Congress : National Marine Fisheries Service, Destroying Fishermen and their Communities, The fifty million dollar question.

Please read, and sign the Petition By Joel Hovanesian, Thank you.

Fisheries observers work aboard commercial fishing vessels during fishing trips. They collect information on catch, both kept and discarded, as well as biological data and information on gear and fishing operations over a range of commercial fisheries. These data are used extensively by researchers and fishery managers to better understand the condition of fishery stocks, fishing businesses, and fishing operations.

These are NOAA’s words. The reality of the situation is far different. While many fishing businesses have been destroyed by the policies of the National Marine Fisheries Service and many more just hanging on we need to look at the reality of what is truly going on and questions need to be asked.

First and foremost is what is this 50 million dollar operation observing? Many of the stocks that are being observed are at levels that would warrant an increase in harvest levels yet every day fishermen are required to throw away thousands of pounds of “regulatory discards” in spite of the fact that a particular stock is rebuilt. Black sea bass is a prime example. The resource is at over 200 times of the maximum sustainable yield yet fishermen are allowed to harvest these desired fish at levels so low it makes it unprofitable to pursue them. And as we are now seeing there are complete closures in many states.

Again, are these fish invisible to the observer program? This is just one example of what takes place on a daily basis. The fact is that there are a whole host of species that are being discarded at alarming rates because of poor science and government procured stock assessments that reflect low populations in spite of what the reality of the situation is and what the fishermen observe daily.

We could go on and on but it’s time to get down to reality. If the government can find 50 million dollars to give to one business, and things are as bad as they claim, then why can’t they support the thousands of businesses that are on the edge of insolvency because of their onerous regulations? Also does anyone know or has this company been audited to see just exactly why they need an operating budget of ten million dollars per year?

Another question is does the government want these small family businessmen to survive? They say they do but their continued actions suggest something else that is far more sinister. Many believe the government seeks to industrialize the oceans with wind farms, oil and gas rigs and a whole host of other industrial applications at the expense of this treasured food resource. The facts speak for themselves.

So it’s time for this industry to draw a line in the sand. It’s time to demand that if the government is going to mandate by law that we provide our places of business for private companies to enrichen themselves while starving out thousands of hard working fishermen and the support business’s ashore that we must be compensated for the use of our places of business!
Where on earth are businesses’s forced to take people under their roofs and supply them with everything they need to do a job that at the end of the day is eliminating their ability to survive? This is insanity. They wonder why there is animosity between industry and the observer program. Well it’s no wonder. They want to observe everything we do, fine. Pay us. Pay us to accommodate, feed, house, use our equipment, fuel, and allow them to get in our way of doing our job. I guarantee the animosity will go away and there may even be cooperation between industry and those tasked at observing. Perhaps then, many of those who are struggling to keep their heads above water may survive till the time comes that those in charge will allow enough landings to once again feed this nation the quality local seafood products they deserve at a price they can afford instead of importing 95% of our seafood products, that are in most cases full of chemicals and not fit for human consumption.

The bottom line is this. If one company is worth fifty million dollars, how much is an entire industry worth? Here is your opportunity to be heard loud and clear on this issue. Please sign this online petition that seeks for industry vessels to be justly compensated for providing the platform and accommodations that has up until now been provided for free. $1500.00 per day would seem a reasonable fee to provide this service. Perhaps then many of those who are on the brink will survive until the time comes that science improves enough to allow us to DO OUR JOBS!

>>Click here to sign the Petition<<