: Marine Protected Areas (MPA's) are on the way
04-07-2003, 01:30 AM
Marine Protected Areas (MPA's) are on the way. California established one this past January and there are plans for many of the coastal states after published studies about the need for
MPA's. Many fisherman feel there are other things that can be done in fisheries management prior to establishing MPA's. Here's a few examples, Stopping or greatly reducing commercial harvest of menhaden or other bait fish species. Setting species size limits and quotas for harvest that permit a minimum of two years reproduction not zero. And finally stop fishing for a species during it's spawning periods.
A report from the PEW Oceans Commision published study is likely to accelerate the establishment of MPA's. Apparently it's been 30 years since a complete and comprehensive
study of environmental marine policy has been done, and PEW was assigned to the task.
This report/study is to be presented to the President and Congress will get things rolling.
Interesting polls and dialoge with fisherman posted on PEW site as well.
Article on study
Report mentioned in Article
PEW Oceans Commission Reports, and News
Environmental Defense MPA page.
Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA)
RFA Home page (opposed to MPA based on bad science or previously poor management decisions)
I read California established a group of areas around the channel Islands this past January.
Some stories about it below. Some at the RFA see MPA's as the beginning of the end, of the right to fish these areas.
RFA political view
Here in New England things are starting to happen as well. Haven't found too much out about meetings or public input yet or what new areas are no fish zones in R.I. or MA for example.
Alot of talk about Stellwagon and the Grand Banks. I'm afraid it's only a matter of time before we see some coastal areas outlined for no fish zones.
Massachussetts Division of Marine Fisheries MPA info
Rhode Islands MPA declaration
Article on Canada's first MPA
Obviously an issue that will effect most all of us if it's expanded like so many Federal programs are. I have been watching and look forward to the public hearings when they occur in our area. Hope to see some of you guys there as well.
Excellent summary & resources Greg.
Unfortunately sportsmen underestimate the abilities of the "conservation" groups out there that are restricting our rights and access to waters & fishereies that WE are the major protectors of.
The groups lobbying for this are professional and have fully employed staff working on this. This is a get example of why you should still support CCA.
04-07-2003, 03:32 PM
Greg, thanks for the info. We don't want to see recreational anglers capriciously denied opportunities to fish.
Having said that, I am disturbed by the increasing friction between fishermen and environmental groups. It is a shame because if we worked together we really would have a tremendouse power base to fight the REAL threats to fishing: habitat distruction, overfishing and pollution. Anglers alone do not have the clout. Especially if they continue to be unwitting schills for industry, developers, the comercial fishing and the 4wheelers, jetskiers and ATVs.
For example: Last week I was fishing near Naples, FL. Currently there is a BIG fight over Manatee protection and boating/development. I asked the guide I was fishing with, and he told me that Manatees aren't even native to Florida. I thought, "Then screw the Manatee if they aren't native." I went into the local fly fishing outfitter and asked the owner if that was true. "Damn right, they're not native."
When I got home I looked into it and found that Manatees are in fact native to Florida. What a sorry situation, to be told a pack of lies from two fellow anglers. I wonder who fed them that crap. The land developers? Yamaha?. I don't doubt that they belive what they told me. Sad to see duped sportsmen on the wrong side of an issue.
As for Roop's claim that fishermen are "major" protectors of the resource, I wouldn't be so quick to pat ourselves on the back too hard. NJ has the highest striper harvest of all the states, and they do not even have a comercial fishery. On the other hand we have the RFA supporting increased harvest! As a group, we could do better.
Also,(I'm not picking on you Jeff), as for the well organized and proffessionally staffed lobby groups, Big Green is no different than CCA, RFA, NRA et. al. With out members and donations, they are out of jobs. Does anyone else think it odd that the COASTAL conservation assosiation is fighting for fishing off Catilina Island and Stellwagon? They are simply trying to increase their membership base(California) and chasing the big bucks (off shore fishermen and the boating industry). I am a CCA member. They are still our best bet, but recently they have been acting kinda funny. I would like to see more CONSERVATION.
The enimies of the sportsmen ARE very powerful. They are not the environmental lobbies.
This is a statement from the WWF and Audubon: "We don't think that all MPAs should prohibit all fishing.
We don't think that new MPAs should be established without active participation by anglers every step of the way.
We don't think that MPAs can replace sound fisheries management.
We do believe that Marine Protected Areas can play a role in restoring abundance to our oceans, and benefit us all."
Wow, that is not what I'm hearing from CCA. Why would they paint such a different picture? I'm sick of the scare tactics and inuendos. While we complain about the threat from environmentalists, regulations promoting clean air, water and endangered species are being dismantled. We are losing preciouse and unreplacable habitat.
Let's stop chasing bogey men and remember the real threats to the sport and environment we love.
From my experience, fishermen (recreationals) ARE the major protectors of the resource.
The first place I read anything about MPA's was in an edition of FLorida SPortsman and it scared the crap out of me. I raised this issue a year or so ago and received a lot of "this will never happpen in NEw ENgland responses. Guess what? It is happenning here & I bet there is little that can be done to stop it at this point.
It's too bad that there will never be a common voice among he different "conservation" groups like CCA, TU, WWF & Audobon.
