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Discussion Starter #1
A new name for consideration of the position as head of the NMFS has appeared: Elliott Norse. Norse is president and founder of the Marine Conservation Biology Institute, in Bellvue, WA.</DIV></DIV>He has worked at the conservation science-policy interface for his entire career, according to his bio. His Ph.D research was done on blue crabs in
the Caribbean. Starting in 1978 he worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency, President's Council on Environmental Quality, Ecological Society of America, Wilderness Society and Ocean Conservancy before founding MCBI in 1996.

He is a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation and Adjunct Professor of Marine Conservation Science and Policy at Duke University Marine Laboratory, served as President of the Society for Conservation Biology's Marine Section, and
received the Nancy Foster Award for Habitat Conservation from the National Marine Fisheries Service and Brooklyn College named him its 2008
Distinguished Alumnus. His primary area of marine research is on preserving biodiversity.
</DIV></DIV>Contact your U.S. Senator and Representative today and state your opposition to the consideration of Elliott Norse as head of the NMFS. We cannot afford to allow his appointment to this position.</DIV>

1,371 Posts
We (the "common" people) need more to go on if we're going to try to oppose something in Washington. I don't know what most of his resumemeans, and from the press release we don't get much of a clue on his agenda. If you want real meaningful help on this you'll need to educate us some. Pretend that we don't have a clue because most of us don't.

4,151 Posts
<TABLE class=contentpaneopen_tt><TBODY><TR><TD class=contentheading_tt width="100%"><H1><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-font-kerning: 18.0pt; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA; mso-bidi-font-weight: bold">Here is one view point covering Marine Conservation Biology Institute activities.</H1><H1></H1><H1></H1><H1>Freedom To Fish Campaign</H1></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE class=contentpaneopen_tt><TBODY><TR><TD>Conservation Corner</TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top>

Conservation of marine fisheries and protection of marine habitat seems to be on everyone?s minds lately and rightly so. In the last few years we?ve read about ocean and fisheries issues in papers, news magazines and mainstream publications that showed little or no interest in them before, but for anglers these issues are nothing new. We have fought long and hard to see meaningful changes made in the management of living marine resources and we?ve won some very big victories.

As a result many fisheries have seen declining population trends reversed by management decisions or legislative initiatives on a state level, like the net ban in Florida, and through important changes made to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act in the 1996 reauthorization on a federal level. While everything isn?t rosy, it is beginning to look like we might have turned a very important policy corner and angler?s groups have been a key driving force for conservation and change.

However, there are efforts being made to use this growing awareness by the general public to create a network of marine protected areas (MPA?s) that prohibit <B style="COLOR: black; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #a0ffff">recreational fishing[/B] without scientific justification for doing so and with little or no benefit to fisheries or habitat being derived from the exercise. It is an issue that has strained relations between environmental groups and <B style="COLOR: black; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #a0ffff">recreational fishing[/B] groups when, in reality, we should be natural allies.

The RFA has taken this issue very seriously as it has the potential to negatively impact the public?s ability to fish and the network of businesses, both large and small, that exist to provide goods and services to recreational fishermen. Of major concern is the setting of a new precedent that would allow <B style="COLOR: black; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #a0ffff">recreational fishing[/B] to be curtailed in selected areas for no other reason than it seems like a good idea now an we?ll worry about the implications later.

A coalition of environmental non-government organizations (ENGO?s) with a well-documented philosophical desire to establish no-fishing MPA?s is pushing their agenda with the financial backing of charitable trusts, most notably the Pew Foundation. Their desire is to see the ocean carved up into a patchwork quilt of marine sanctuaries and while it has little basis in sound science it has everything to do with their vision of how the ocean ought to be managed. And when they say ?no-fishing? they mean all fishing regardless of the disparate impacts, or lack of impacts, between commercial trawling, potting, netting and long lining and properly regulated individuals recreationally fishing with rod and reel.

This is not a scare tactic to arouse anglers. It is already happening. California politicians, wooed by environmental groups, passed the Marine Life Protection Act, which permits up to 25% of the state?s coastal waters to be designated as off limits to all fishing. Recreational fishermen were stunned when a number of their favorite fishing areas in the Channel Islands were placed off-limits with heavy fines implemented for errant anglers who ventured into them. There has been a battle raging there for the past year, but the closures remain in place. Most recently the new governor has chosen not to provide the funding for enforcement of the ban, but that could change.

