This one though I missed, and now on second review I was surprised to read this which was first reported in the:
I like to focus in on this section within the article by Richard Gaines who has been the driving force in exposing this extremely troubling issue:
Among the grant recipients was EDF's client, the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders Alliance, which received $200,002 to help NOAA create the reef fish and headboat catch share program.
In New England, the Penobscot East Resource Center in Maine was awarded $185,000, the Tri-state fishing sector which participates in the groundfish catch share program received $68,500, the University of New Hampshire received $142,700, the Sustainable Harvest sector based in Maine received $30,000, and the Rhode Island Party and Charter Boat Association received $86,200.
The grants were for different projects related to catch shares, which are ending a first year in New England that generated a federal lawsuit filed by the cities of Gloucester and New Bedford and industry co-plaintiffs. The lawsuit against Amendent 16 — the radical new regimen that introduced catch shares and fishing cooperatives or sectors along with hyper conservative catch limits — alleges that the changes have destatablized New England's ports and have spawned an economic disaster for fishing communiites.
Now excuse me if I have missed something here or have not kept up on the fishing industry news in New England, but why would the Rhode Island Party & Charter Boat Association being receiving this type of grant money?
My spider like senses told me to start looking closer to this issue of a for-hire fishery group in this region embracing such a notion of SECTOR SEPARATION.
I do want to make clear, that I am very receptive to programs which will benefit the for-hire industry, but I also do not want to get in bed with a group like EDF who has been pushing SECTOR SEPARATION along this coast and has a very checkered track record with the Catch Shares programs in the New England groundfish industry and down in the Gulf of Mexico, backing a charter boat group, SOS (Save Our Sector) and the disinformation that was spread at the meetings to gain wider support from the for-hire industry in that region.
Let us read on though......
On further investigation:
ON THE STATE OF THE INDUSTRY
Half of Rhode Island’s charter and party captains believe that their business will be worse off five years from now, and blame the difficulties facing their industry on the regulations, the economy, and increased operating costs.
Captains believe they need to be able to reduce their cost of operations and increase their client base in order to improve their revenue stream.
ON LIMITED ENTRY
Half of captains say their revenues would increase if the Charter/Party Boat fleet had its own allocation, separate from private anglers, and if there was limited entry because of a more consistent fleet size.
ON DIFFERENCES BETWEEN USER GROUPS
Almost all captains would see themselves better positioned to compete in the Charter/Party boat market if they were considered their own user group and managed independently from private anglers and commercial fishermen.
ON MANAGEMENT ALTERNATIVES
Half of captains would be willing to participate more in the political process and would be prepared to join a cooperative if they believed positive change could turn the industry around.
If government regulations could be changed, captains would prefer to see longer seasons.
Half of captains would be willing to use an electronic logbook and VMS if they thought better data would mean more flexibility in fishing regulations.
However, if given the choice between only using an electronic logbook or only using VMS, captains would prefer to use an electronic logbook.
Over two thirds of captains would be willing to explore new ways of collecting and disseminating harvest data if a better economic picture was tied to data verification.
I highly recommend that every fishermen go here and take a good look at the survey. It was very enlightening, but many of the views and support seen on a number of issues, did not surprise me as I hear this from the for-hire captains I speak to in the west end area in the NY BIGHT.
A number of years back, I first discussed the for-hire fleet getting their own category so that instead of a commercial/recreational split of the pie, a third group which combines both aspects of these two groups would be created.
It was shot down at that time since when a few captains took a closer look at it, the TOTAL ALLOCATION to the for-hire group, would be much smaller then both the party and charter boats would never to get through the season. They felt it would be better to stick it out and keep the status quo of remaining in the recreational category. I should point out though, this was from a number of years ago when the bag, season and size limits were NOT as restrictive as they have been the last two years.
Sector Separation is nothing new in this region, and though many would think that it has not been used here, I should point out that striped bass is the best example that can be used to illustrate this. To wit:
The practice of changing sector allocations is not new. In fact in the 80’s and 90’s the striped bass fishery in Maryland was severely challenged by a declining and weakened striped bass fishery (just as most of the east coast was). So much so, that a total moratorium was applied as well as “a combination of closures, size changes, creel (bag) limits and quotas to reduce fishing mortality and promote spawning stock recovery.” said Harley Speir, former assistant director, Maryland Fisheries Service and former Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management council member.
Spear said,”…in the early 1990’s (they) separated the recreational fishing sector into charter boat and private recreational sectors as we reopened the striped bass fishery. The sectors would have separate harvest quotas and different seasons and creel limits. …We managed the two sectors for five full seasons before merging the two again.”
When coming out of moratorium private recreational anglers and recreational anglers fishing on for-hire charter boats had different allocations to help bolster the charter fishing industry. Once the striped bass fishery rebounded, allocations were revisited and changed allowing both private recreational anglers and recreational anglers fishing on charter boats a two fish/person/day limit (similar to what exists in Rhode Island today). The sector separation and reallocations were a success for private recreational anglers, the charter fishing industry and the striped bass fishery which rebounded to sustainable levels.
I do like to point out that in discussions between one noted fishing operator who is also very involved in fishery management, passed this along to me on SECTOR SEPARATION:
1- It is a IFQ (Individual Fishing Quota)
2- It is spawned from EDF's - CATCH SHARES fishery management program
3- For-hire industry receiving 'Fair Quotas', when you are working with PROVEN FAULTY MRFFS DATA
4- MRIP coming online I - will prove that the for-hire industry is WAY UNDER the quota on a number of managed species
5- MRIP coming online II - amazing decline in what has been and is actually caught by the for-hire industry
You decide on what you think is best for the for-hire industry and for the recreational fishermen. I am just putting this information out there for you to be more informed in making a decision upon.