Letter: Time to revamp Saltonstall-Kennedy grants
Jun 28, 2016 – Gloucester Daily Times
To the editor:
Every year $10 million is given out in grants. This is free money. Where does it come from? From duties on imported seafood. Each year there are more than 300 applicants who submit their Saltonstall-Kennedy proposals. Unfortunately, very few fishermen apply. Why? If you look at the paperwork required, you too would be confused. You need to be a professor to be able to write a proposal that would be accepted. Perhaps the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration should provide our fishermen with people to help them with the paperwork. After all, this is what the Saltonstall-Kennedy funds were for.
Unfortunately, this has not been the case. Over the past 10 years, these grants go to universities to develop tracking devices or other types of monitoring systems, and normally some professor makes extra money. And after a review panel has made its recommendations, it is NOAA who makes the final selection.
Personally I think the whole Saltonstall-Kennedy grant requirements should be reviewed and simplified so the fishermen would have a better chance. I also think it should be reviewed by not only NOAA but by some other board — this could be a combination of financial advisers and other experts.
Back to the ways of the past to save the future of our coastal waters – Salvatore Novello
Lets look back into past of fishing ,In 1950s to 1980s ,most of the fishing boats were eastern rigged side trawlers, and were limited to how much wire that could be used in front of their net. Most of the boats used 15 ftms legs, and 15 ftms ground cables before their net. During this time period, fish stocks were good and sustainable. Lets talk about THE WIRE BEFORE THE NET. The wire used before the net makes a mud cloud when it makes contact with the ocean bottom and most fish will not cross this mud cloud. This called fish herding. That makes the wire just as important as net for catching fish.
THIS IS A FACT, THE MORE WIRE USED BEFORE NET, THE MORE FISH YOU ARE GOING TO CATCH.
Two letters from Salvatore Novello
NOAA HAS TO CHANGE THEIR WAYS AS OUR OCEANS ARE CHANGING!!!
IN PUT , AS A STAKE HOLDER, IN GULF OF MAINE FISHERIES
North Pacific Fishery Management Council
605 West 4th Ave, Suite 306
Anchorage, AK 99501
Fax: (907) 271-2817
Public Comment of Stephen Taufen, founder of Groundswell Fisheries Movement
Re: C-5 Bering Sea Halibut PSC
Madame Secretary, Chairman Dan Hull & NPFMC members:
Groundswell is a public fisheries advocacy movement that has testified before the NPFMC for the past two decades, and I am Stephen Taufen, founder. Formerly employed in the Alaskan seafood processing sector, and managed operations for pollock weight grading and related background. This public comment concerns the previously incontrollable excessive bycatch to which the Council now attends. Groundswell favors:
- Drastic reduction of halibut PSC, primarily among the groundfish trawl fleet, especially as it applies to the wanton waste associated with the conduct of fishing YFS (yellow fin) and rock sole – products of little to no benefit to USA consumers, with no value-added economic justifications in the USA.
- Refocus on also building future stocks, i.e. the adjoining mitigation approach – not just concentrating on bycatch – of hatchery and farming programs consideration. Getting over the idea of not allowing finfish farming when there may be good reason to take advantage of it, when appropriate and applicable.
Note that #2 necessitates #1, as if the groundfish trawl segment continues practices affecting massive quantities of 26 inch and under halibut, juvenile removals will remain too high, and most hatchery assistance will go to waste, as well.
- Greater adherence to the Precautionary Approach (UN/FAO and US Commerce guides)andarethinkingofMSYversusMEY. No fishery that we deal with so often demonstrates the fallacy of running TAC and Bycatch/PSC caps up against the steep precipice of the sustainability curve, far to the right (x-axis) as halibut in Alaska. No wonder there is a collapsing directed fishery.
- If the YFS and rock sole fishing activity does correlate to 67% of the trawl groundfishery total mortality of approx. 87% (some say under IPHC recommendations, that would become 92%) for areas 4CDE halibut, then it means (87 x 67 =) 58.3% is attributable to those non-pollock non-pelagic zone conduct (i.e. it substitutes a must fish on the bottom approach of greatest damage to halibut stocks) – per AMCC public comment.
On a Bering Sea total of 4.4 million pounds (per FVOA letter to NMFS-AAF Sobeck of January 23, 2015), then 2.6 million pounds of halibut bycatch to USA
- fishermen in the directed fisheries may be said to be attributable to the YFS and RS fisheries, [albeit] of limited USA value.
