Tag Archives: FishNet USA

Magnuson Reauthorization, let’s get it right this time – Nils E. Stolpe/FishNet USA

When the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) became law 0n April 13, 1976, one of its primary selling points, along with reserving the fish and shellfish in our coastal waters out to two hundred miles for U.S. fishermen, was that the eight regional Fishery Management Councils that it established had as voting members both government employees who were involved in fisheries management and private citizens who were knowledgeable about fisheries. Ideally this made for balanced decision making, allowing for both the official view of what’s going on in particular fisheries and the on-the-water observations of people with an actual working knowledge of the fisheries, and with the Secretary of Commerce required to sign off on any fishery management actions. (It’s important to note that this was well before supposed environmental crises were supporting a multi-billion dollar industry.) click here to read this article. 12:21

Trawl Surveys, what are they good for? – Nils E. Stolpe/FishNet USA

(Note that I am only addressing the NOAA/NMFS reliance on bottom trawl survey data in finfish stock assessments. I am not questioning the value of the wealth of biological and physical data that this long – running series of surveys generate.) From the article: According to NOAA/NMFS these surveys have provided and continue to provide “the primary scientific data” for fisheries assessments from North Carolina to Maine (fisheries assessments are the periodic – generally held every 3 to 5 years – scientific/bureaucratic exercises. In NOAA’s words “NOAA Fisheries’ scientific stock assessments are critical to modern fisheries management. Using data gathered from commercial and recreational fishermen and our own on-the-water scientific observations, a stock assessment describes the past and current status of a fish population or stock, answers questions about the size of the stock, and makes predictions about how a fishery will respond to current and future management measures.”) click here to read the article 12:35

The Sustainable Fisheries Act – January 11, 2000 Revisited

I’ve been reviewing my past writings to gauge which, if any, have aged gracefully and which haven’t. I’ll be redistributing those that I think were particularly noteworthy, either because they were – and perhaps still are – on target or because they weren’t – or aren’t. The following addresses some of the more onerous provisions of the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996, which at the time were being fully implemented. I’ll leave it up to you to determine whether I hit this nail on the head or not. I’d be really interested to hear what you think. Nils Stolpe.  From the article: Under the provisions of the federal Sustainable Fisheries Act (SFA), at any point when the populations of each of these competing species aren’t at MSY they are considered to be “overfished” and stringent harvest restrictions implementing strict rebuilding schedules (to MSY) are mandated. By requiring that all species be at their MSY, our coastal waters are expected in the SFA to support a level of overall production that is ecologically impossible, and fishermen, both recreational and commercial, are expected to reduce their catch to meet this impossible standard. Continue reading the article here 14:45

Fishery Mismanagement: FishNet USA – Choking on good(?) intentions

From the article: We have fisheries that are on the verge of collapse while the fish stocks that support them are healthy. There is a wanton disregard for the health of the businesses that depend of fishing, a disregard that wasn’t really there until the environmental community, funded by a handful of “charitable” mega-foundations (including the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation), started to interfere in the federal fishery management process. Having healthy fish stocks, their supposed goal, is meaningless without healthy businesses benefitting from the utilization of those stocks. Today the economic effects of management actions on fishing and fishing dependent businesses are at best given lip service; the only thing that really matters when management decisions are considered is whether or not “overfishing” will be ended. The argument for the almost total focus on the health of the stocks, a concept that is exemplified by the above four sources of uncertainty from a study that was paid for – surprise, surprise! – by one of the mega-foundation that has spent many millions of dollars on “fixing” fisheries, is that healthy fish stocks are supposed to mean healthy fisheries. The present condition of the New England groundfish fishery shows how wrong that supposition is. Read the full article, click here 11:41

I.U.U. Fishing/The latest supposed ocean crisis/All the news that’s fit to print?

Nils Stolpe/FishNet USA – Over the past several years there has been much discussion, debate, posturing, misrepresentation, exaggeration and incipient empire building on and around the subject of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Most of this has been driven by ENGOs and the mega-foundations that support them because they have all of these fish saviors on the payroll with, since the demise of overfishing, not an awful lot to do. Not surprisingly the Obama administration has been complicit in this. Starting out with a point of clarification, IUU fishing is, or should be, a concern in some areas of the world’s oceans – but for reasons that I’ll get to an a bit, it isn’t, or shouldn’t be, in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). In spite of this you can bet dollars to donuts that that’s where all of the ENGOs will be focusing their IUU efforts, because it’s a lot more comfortable, convenient and safe to assault domestic fishermen from their cushy digs in Philadelphia or Washington DC than from some tropical or sub-tropical Hell hole where most of the IUU activity is based. And, I’m sure the feeling in those cushy digs in Philadelphia and Washington is that the public and the pols aren’t sophisticated enough to realize this, and in all likelihood – thanks to the mega-million dollar PR juggernaut that is backstopping their efforts – never will be. To read the complete article, click here 15:15

When it comes to fish and fishing Huffington Post is all wet – Nils E. Stolpe/FishNet USA

Last week Dana Ellis Hunnes, a Huffington Post blogger, managed to package in just 700 words more false, misleading, distorted and just plain wrong information about fish and seafood production than I’ve ever seen in works with far more words by professional anti-fishing activists. Addressing her inaccuracies on a point by point basis: Sustainable Fish Do Not Exist – Starting out with her title, the Merriam-Webster definition of sustainable is “able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed, involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources, able to last or continue for a long time.” The concept of renewable resources revolves around the sustainable utilization of those resources. Click here to read the full article 13:27

FishNet USA/NOAA Enforcement, media bias, and what’s fact checking?

