Saying what needs to be said about Bonnier and EDF!
DEAR MR. FANTASEA, PLAY US A TUNE - Sheriff Rides High On a Horse With No Name
I recently stumbled upon an interesting discussion thread at the Salt Water Sportsman website between the magazine’s managing editor John Brownlee, commercial fish distributor Jim Chambers (retired biologist), and a Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) Texas member named Capt. Tom Hilton.
At one point in this ongoing thread, Mr. Brownlee infers that catch shares would be fine for the charter fleet who he claims to have “never considered as purely recreational anyway. But I think it should be left up to the charter fleets in question to decide for themselves. If they want it, fine, if not, equally fine." Not entirely sure where Mr. Brownlee thinks this IFQ will come from, perhaps offered up free of charge by some charitable member of the commercial sector (certainly not splitting the ‘pro’ and ‘am’ recs in half, right?)
Later, Mr. Brownlee flip-flops and says “I do not favor catch shares for recreational fishermen, or for charter boats,” but adds it is up to “fishermen themselves should decide.” Well, the majority of recreational fishermen, which includes the party and charter boat captains, tackle shops, marinas, boat dealers and the individual anglers they serve have said NO to catch shares; perhaps if the mainstream sporting media would help put that bold, unified message forward on behalf of the entire recreational fishing community, we wouldn’t be having this convoluted debate.
As he’s apt to do in many emails and message board threads, Mr. Brownlee lectures Hilton as he would anyone else who dares question him, stammering “I've been doing this a lot longer than you,” reminding me of those times of our youth when parents said “children should be seen and not heard,” or the old “do as I say, not as I do.” Then, strangely, Mr. Brownlee launches into his blind attack on the Recreational Fishing Alliance with regard to the Magnuson Stevens Act stating “no one saw it coming, including the RFA, and we are trying to do something about it. Get off your high horse.”
Apparently, Mr. Brownlee never read Hijacking Fisheries Management in 2007 – perhaps he also missed RFA’s official presentation at the NOAA Fisheries’ Marine Recreational Fishing Summit in Alexandria, VA from April 16-17, 2010. Most assuredly Mr. Brownlee has ignored RFA’s frequent and incessant attacks on annual catch limits and accountability measures based on random angler data collection during the past 7 years.
The only “high horse” that I see is the one on which Sheriff Brownlee sits perched as judge and jury, particularly as he claims, “the problem isn't catch shares, it's the Accountability Measures put in the MSA in the 2006 reauthorization and then the strict interpretation of them by NMFS. No one saw that coming.” Certainly no one who read a Bonnier Publication since 2007 saw this coming, because Mr. Brownlee and his posse have refused to publish any of the RFA perspectives since the reauthorization of Magnuson-Stevens in 2006!
Another humorous if not distressing point of view comes with Brownlee’s red snapper predicament on which he claims “I'm well aware of what a mess that is, but we support the Fisheries Science Improvement Act which can fix many of the problems we're going through with snapper and other species.”
The rub here of course is that the Fisheries Science Improvement Act doesn’t actually impact red snapper – it only deals with fisheries which have not had a recent assessment (mahi and cobia for example). Red snapper are currently going through a major benchmark assessment with full report to be released this year; red snapper in fact are regularly assessed and would not qualify for relief under this particular legislation promoted by Mr. Brownlee and the folks at Bonnier Publications, which shows that perhaps he’s been doing this a lot longer than the rest of us, it’s not to say he’s been doing it well.
Take for example how Sheriff John Brownlee and his posse supported a Billfish Conservation Act that has been ‘billed’ as turning Pacific billfish into gamefish only species. What neither the Sheriff nor his aforementioned “we” ever explained to anyone in the mainstream media is that fact that Hawaii and the Pacific Insular Areas were still allowed to ship blue, black and striped marlin to the continental United States for sale, and that local demand in Hawaii and the Pacific Insular Areas could by law now be met by foreign caught billfish sold directly to the Hawaiian markets.
As for the term “overfishing,” another ‘opinion’ Mr. Brownlee might’ve enjoyed was this Overfishing: A Term of Art written in 2010, or even “Fatally Flawed” Science Killing America’s Number One Outdoor Pastime in 2009. Reading Mr. Brownlee’s comments here back and forth with Capt. Hilton, I’m reminded of the old adage, “if a tree falls in the woods but there’s no one there to hear it, does it really make a sound.”
In Mr. Brownlee’s personalized editorial world, if he’s never published it on the pages of a Bonnier Publication, I guess it has simply never been said.
One final observation in terms of the Bonnier point of view. Mr. Brownlee and his own conservation editor, Rip Cunningham, have been quick to label anyone who questions Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) as nothing more than a conspiracy theorist cowering from the imaginary Black Hawk helicopters above. In this particular thread, Mr. Brownlee says “No one denies that EDF and others are spending a lot of money to push catch shares,” adding later “they simply have more money than we do and are better organized.”
While he agrees that “disagreeing with their goals is a legitimate concern,” he seems quick to dismiss overall criticism of EDF’s questionable efforts to “influence public policy.”
Take for example these important facts which none of the Bonnier Publications (Salt Water Sportsman, Sport Fishing, etc.) have been willing to recognize. During the past 3 years alone, EDF and the EDF Action Fund have invested more than $750,000 in establishing their own fishing organizations, including the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders Alliance, Gulf Fishermen’s Association and South Atlantic Fishermen’s Association.