- Consideration of possible changes in MSA related to “overfished” (i.e. blame it on the fishermen word games) to “depleted” (i.e. there are many other causes, foremost of which is “low recruit survival” – read as unwarranted non-precautionary trawling destruction). “Depleted” may call for the obvious required changes you so long to grasp in the realm of conservation, sustainability, and greatest maximum value to the USA.
- Accordingly, Groundswell favors the inclusion of the alternative option for an immediate, emergency rule action, 50% reduction in the trawl fisheries for halibut bycatch.
Final note, please consider that in both the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska, no other fishing gear “segment” stands in a heretofore Council-sanctioned position to enact financial havoc on the other gear types as do the trawl groundfish vessels hold privilege, example herein, to affect halibut or other species. That should impose special WatchGuard responsibilities upon the Council to protect community and related rights for those reliant upon directed fisheries – non-empowered longline, jig and pot fishermen vis-à-vis the powerful trawl lobby and to what one of our members calls “the privatization mongrels.”
Please, put a chain on that dog. There are others in the ocean park, too.
[ submitted by email ]
Stephen R. Taufen
P.O. Box 714; Kodiak, AK 99615
To: Bullard <[email protected]>
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 1:49 PM
Subject: EARLIER OPENING OF SMALL AREA 1 FOR WHITING ? DEC. 10, 2014
Hello Ms. Schiffer, Chief Counsel, NMFS
Once again, I find it difficult to understand, as indicated by the attached article, how a poor working stiff fisherman is hauled all the way to the Supreme Court for discarding two fish. As I am sure you will recall, your Mr. Dale Jones (at the time, head of enforcement) admitted to Congress, on camera, that he routinely shredded documents, including those under scrutiny, and he appeared to be smiling when he admitted it. Mr. Jones apparently was confident that he was in safe hands. A short time later he was given a cushy reassignment and a raise. Crime pays when you work for the government!
As Chief Counsel for the NMFS, as well as a Officer of the Court, it is apparent that you have a conflict of interest but yet nothing seems to change. The corrupt prosecuting attorneys that were under your direct control continued unscathed. As the Zinser report exposed them, the corrupt U.S. Coast Guard judges, including Chief Justice Ingolia, were simply let off the hook. No charges; no nothing. The only attempt to salvage the scandal was a half hearted attempt by Secretary Locke to have a independent Standing Master review complaints.
Albeit, unknown to the average reader, only one percent of the fine money was returned and even that effort is subject to suspicion. It was never revealed what funds paid the fee of Standing Master Swartwood. Are we to assume the Asset Forfeiture Fund? If so, the entire matter would be back on square one. Beyond belief,!…. a novelist could not make that one up.
The Freedom of Information Act has turned into another joke. Exorbitant fees for any information have made transparency of your agency out of reach for the average person although the information was collected at taxpayer expense. The indication would be that things are back to the same old-same old….good times are here again. Trips to Europe, extra cars, luxury yachts, unchecked expense accounts…all embezzled money from the Asset Forfeiture Fund.
The duel standards to which your agency subscribes has placed it firmly within the category of a rogue agency and incapable of managing anything. I know….you just work there.
Best Regards, Marty Stillufsen
BRING CODFISH HATCHERIES BACK USING S-K GRANTS
Tom Dempsey Resigns from the NEFMC
I’m writing to tell you that I’ve accepted a new job and, for that reason, have resigned as a member of the New England Fishery Management Council. I’ll be working with The Nature Conservancy’s Sustainable Fisheries Initiative in California and look forward to continuing to work with fishermen to meet the many challenges that face our marine resources and the fishing industry.
In light of our soon to be expanding family, we’ll need to make the move west faster than we otherwise would have. I regret that I likely won’t have the chance to see many of you in person before I leave, but I trust our paths will continue to cross in the future. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from my years on the Council and appreciate the time and effort you all put into addressing the issues facing New England’s fisheries.
You can reach me in the future at this address: (with held) Thomas.D.Dempsey
Good luck to all of you.
