational 42%

I am pretty confident that every charter boat fishing in the EEZ is going to claim that they land red snapper because the stock in my opinion is larger than it has ever been in history. So you are looking at 47% of the quota that will be split by approximately 1,100 boats. Don?t let anyone fool you that the quota will be significantly larger in our lifetime because it won?t. The most that has ever been harvested annually out of the Gulf is about 12 million pounds with no regulations so at current level

2.45 million pounds X 47% =1,151,500 million lbs. offshore
divided by 1,100 boats = 1047 lbs.
divided by average size of fish (5 lb.) = 209 fish

Those numbers are assuming we will get ALL of the 47%, which is unlikely because the state only licensed boats and the states will want their fair share.

Some people have said they were promised they could have days at sea. I don?t know how that would work but you and I both know that anytime we are bottom fishing we are going to be catching red snapper and the discards will be counted against us so days at sea may end up being just that the ONLY days you will be allowed to bottom fish. Let?s be conservative and say that our fishing party will be satisfied with 10 red snapper per boat a day. 209 fish divided by 10 gives us almost 21 days at sea. I have heard ludicrous estimates where guys were saying they could live with 160 days at sea?.well I guess so, but do you see in the data where that will be possible? I don?t even see where 30 days will be possible. Discard mortality has to be addressed and there will be discards.

Because of discard mortality and ecosystem management I can foresee all bottom fish lumped into one category where the season is either open or its closed. This is already evidenced in the South Atlantic because the total allowable catch of red snapper will be reached by discard mortality while anglers are fishing for other bottom fish species. In other words red snapper fishing will probably be closed in the South Atlantic Coast for at least 20 years because the discard mortality exceeds the total allowable catch.

I challenge you to show me the data that would allow a charter boat more time to fish than they have now by separating from the recreational sector.

If we end up fighting for more fish how many of those private recreational anglers will want to pay to be on our back decks when the blood letting ends. SOS has argued we only want our fair share, however the only data set that can be used is MRFSS and it has been deemed fatally flawed. The information I gave above is based on numbers of fish through the MRFSS survey, I didn?t use pounds because that is even more suspect.

Conflict has already begun in Pensacola, the private recreational groups refused to participate in the Northern Gulf Protest on the water because Destin Charter boat Assn. was the organization that catapulted the protest. They do not support Gary Jarvis or SOS and will fight charter boats taking any recreational fish. Some of them have communicated publicly that charter boat allocation should come from the commercial quota.

Another point I have heard is that SOS is going to give us better data. We are going to get better data whether SOS, GOMARS or anything else is done because the reauthorization of the Magnuson Stevens Act requires NMFS to overhaul the MRFSS. It?s going on right now and neither of the above plans were even a concept until after the reauthorization. Now here is the stickler that you are not being told. Logbooks sound great and yes we have been begging for them for years, however if 100% of the charter boats do not participate 100% of the time NMFS will be forced to use correction factors, which is a part of the problem we now have with MRFSS, so we wouldn?t have solved anything. I am afraid we won?t have 100% participation because CCGF mailed out a questionnaire this year to charter boat moratorium permit holders and of the 41% of permit holders that responded 16% stated they would not participate in a logbook program.

Have you read the letter from the five Gulf Coast Governors including our Governor Riley to Secretary of Commerce Locke opposing any catch shares and outlining problems with the commercial red snapper IFQ? I have attached the letter because it is very important that you understand the implications.

Then there is Environmental Defense Fund that some think are going to be our saviors. Please read the article attached that was published in the Gloucester Times, the authors contact information is there too. After reading it I would like your opinion on EDF and what they stand for.

You have not been at this long enough to know how the system works and how folks play you, hell after 12 years I don?t profess to know it all, but I do know this?you are on a slippery slope and there will be no turning back once you start down it.

Ben your quote in the Mobile press stated,

"Orange Beach Fishing Association President Ben Fairey said such a program is exactly what federal regulators have been saying they wanted.

"The plan will allow us, as a (charter fishing) sector, to know where we are at any given time in the season and it will allow us to plan ahead," he said."

Ben, I am going to ask you again, is this an OBFA decision to support the SOS plan and/or sector separation. If it is I want to know when the vote was taken and when the next scheduled meeting is. Until I know something is going to be better for my business I am not falling on the sword with anyone.