Much attention has been directed towards a recent IRS/NOAA investigation of alleged criminal activity of New Bedford (MA) fleet owner/seafood wholesaler and retailer Carlos Rafael. Particularly considering the fact that NOAA is trying to force New England fishermen to shoulder the onerous burden of paying for on-board observers to make sure that they aren’t “cheating” on federal fishing regulations, some industry observers have called into question the timing of the actions surrounding Mr. Rafael’s business dealings, and I’ll bet dollars to donuts that the anti-fishing activists are going to leap on this opportunity to clamor for even more – and even more expensive policing of fishermen (it’s been estimated that the costs of the existing level of observer coverage, if passed on to fishermen, will force on the order of 25% of New England’s groundfish fleet out of business).Read the rest of this intro, and, Who really “destroyed a decade of law enforcement?” FishNet USA/December 28, 2011 Nils E. Stolpe Click here16:12

After 39 years of NOAA/NMFS fisheries management, how are they doing? How are we doing because of their efforts?

FishNet USA/January27, 2016 Nils E. Stolpe – Back in June of 2012 I wrote After 35 years of NOAA/NMFS fisheries management, how are they doing? How are we doing because of their efforts? (http://www.fishnet-usa.com/35.pdf) in which I looked at . While there were some bright spots, overall the picture was somewhat dismal, with total landings minus Alaska’s swinging up slightly after a trending downward over the previous 5 years and being only 60% of what they were in 1979, the year that inflation corrected landings were at their highest value. Regionally, landings (minus scallops and lobster) in New England, in the Mid-Atlantic (minus scallops), in the Southeast and in the Gulf of Mexico were trending downwards with only Pacific landings heading up. Read the article here 16:04

Nils Stolpe: While it’s called fishery management, it’s not even close – Managing fishing, not fish

“At the global scale, probably the one thing currently having the most impact (on the oceans) is overfishing and destructive fishing gear.” (former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration head Jane Lubchenco in an interview on the website Takepart.com on April 7, 2010.) The Deepwater Horizon oil spill catastrophe began on April 20, less than two weeks later. Each year in the U.S. hundreds of millions of tax dollars are spent on what is called fishery management. It’s called fisheries management in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.  Read the article here 19:14

FishNet USA/Update – So how’s that “catch shares” revolution working out for groundfish?

10172769-largeFrom Nils Stolpe – Alternating with original FishNet USA articles I will be going back to pieces I’ve written (for FishNet and other outlets) over the past 19 years – isn’t it amazing how fast time goes when you’re having fun? – to see how accurate I was in identifying industry trends and predicting what their impacts were going to be. Rather than redistributing the original articles I’ll link to them on the web and try to keep these updates to two pages or under. The original for this update from March, 2014 can be read here    Read the rest here. 13:31

A Must Read! FishNet USA / Dogfish and seals and dolphin, oh my!

The bottom line is that while commercial fishermen from North Carolina to Maine are at work catching on the order of half a million mt of fish and shellfish a year, it appears as if it takes an annual 20,000,000 tons or more to keep all those marine mammals and low-value spiny dogfish and various other predatory fish going. How much of that 20 million tons is commercially/recreationally valuable species or the forage species that sustain them? No one seems awfully interested in finding that out, but they sure should be. Read the rest here 10:55

Your roots are showing – don’t be convinced by seeming grass roots efforts

Particularly now that the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act is at hand, much is being made of the supposed grass roots endorsements that are supposed to benefit all of the fishermen who the endorsers claim to be representing. This being the case, I thought it might be useful to examine what “grass roots” really means and to contrast some bona fide grass roots fishing groups with some that, in spite of their billing, might not live up to such a claim. Read the rest here 14:00

Blue Water Fishermen’​s Associatio​n – Raising the conservati​on bar for almost a quarter of a century

blue waterNils Stolpe, Fishnet USA-I had the pleasure, both personal and professional, of attending the annual membership meeting of the Blue Water Fishermen’s Association (BWFA) in Atlantic City in April. It was pleasurable in large part because I got to catch up with old friends who I haven’t seen nearly as much as I would like to in recent years, and that was the personal part. The professional part, however, was my being able to once again experience at firsthand how a fishermen’s association that is truly committed to conservation operates internally (this isn’t to imply that there aren’t a whole slew of fishermen’s organizations whose members aren’t similarly committed. In 2014 this is the rule, not the exception). <Read more here>  17:03

Bluefin tuna and Pew, here we go again! – Nils E. Stolpe, FishNet USA/June 24, 2013

On August 13, 1997 Josh Reichert, then Director of the Pew Trusts Environment Program and now Executive Vice President of the Trusts, in an op-ed column in the Philadelphia Inquirer titled, Swordfish technique depletes the swordfish population wrote “the root problem is not only the ,,,,,,,,,,In what has become typical Pew style, Mr. Reichert’s article was just a small piece of a frightfully well-funded campaign to “save the swordfish” from the depredations of the U.S. pelagic longline  fleet. Involving scientists who had been willing riders on the Pew funding gravy train, enlisting restaurateurs into the campaign who hadn’t the foggiest idea what swordfishing or pelagic longlining was all about, and using the formidable Pew media machine,, continued here