Recently I inquired from the Department of Commerce how much of a monetary incentive was received by the prosecuting attorneys at the Office of Law Enforcement-Gloucester for the ‘successful’ prosecutions of particular fisheries violations. This agency policy of rewarding prosecutors was exposed by the now famous 2010 Zinser report. I was informed that this information was available only by going through the labyrinth of the Freedom of Information Act. I then went forward and requested this information under the ‘FOIA’ as it applied to the National Marine Fisheries Service and also sighted the new policy of a more ‘open book’ that had been adopted by the agency. I was informed that there would be a charge of $500. for the information. Astonishing to say the least! That’s just the beginning.
On, or about, Sept. 15th, 2014 I inquired from the same FOIA office the following information: ‘Please forward information on all monetary disbursements from the Asset Forfeiture Fund (NMFS) …(who were the recipients and what was the dollar amounts and for what purpose) from 2010 to the present (August 31, 2014). Also, what is the current balance in the account. The charge for that request would be $2965.44 …letter attached. Business must be booming!
On the other hand, commercial fishermen and fish dealers are required to file weekly reports of landings, on line, and face stiff fines for failure to so. These individuals and taxpayers have computer and office expenses as well as spending their own time in performing these conscripted acts of mental and physical exertion. What are they paid? NOTHING. When I inquired as to why, I was told it’s simply the cost of doing business.
NEWS FLASH! Monies are provided for distribution to the maritime states by the Saltonstall-Kennedy legislation of the late 1950’s. Those monies were mysteriously diverted to the operation budget of the NMFS in 1980 and guess what? Nobody knows where it goes. Shredding is a mater of routine (it’s obvious why) as was told to us by Dale Jones, head of enforcement, during a congressional investigation which was triggered by the Zinser report.
Let’s put the two above together! Charging citizens for public information which has already been gathered at taxpayer expense… should be free. If not, dealers and fishermen should be paid for their conscripted reporting services. Once again, at the present time, the failure to submit timely reports by fishermen and dealers subjects those individuals to massive fines and the Zinser Report has told us where that money goes. At the same time there is plenty of money available to aid the fishing industry as noted above, but nobody at the NMFS knows where it goes?
This agency has already been characterized by our elected officials as a rogue agency. Subsequent to the Zinser Report, the head of the NMFS, Ms. Lubechenco was fired. Unfortunately, the individuals who participated in the obstruction of justice, embezzlement, perjury and deprivation of constitutional rights- were given raises, promotions and early retirement! This agency has, once again, laid claim to the title of a rogue agency by shrouding itself in secrecy and placing roadblocks to inquiries. I wonder what’s up this time.
Hey, Mr. Zinser, crank up the machine ….it’s time to go to work again.
Best Regards……Marty Stillufsen
October 17, 2014
Kodiak needs a crab restoration effort
Toby Sullivan wrote a great piece on the early Kodiak crab fishery. A kick in the mouth with a reminder that the community of Kodiak was built on crab.
This city, the state and federal government have spent up to one billion dollars in often unbelievable financial indebtedness and flat-out government largesse, all taxpayer drains.
Elected officials wouldn’t know how to generate a true return on investment from a wasteful meal plant grinder. Every year taxpayers go further into debt while working fishermen and America’s consumers lose out.
Officials act like there’s a financial money tree somewhere that justifies bond assessments, and funds huge buildings — with big offices for administrative malingerers with large computer banks. They believe the 2008 global financial collapse offers no lessons that America is still headed for the real financial collapse. You can’t build a nation or a city on worthless paper derivatives and debt. It takes real income-and tax-producing investments.
Crabbers did our part for decades. We’re the reason Kodiak grew into a nationally important fishery dependent community. There used to be shop owners and restaurants and other providers who once prospered as a thousand crab skippers and deckhands shopped here. Now look at our disheveled and dismantled downtown businesses.
So, do you care or not, for this community? If so, then get off your taxpayer draining backsides and lobby your hearts out for a crab restoration effort that would spark our economy once again. If not, then please resign and get out of your cozy office, so someone who does appreciate this town can take over.
LudgerDochtermann, F/V Stormbird & North Point
Mr. John Bullard, Dr. Bill Karp, Gene Martin, Esq.,
Gentlemen, I am addressing these comments to you and not the council because I believe you are the people that have to address the issue. From my perspective, as a scientist, NOAA committed two unpardonable sins with its press release on Gulf of Maine cod on August 1. Science was replaced with advocacy that day when statements were made about the condition of cod, and that immediate action must be taken after a secret, experimental stock status update before peer review. Indeed no supporting data was released for almost three weeks. The second sin was that fishermen in the Gulf of Maine were tried, convicted, and executed by their own government without one shred of evidence being offered. As someone who has always extolled science based management to fishermen as the proper way to move forward, my belief has been shaken to the core and cannot and will not be restored any time soon. I have struggled and continue to struggle with conveying to you the seriousness of this situation without appearing overtly hostile.