There was a time when OBFA worked together to protect and benefit our industry. We cannot put our heads in the sand and ignore the elephant in the room. I understood that you and the new board were going to stay out of the politics of fishing, however the trip to Corpus Christi and statements you have made to the press and publicly indicate otherwise.

I would like nothing better than to see us all work together with no outside influences and work for Orange Beach charter boats. If they are going to shove catch shares down our throats at least lets try to develop a plan that is best for us and push for it and not allow others to determine our destiny by designing a program that is not in our best interest.
 

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Sounds like the PFF, FRA, and other groups of people are weighing hard on some people finally. Some of what she said seems like she read it right here on PFF. We as recreational anglers need to keep up the pressure on the supporters of the SOS plan. Many charter captains and others are begining to see the darker side of the plan.

Thanks for the info JoeZ. She seems to have a good understanding of what is to come if the SOS plan is implemented. Very good read.
 

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JoeZ 11/24/09



It is a letter from the past president of the Orange Beach Charter Boat Assoc, Ms. Bobbi Walker -- a woman I've worked with for years and know for decades and respect greatly. Her family pioneered charter fishing over there and here's where they stand on the issue.


You do mean Her X-Husbands Family pioneered charter fishing right along with the Callaways and some others too



You do mean the X President of OBFA cause She got voted out for ripping people off and throwing her own people under the bus.



And on to the letter this all comes from X Voting member of the Gulf Council that got us here looking at the shortest season ever!



Sounds like the old days when she was president of the obfa the only thing missing is the SEND ANOTHER THOUSAND to Pay for the Lobbyist.:looser
 

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capt.eugene (11/24/2009)
JoeZ 11/24/09

It is a letter from the past president of the Orange Beach Charter Boat Assoc, Ms. Bobbi Walker -- a woman I've worked with for years and know for decades and respect greatly. Her family pioneered charter fishing over there and here's where they stand on the issue.
You do mean Her X-Husbands Family pioneered charter fishing right along with the Callaways and some others too

You do mean the X President of OBFA cause She got voted out for ripping people off and throwing her own people under the bus.

And on to the letter this all comes from X Voting member of the Gulf Council that got us here looking at the shortest season ever!

Sounds like the old days when she was president of the obfa the only thing missing is the SEND ANOTHER THOUSAND to Pay for the Lobbyist.:looser
Typical that you can not attack the substance and reality of what the letter states. So you attack the person. I did not see where you refuted anything that was said in the email. You simply attacked her personally. On the other hand, I will not attack someone personally. I am sure you are good man Eugene. But the plan that you support is garbage. Please provide a good and thought out response instead of simple attacks. To me, the email seemed well thought out and gave some good arguments against the SOS plan.

Let me guess, you want your fair share and nothing is being taken away from the recreational angler. There I wrote your response for you.
 

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Telum Pisces

Please do not support any of the captains or vessels on the list below. They support the SOS plan and intend to lie to you and steal from you so that they can stay fat and happy


I thought attack the person is how you liked it Jon. SEE ABOVE



There is more to the letter in the attachments I need to see to make full statement
 

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Telum Pisces (11/24/2009)
capt.eugene (11/24/2009)
JoeZ 11/24/09

It is a letter from the past president of the Orange Beach Charter Boat Assoc, Ms. Bobbi Walker -- a woman I've worked with for years and know for decades and respect greatly. Her family pioneered charter fishing over there and here's where they stand on the issue.
You do mean Her X-Husbands Family pioneered charter fishing right along with the Callaways and some others too

You do mean the X President of OBFA cause She got voted out for ripping people off and throwing her own people under the bus.

And on to the letter this all comes from X Voting member of the Gulf Council that got us here looking at the shortest season ever!

Sounds like the old days when she was president of the obfa the only thing missing is the SEND ANOTHER THOUSAND to Pay for the Lobbyist.:looser
Typical that you can not attack the substance and reality of what the letter states. So you attack
Exactly..when you cannot attack the message, you attack the person delivering the message....:looser
 

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I did not attack JoeZ he delivered the above Letter.





Below is the SOS plan I still don't see IFQ's mentioned the plan



Exploring a New Direction to Improve

For-Hire Red Snapper Fishing



What?s happening? ? The 2008 red snapper season was the shortest on record. This was due to the NMFS?s commitment to making sure that all sectors stay within their allotted allocation. Additionally, new government accountability measures will require that any future overages are compensated for, which could result in even shorter seasons in the future. The continued loss of fishing time and subsequent loss of business revenues highlights the desperate situation facing our industry.



