NMFS meeting April 1st.

It was tough to sit there and listen to the Gov’t solution to a huge problem that they have known about for years. They need to hold the PLL [ pelagic long liners ] to a tougher standard just like they hold the other categories to. My business has been impacted big time by the potential ESA, Rec. Limits, and all the other economic reasons. I spoke very clearly to this yesterday at the meeting. They { NMFS } propose to take 160mts off the top of the total US Quota for dead wasted fish caugt by PLL. This is such a bunch of crap!!! I am 100% for keeping American Comm. boats fishing but this kind of waste is just not going to fly. Trust me if it was 160MTs of turtles, or seabirds, or dolphin they would be SHUT DOWN! The dollar value, just in the rec. category of those 160mt’s of fish would be worth in the millions to the economy of this country. And we would not have the slot regs in place right now if we had the quota. I am not anti- longliners but if they can’t clean up there act then the gov’t needs to use rolling area closures, real-time monitoring, and just plan common sense to limit the interaction of the PLL with bluefin. As the bluefin stocks have re-built the PLL have been catching more. We all have been taking it on the chin and all the user groups ie, Rec. General. Harpoon have been watching the quota get smaller every year. Our own gov’t GAVE AWAY 50mt’s to Mexico and instead of fighting for more quota for us they sold us out!! All of the other groups are a directed fishery for bluefin and the PLL are trying to catch swords and yellowfin. We can not sit by and watch this continue. The Canadians have solved this problem so we know it can be done!!!!! If this is allowed to continue and the PLL have a big year they could be looking at a huge discard number next year and then where will we all be?!?!?!? NMFS left an easy 125 mt’s on the table last year of our quota and they could have used it to help ease this situation with an in season transfer. But they didn’t do it. This is a big mess and it needs to be handled in another way. Remember last year the REC’s went over the quota in 2009 and we had a very limited year last year. We went over so we had to pay. Not the Harpoon guys, not the Gen. guys, we the Rec. guys had to pay with a loss in our quota. Right? So now the PLL go waaay over thier quota by more than triple and we ALL have to take it on the chin for them!?!?!? Not right, not how it’s played, and not legal in my view and the view of many other people smarter then me! I left that meeting with a head ache and my blood pressure was sky high. We all really need to watch this because this is one of the most significant decisions that will affect all user groups, not just this year, but in years to come. It’s an outrage. On a good note, I pointed out yeaterday that with the gov’ts position on all the Bluefin that is out there and the increase in the PLL interaction that obviously they could not possibly support an ESA listing. I have been fishing for bluefin since 1998 and I have watched things go up and down. Now we start to see the fish come back and the stock assement goes up, and we got the Med. to cut down on their fishing, and things start to look real good and then our own Gov’t can’t get it right. The American fisherman has always played by the rules, we have been held to the highest of standards. Now, all we want is to be treated fairly. All we want is to be able to go fishing!!!! Capt. Eric

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