For the record, I feel the people who performed the assessment genuinely believe their results and that is the problem. I am here today to tell you unequivocally that what is described in this document is not what is being seen on the water. I believe the problems with the assessment, that all of us are witnessing, stem from an overreliance on the trawl survey combined with little fishery dependent data being available because the fishery was essentially shutdown by the last management action. Catch per unit effort data can no longer be used as a tuning index because the unreasonably high price of leased fish in so many of the stocks prevents fishermen from filling the quotas. This is being misinterpreted as lack of fish, when in fact vessels would drive themselves to bankruptcy catching cod, haddock, plaice, graysole and yellowtail all of which have lease prices that exceed their landed values even before accounting for the expenses of fishing. My son stated the problem succinctly in his PhD. dissertation, “Modelers must familiarize themselves first-hand with the realms they model”. If that had occurred in this assessment we would not be sitting here today.
My request, then, is that you pull this update back from consideration as advice for management and initiate the beginning of the benchmark assessment that is scheduled for 2015. Absent this being done, I must lay out for the administrative record the list of reasons that this process has not met the burden of National Standard 2, the so called best available science standard.
First, despite having a number of highly qualified cod scholars in New England this update was conducted in secret with input from only a handful of handpicked unknown people. Since none of those people were included or consulted none of the numerous, outstanding issues surrounding the last assessment were addressed or corrected.
Second the press release, wide dissemination, and extensive commentary made independent peer review impossible. To paraphrase Dr. Pat Sullivan chair of the review committee, there are problems with this assessment but if we reject it we will be seen as the people who gave up on Gulf of Maine cod.
Third, the information available to the reviewers and the public was insufficient to verify the results. Although several modelers were part of the review committee they had to request a science center employee do model runs at the end of the first day of the review because they had insufficient information to do tests in advance of the meeting. This violates the most basic tenet of science that sufficient information be provided so other scientists can verify the results.
Fourth the issue of M ramp and how M is going miraculously return to .2 next year was not scientifically explained. Miracles are the realm of religion, not science.
Fifth, issues related to outstanding cod assessment issues were dismissed with the statement that this is an update, not a benchmark. This is particularly relevant to the stock boundary issue. Peer reviewed articles are now available which show through DNA analysis that cod off Rhode Island and in the Great South Channel are Gulf of Maine, not Georges Bank cod. If the stock boundaries are wrong, the management measures will unfairly penalize people in the Northern Gulf of Maine while sparing people in other regions. This violates National standard 4.
Sixth, No ecosystem reference points were provided despite a binding vote of the council in April 2012 requesting them in all future assessments.
Finally, although not part of the actual assessment, work by the councils plan development team has produced a second miracle to rebuild cod by 2024. With cod catches set essentially at zero they can only achieve the spawning stock biomass reference point by 37 to 40% annual growth for all of the next ten years. F-rebuild projections may be overly optimistic. This is probably the understatement of the decade.
This is not an inclusive list of issues, but rather in the interest of time, a sample of outstanding issues surrounding this current process.
In order to end on a somewhat positive note I have brought with me a journal article from Marine Policy By P. Macdonald et al. titled “Fishers’ Knowledge as an indicator of spatial and temporal trends in abundance of commercial fish species” in which the authors describe and prove that fishermen are as good or better than modern analytical assessment methods in predicting current and near future trends in distribution and abundance of fish. I will leave the paper with the staff and would suggest everyone in this room should read it. We need experienced fishermen far more involved in the stock assessment process then they are now.
Thank you very much for your time.
BLAME CONGRESS NOT NOAA FOR FISHING REGULATIONS
Fishing has been in my family for generations and I have been a commercial fisherman my entire life. In 1990, I was advised to get out of commercial fishing by a reliable source who indicated that our government planned to further limit U.S. fishing efforts in order to trade American technology for foreign fish. Although this information came from someone I trusted, I still found it hard to believe. Either way, the statistics don’t lie. Review of published U.S. edible fishery product import/export data reflects a significant increase in U.S. imports over the years (particularly when compared to exports). Specifically, according to NOAA’s 2013 Imports and Exports of Fishery Products Annual Summary, U.S. imports of edible fishery products have increased from approximately $5.2 billion in 1990 to $18 billion in 2013 (compared to $2.8 billion and $5.19 billion in exports, respectively). Also, U.S. imports of edible fishery products were up a dramatic 8% in 2013 from 2012.