It has become clear that we must reevaluate the position of the for-hire recreational fisheries sector. If negative trends continue, we stand to lose all the investment and years of labor we have collectively put into making our profession an industry. Something has to change.



Until this year, many of us thought that we could get by with shortened seasons and fewer fish. Some of our industry leaders have even suggested the solution is the status quo and have promoted the continuity of the relationship we have with the private recreational fishers.



This is no solution at all and the reason is simple: We are professional fishers who operate forprofit businesses. Both the National Research Council and the National Marine Fisheries Service agree on this point. Sure, we may all fall under the recreational sector allocation umbrella for fisheries management purposes, but we approach fishing from an entirely different perspective. Our opinion is simply that we can no longer afford to be attached to a recreational sector of unknown quantities, effort, landings and unregulated growth.



The time to become involved is now - Several for-hire businessmen are exploring how to better serve our customers, count and conserve fish, and build equity in our businesses assets. We realize the consequences of inaction: longer fishery rebuilding, fewer fishing days, and lost economic potential for our businesses. Any profitable business must have stability so owners can plan for the future. It is imperative that we all take a leadership role in developing common-sense management options to obtain stability, sustainability and give us hope for a better future. The NMFS and the Gulf Council have both indicated that they are ready to roll up their sleeves and work for better management. We believe they will be receptive to an industry led effort to make positive change.





Getting started - To begin, we want to develop a set of goals to guide our discussions and the development of this proposal such as:



Provide a reliable platform for the public to access and enjoy sport fishing.

Improve service to customers with year-around access and the ability to custom-tailor trips.

Build stability and equity in for-hire businesses.

Achieve high accountability by counting all fish caught.

Rebuild and maintain a viable for-hire fishery.

Gain fair and equitable management.

Increase industry control over management.



Achieving our Goals - Changes in recreational management will require compromise by several parties, including our industry, and it will neither be easy nor pain- free, but it is an opportunity to put our industry back on track to recover what we have lost, rebuild our investment, and eventually recover equity in our fishery. There are a lot of steps to a new management program, including a proposal, Gulf Council plans, and implementation by NMFS. This is a daunting task, but the alternative ? the status quo - equates to nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.





Here is a summary of our proposal:





Secure our allocation. We would begin by obtaining a ?control date? from the NMFS which would freeze the current percentages of recreational sector allocation between the private recreational anglers and the For-Hire Sector based upon landings history. We don?t want anything more than our fair share: only that what we have historically caught. Then we would obtain an agreement from NMFS that the percentages will remain fixed for a minimum of two years to provide enough time to get the proper monitoring tools in place by NMFS and the industry.



Put monitoring tools in place. The next step is to decide what monitoring tools we want. For starters, we think just two: VMS and electronic logbooks. These tools will provide us the opportunity of real-time catch reporting and will determine, at a high level of accuracy, who is fishing and what they are catching.



Professionalize the industry. Monitoring tools such as VMS and electronic log books will give scientists and managers better data for management decisions and will give the industry accountability, so that when fish stocks rebound, the information can be trusted and catch levels can be increased. Increasing the fishermen?s role in data collection and management of the fishery will instill a positive stake in data collection and foster a proactive attitude and participation to further enhance fisheries management.



Create a Red Snapper Endorsement. As our new sector begins to collect accurate, real-time data through the implementation of VMS and electronic logbooks, a clear picture of who is dependent on red snapper for their livelihoods will immerge. This information can then be used to determine eligibility for any future management plan for the red snapper fishery. Fishermen who have implemented VMS and electronic logbooks and have snapper landings can then be given an endorsement for red snapper and will be eligible to participate in the fishery. Fairness is of utmost importance, whether you have been in business for 6 months or 50 years, have a six-pack boat or a party boat all participants start on the same date with the same access dictated by the NMFS current opening and closings that we are fishing under now.



Support law enforcement. Throughout this process, we will support law enforcement, which will authenticate our honesty in record keeping. Through VMS, enforcement officers can easily contact vessels and verify catch, and catch composition, with random, unannounced inspections. We support strict penalties including disqualification for anyone caught cheating or ?cooking the books.? We also encourage the apprehension and prosecution of individuals illegally conducting a For-Hire business.