California is only the beginning. Environmental groups have been laying the groundwork to implement similar closures in many coastal states and in federal waters! They are salivating at what they could do in Florida with the Key?s already technically in the hands of the federal government and some closures already in place. They have hired a full time lobbyist whose only job is to attack Freedom To Fish and to promote MPA?s in coastal states.
The ENGO?s that head the list of activist organizations openly promoting wholesale closures include the Conservation Law Foundation, Ocean Conservancy, Environmental Defense, Natural Resources Defense Council, <B style="COLOR: black; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffff66">Marine Conservation Biology Institute[/B], and SEAWEB and they have made their position abundantly clear. They want to create networks of no fishing MPAs (marine reserves) in our bays and off our coasts regardless of the questionable conservation benefit and in spite of the social and economic consequences. Check out their websites and you can read about it for yourself.

The angler?s answer to this affront is the ?Freedom To Fish Act.? The <B style="COLOR: black; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #a0ffff">Recreational Fishing[/B] Alliance (RFA) is a political action group made up of concerned saltwater anglers, companies in the <B style="COLOR: black; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #a0ffff">recreational fishing[/B] industry and a staff of professional lobbyists and it is pushing for the passage of this legislation to protect your ability to fish. The bill is proactive, scientifically based and consistent with sound conservation while recognizing the social and economic importance of recreational fishing. It would simply establish standards to be met before no-fishing MPAs can ban the public from fishing. The RFA also took the bold step of transforming the federal legislation into an initiative to introduce Freedom to Fish legislation in coastal states in an effort to protect anglers in both state and federal waters.

The RFA has been extremely active in the last two years since initiating its state campaign. The goal was to introduce versions of the bill in as many coastal states as possible and try and have it passed in all of them. This is no small feat as going the legislative route is time consuming, expensive, requires a lot of organization and work with local angler groups and there has been and continues to be considerable opposition from the ENGO?s that do not want to see any caveats place on their ability to designate where marine reserves will be placed and for what reasons.
The RFA has found that the scientific studies being used by these groups to back their position is weak at best.

?The RFA?s staff has spent months pouring through the documentation being touted by closure proponents,? said Michael Doebley, Deputy Director of Government Affairs for the RFA. ?Much of it is irrelevant, lacks proper comparison and is decades out of date. Worst of all, it is frequently little more than advocacy hiding behind a thin veneer of science. When you take a closer look, you see a pattern that has little to do with rebuilding fish stocks and everything to do with their philosophical desire to ban fishing.?

Probably the most dangerous implication of the push for marine reserves is it has been distracting attention away from the real problems that must be addressed by the conservation and management communities as a whole?identifying and mitigating fishing practices that are leading to overfishing and habitat degradation to the ocean and estuaries as a whole and not attempting to preserve small, specific areas. Such negative impacts can be caused by fishing gears that are damaging or generate excessive bycatch of non-target species; fishing during times of spawning aggregations when it would be better to have a closed season to improve spawning success; identifying areas of habitat that fisheries are uniquely dependent upon and protecting them from those actions that are injurious; and many more management measures that will help improve sustainability across geographic boundaries and not just with the boundaries of reserves.

After months of hard legislative work, the RFA has found the response from lawmakers to be generally positive. Once contacted most recognize there is a serious problem and agree that banning the public from fishing is not the answer. The House version of the federal Freedom to Fish Act was reintroduced late last year and is gaining numerous cosponsors and strong support on Capitol Hill. With the RFA stepping up its lobbying efforts, the bill currently has 18 co-sponsors demonstrating strong, bipartisan support. The companion bill in the Senate was introduced more recently and is beginning to generate momentum as well.

Freedom To Fish has been introduced into the legislative process in eleven coastal states so far, passed in two and generated a legislative resolution in another since last spring. It was introduced in Rhode Island in February 2003, passed and signed into law July 2003. It was introduced in Pennsylvania as a resolution and adopted in June 2003 with recommendations for adjoining states to enact similar legislation. It was introduced Maryland in Spring 2003 and held over for ?summer study,? essentially a negotiating period with other interested parties. The RFA, Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen?s Association, CCA-MD, Maryland Commercial Watermens Association, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, and Maryland Aquatic Resources Council got together and crafted a version of the bill that addresses various concerns. The consensus bill was passed and signed by the governor earlier this year.

It has also been introduced in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, South Carolina, New Hampshire, California and Washington and is in varying stages of the legislative process in those states. You probably noticed the glaring absence of Florida on this list. While RFA has been able to accomplish state initiatives either alone or by partnering with state groups we have not been able to generate such interest in Florida and that is worrisome as Florida is prime for addition closures.

We Can?t Do It Alone- Join RFA!
In the words of the executive director of the RFA, ?This is one of the most important, precedent-setting issues recreational fishermen face today. We need the support of anglers around the country to see this through.? You can help by joining the RFA and telling your fishing friends to do the same.
The powerful Southern Kingfish Association supports the RFA?s efforts, as do tens of thousands of individual anglers and affiliated groups and clubs around the country. Many companies that manufacture fishing tackle, boats and accessories are corporate sponsors of the RFA. Call 1-888-JOIN-RFA or log onto today! </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
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