Fishing regulations are controlled by politics and big business, not to mention environmental interests. We all want to help preserve our fish stocks, but how about leveling the playing field? In 1976, the U.S. Congress passed the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act purportedly to “re-Americanize fisheries by controlling or limiting foreign fishing and to restore and conserve the fish.” Since that time, however, foreign factory trawlers continue to fill their holds while local fisherman are forced to endure an ever-tightening noose of regulations that are choking the last breaths out of the industry that put Gloucester on the map.
I wish our politicians and the environmentalists would start taking a closer look at foreign seafood imports: how their fish are caught, mesh sizes, and the conditions of farmed-raised products that many environmentalists would never eat. In addition to regulating U.S. fisheries, NOAA is also supposed to be ensuring that international fish stocks are sustainably managed. When it comes to NOAA, I generally find that most people do a good job (with the exception of some former regional leaders who put their personal agendas on the plate of the fisherman). For years, there have been so many promises about listening to the concerns of the fishermen and wanting to improve the relationship between “the industry” and regulators. Meanwhile, local fishermen continue to struggle and international fish imports continue to rise.
Gloucester fishermen are honest people trying to make an honest living . . . like our fathers and grandfathers before us. If this industry and our way of life are going to survive, we need our Congress and legislators to use Magnuson for the purpose for which it was originally intended—protecting U.S. fisheries and fishermen—not eliminating our livelihood. God bless America.
SAM NOVELLO, Gloucester Commerical Fisherman
North Pacific Fishery Management Council — 219th Plenary Session
October 6-14, 2014 — Anchorage, Alaska
Fax: (907) 271-2817 E-submit: [email protected]
BYCATCH 14-011 (C7) CGOA TRAWL BYCATCH MANAGEMENT Discussion Paper & CFAs etc.
September 30, 2014, Tuesday
Secretary Pritzker, Chair Olson and NPFMC members:
My name is Ludger W. Dochtermann, owner of the F/V Stormbird and F/V Northpoint. Among the species we fish are Halibut and Sablefish. We tender salmon, as well.
- I remain steadfastly against the allocation of Groundfisheries Catch Shares in the Gulf of Alaska.
- I especially oppose the awarding of Bycatch Quotas of Halibut, Salmon and other species.
- Bycatch quotas are an award for harms against the fisheries ecosystem — to the very parties who are conducting the harm. Those harms are profits stolen from Halibut fishermen like us.
- They do not reflect good stewardship, which calls for REDUCING AND MITIGATING such harms.
- We must have 100% Observer Coverage in the GOA Groundfisheries, esp. if Bycatch Quotas are to be considered. Your current FMP goal is reduction, not economically rewarding abusers.
The Groundfisheries sector’s main problem is one of distorted economic power of Processors over Catch Vessels that continues to lead to drastically reduced dock prices, followed by false wholesale pricing among related corporate affiliates. In other words, an anticompetitive and cartelized market exists.
- Together, these two formulaic vice jaws firmly “lock in” lower fish taxes and subsequently harm our fisheries dependent coastal communities. Most fisheries find that a result of awarding catch shares, but for GOA groundfish such global, cross border profit transfers are already de facto.
- In no case, and never before the price vice squeeze is corrected, should any trawler be awarded an economic right to target species, nor the halibut and other bycatch abused species.
I also oppose the creation of Community Fishing Associations (CFAs) which are alleged to “anchor quota in our community” and said to “benefit captains and crew.”
- While opposing Catch Shares altogether, at least quota handouts to those who have been fishing is more appropriate. Our communities should be most concerned for tax intakes and the crewmembers’ spending that pumps up our local economy. I.E., restoring competition.
- Where Quota Lease Fees are charged – in this case simply to pay unnecessary CFA administrative costs – that diminishes the fish settlement and take home shares of captains and crews.
Avoid Bycatch quotas & CFAs, institute 100% Observer Coverage, & eliminate global accounting trickery.