Hopefully, you?ll agree with us that failure to do nothing is certain failure. We welcome your participation in changing the current direction of our industry into a productive business where our sons and daughters have a future in the fishery.

 

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Very interesting read, thanks for sharing Bobbi's email. It is scary seeing how the fisheries management agencies are pushing the charter fleet out of business. We need to hit the reset button on fisheries management, but unfortunately it will never happen. As a recreational angler is angers me that we are limited on a species that is in abundence, plus guys note, her comments make it obvious that the motive is not to protect Snapper, it is to restrict access to fishing.
 

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Guys the charter fleet will go the way of the dinosaur if they don't combine with the commercial fleet. I don't have a problem with that at all as long as they don't take anymore TAC to the commercial sector. We need to keep the 49% allotted to recreational anglers because our numbers grow annually and it is our season that are closed and bag limits reduced because of exceeding the harvest numbers. AJ's are a perfect example, the season was closed because they were over fished and don't you know that the commercial guys will take their quota's for November and December driving the numbers higher. These are the same fish that the commercial fleet over fished by almost 10% last year. They are still catching them and we are not. Go figure.



I also think that in these hard economic times that the charter fleet members may want to start thinking about a career change. Granted some of their families have been fishermen for generations, times change and economics is a sharp knife when it comes to cutting tradition. If I was a charter boat owner or operator I would be giving some serious thought to a career change for my self and I would make damn sure my children do well in school. There is a wide range of technical and professional careers that is available for all who have the desire to achieve that. Working two jobs to get through college is not fun at all on top of studies but that's what it takes sometimes believe me I know.



Kim
 

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I also think that in these hard economic times that the charter fleet members may want to start thinking about a career change. Granted some of their families have been fishermen for generations, times change and economics is a sharp knife when it comes to cutting tradition. If I was a charter boat owner or operator I would be giving some serious thought to a career change for my self and I would make damn sure my children do well in school. There is a wide range of technical and professional careers that is available for all who have the desire to achieve that. Working two jobs to get through college is not fun at all on top of studies but that's what it takes sometimes believe me I know.

Kim[/quote]

Thanks but no Thanks, I worked, put myself through college, have a degree from UWF, I CHOOSE TO FISH! There will always be people here wanting to go fishing, I will always make myself avaliable to take them. The thought of working a real job would really cut into my deer hunting and family time.
 

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Fairwaterfishing (11/24/2009)


The thought of working a real job would really cut into my deer hunting and family time.
That's a pretty cocky statement for someone who makes a living off a public resource with some here as customers who work "real jobs".

Usually I am pretty sympathetic but the above statement makes me decidely less so, whenit comes to understanding the needs ofmen who are in a business and needto feed their families.

Mark W
 

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Joe

the attachmenton EDF makes me sick. Come on you SOS guys don't do this...back away. Its clear your partner the Environmental Defense Fund supports the selling of Gulf fish resources to the highest bidder.Don't be part of the total priviatization of Gulf fishery resources.

Mark W
 

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JoeZ,

This is what I was referring to in the pm. IF IFQ's for recs are instituted, they will be purchased by the large organizations then traded much like oil futures and other commodites. Unless there are rec fishers with unlimited financial resources, the Gulf will be closed to us little guys.

Unfortunately, Jarvis et. al. have volunatarily walked face first into this convaluted nightmare and are so blinded by their greed they can not recognize their own demise.
 

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Mahi Blues (11/24/2009)JoeZ,

This is what I was referring to in the pm. IF IFQ's for recs are instituted, they will be purchased by the large organizations then traded much like oil futures and other commodites. Unless there are rec fishers with unlimited financial resources, the Gulf will be closed to us little guys.

Unfortunately, Jarvis et. al. have volunatarily walked face first into this convaluted nightmare and are so blinded by their greed they can not recognize their own demise.


Yep.
 

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Today it's all about the Benjamin's and redistribution of wealth.



Tomorrow, the fishes rights will be more important than your rights. Catch one and they will sue you.



Thank God for the Progressives. The change you voted for.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
why1504 (11/25/2009)Today it's all about the Benjamin's and redistribution of wealth.



Tomorrow, the fishes rights will be more important than your rights. Catch one and they will sue you.



Thank God for the Progressives. The change you voted for.


Yeah, Obama started this.

Try again.
 
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