The problem as far as my interests are concerned is that the recreational fishing lobby is too fragmented.
Look at this thread - how many views with 2 other people posting to it.... :(
04-07-2003, 07:40 PM
I have been following the hysteria promoted in Florida Sportsman, Sport Fishing and the other rags. Look at their advertising. Boats and Motors. How do you get to Catalina? They would say anything to sell magazines and advertising. Nothing like a little war to get peoples attention.
I hope that CCA can't be bought so easily.
While we are talking about Catalina, when I lived in California, I was shocked by the mentality on the charter boats. How many pounds of fish do you need? Poeple I hardly knew would be giving me fish. What a waist. Greed on the part of the head boats wrecked the fishing out there, and they have the gaul to blame environmentalists. What a crock! I doubt that the head boats on the Right Coast are any better. They are no different than the comercial fishermen, with the same winner take all mentallity. There is no tommorow for them without heavy regulation, so why ally ourselves with them? These guys are not our friends.
Hammering reefs and hot spots by head boats is unacceptable.
Closing off entire areas to all fishing is unacceptable especially when you consider that any fishery is static - there are no resident stripers, cod move in & out, flounder migrate.....
THe answer is effective fishery management not closing areas to all users/ fishermen.
04-10-2003, 02:00 PM
>Hammering reefs and hot spots by head boats is unacceptable.
Hi Roop and Eddie,
Thanks for the kudos on the links and summary, I haven't had time to read through all the reports yet, But can share some personal experience for you to ponder.
I have to agree with you the head boats do have a large impact, as do any large group of anglers or hooks/nets in the water. I worked on saltwater headboat for a year or so. We started fishing just off shore within a 2-3 miles for the tourists and as far as 250 miles for the serious fisherman 20 years ago. We would fish a reef till the groupers and snappers were gone and we only caught squirrel fish and octopus. Then we would find a new reef to fish
and eventually clean out. With 1/2 day trips 2 times a day with 40-80 anglers we did a real number on them.
Eddie's experience with the mentality of the people running them was the same as mine. We kept most everything, we too gave fish away to people once in awhile as well. Conservation wasn't as much a concern as getting enough people to make it profitable to go out. We rarely
saw many recreational anglers. The captain never said anything about returning the fish or even asking, the owners wanted as many as possible hanging of the back off the boat when
parading through the harbor as an advertisement on how great the fishing was. Another negative impact was using a gallon or 2 of straight clorox bleach daily to wash the boat(s)
and bait and fish boxes down with, all of it washed right into the ocean.
I went back to the same boat to go after some grouper and snapper a few years back. It was business as usual with new owners, their practices where almost the same. The small grouper typically always had their swim bladders sticking out of their mouth when they hit the surface. They just pop it with a knife or hook and throw it back. They now also had to go
20-30 miles out and to find any fish, plus there where other recreational fisherman around now in some of the same spots.
Florida established more restrictive bag and size limits since then to try and bring the populations back. But there is much more fishing pressure now, and it's probably not enough anymore to bring them back. So MPA's may be the only way to improve the situation. I'm not sure about the sizes required for reproduction of the grouper or snapper and the legal keeper sizes.
>Closing off entire areas to all fishing is unacceptable especially when you consider that
>any fishery is static - there are no resident stripers, cod move in & out, flounder
>THe answer is effective fishery management not closing areas to all users/ fishermen.
I respectfully disagree about that. The fishery and environment is dynamic and changes due to different events.
I also think closing of some areas to protect migrating and local species is a proven form of conservation.
During the 70's in the midwest migrating waterfowl, local bird populations as well as bag
limits dropped to alarming numbers. The migrating birds were getting blasted at most everyplace along their route. Local birds had to deal with very heavy hunting pressure on public and private land and waterways. So much so that wildlife and hunting conservation groups established bird sanctuaries along the migration routes and in parts of the forests.
They even started raising birds for release in the forest as well as put and take areas. Although many were too fat to fly, it satisfied alot of hunters and took pressure of the natives. Many hunters lost some of their favorite spots to no-hunting bird sanctuaries. It
took a few years, but the populations and bag limits were up as a result. I expect MPA's will bear some of the same frustrations and fruit in the future as did bird sanctuaries.
Theres no doubt looking at the fisheries data on catch and release, that recreational fisherman return significant number of fish and are conserving the fish population despite
the statistical mortality rate of released fish. Afterall fly fisherman are a minority and many fish that are caught can get gut hooked once in awhile. Many new to the sport or uncaring haven't learned about proper fish handling, circle hooks etc... Those are the primary cause of much of the mortality in my opinion.Just 2 years ago when the economy was booming the number of boats doubled here in Massachussetts, in just one year. I'm certain that alot more fisherman are taking to the salt as well judging by seeing more out there fishing. I took a friend and his son out on the Merrimack river last summer who never ever fished salt water before. He saw all the boats and the shore fisherman and looked to me and said "These fish don't stand a chance here".
So it seems to be an uphill battle for the fish, one that could only benefit from additional measures if we expect to see a significant increase in the populations and bag limits. But many fisherman think there is more that can and should be done before MPA's. I think we should look at them case by case and consider the plight of the birds and experiences there.