According to IRS tax records, the EDF-created Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders Alliance actually doled out $48,000 in 2011 in order to create a new organization called the Charter Fishermen’s Association; the fact that EDF would fund a fishing organization based on ownership of commercial fish shares, which in turn would create its own recreational fishing organization, has sent up red flags throughout the state of Florida with commercial fishermen, recreational anglers and legislators alike.
At election time 2012, RFA revealed that the Director of the Charter Fishermen’s Association was a failed tech stock investor Michael Miglini, who takes a $40,000 salary from the Charter Fishermen’s Association; he’s also become one of the biggest owners and resellers of red snapper stock in the Gulf of Mexico. According to one commercial fisherman, Miglini and his companies are “essentially the people with red snapper allocation. If you would like to go catch and sell red snapper from the Gulf you call them, everyone does.”
According to emails associated with a potential inspector general’s review of the Gulf fisheries issues surrounding sector separation plans and EDF’s financing of various pseudo fishing organizations, one commercial fisherman described Miglini’s business entity, Great Sage, Inc, as “a private company whose primary function is leasing red snapper to the Gulf's fishermen. I have heard they own hundreds of thousands of shares.”
Mr. Brownlee and his conservation editor dismiss the conspiracy theorists and radicals, but the IRS tax records show that guys like Mr. Miglini are actually commercial fish brokers masquerading as recreational charter boat captains through a non-profit association that was actually founded by a commercial fishing group with start-up funds from a radical environmental organization. These are the facts, despite Mr. Brownlee’s dismissiveness.
Mr. Brownlee asks “what is illegal about a group trying to influence public policy?” Back in October of 2011, Mr. Miglini gave comments before the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council in which he described his Charter Fishermen’s Association as an organization “formed by a group of captains who each wrote a check out of their own personal or charter business accounts and pooled our resources to get organized and engage more effectively in this council process.”
Considering the IRS records showing the true source of the income, one has to wonder if Mr. Miglini actually broke any federal laws in terms of full disclosure and honesty in public testimony. So yes Mr. Brownlee, the answer to your final question above, I would say its is both “illegal” and immoral to stand before a legislative or regulatory body and tell blatant lies to further a cause, especially one which places a public resource into complete control of one or more private entities.
RFA saw this train wreck coming all along Sheriff, you apparently just ignored every one of the 911 calls since riding into town on that big white horse of yours.
He's a pompous ass, acts like he's a King down here in south Florida! A complete disgrace to call himself a recreational fishermen! He's an elitist PEW Lackey. The whole Bonnier corp is a joke, sold us all down the river!
Or should I just cancel my subscriptions?
Always swimming against the tide
If you really do read SWS you should know my position on catch shares, as I've stated them many times. I am personally opposed to them but feel commercial fishermen should have the right to vote whether they want them or not. They have no business in recreational fishing.
I think EDF and PEW have vastly different goals than we do, and I oppose most of them. But I don't see them as evil, although I agree they are a threat. But as I have also said repeatedly, they have the right to lobby just like we do. It's the American way like it or not. It doesn't always go your way and when it doesn't you can't whine and cry foul, accusing everyone of being a crook. You need to work harder.
As for alleged corruption and misuse of power, I don't know if that's true or not, but I suspect it's just more name calling.
Last edited by John Brownlee; 02-25-2013 at 08:22 PM.
Corruption? Well please explain your take on the current state of affairs at NOAA? I doubt you could have missed the recent audit findings of complete disaster for lack of a better word. Jane Lubejob has testified to the fact that science and sustainability have zero impact in current policy and rule making. Then there's the audits showing that the enforcement has been both lackluster and at the same time harassing and improper. Seems to be a little bit more than name calling particularly considering her motivations have been clearly exposed to match her history with EDF.
Please note that you use the words your and you. We are talking about issues that have direct impact on all recreational fishermen call it reading too deep but I think it says something that it wasn't us, we, our....It's the American way like it or not. It doesn't always go your way and when it doesn't you can't whine and cry foul, accusing everyone of being a crook. You need to work harder.
Always swimming against the tide
You're right, I should have said WE shouldn't whine and WE should work harder, and no, it's not all right that we're behind eight ball. But we better come up with a better strategy than calling Dr. Lubchenco "Dr.Lubejob"if we expect real results. More childish name calling.
As for animosity, who is trashing who in print? The animosity lies with Mr. Hutchinson. I have never printed a single bad word about him or the organization.
As for opinion, there is no pressure fom anyone within Bonnier as to what we write. Once again, if you actually read it, I'll bet you'd agree with virtually all of it. This is manufactured controversy where none really exists.
Hey look the sheriffs in town, Whats the matter sheriff no bullets in the gun so ya throwing up a smoke screen. Instead of disputing the article and the issue of Bonnier, PEW and the EDF you blow smoke. There really is no dispute since your company has accepted PEW funds correct?
You should really be honest to the consumers and just print on your Magazine your agenda is for Catch and Release Only of all Species!
Catch and Release may well be the end game for them with those having funds able to buy all the catch shares available and control who gets what, kinda like what Hutch JR writes is already going on with Red Snapper.
People need to realize there is agenda's going on, I'll take the side that has not accepted funds from those that are trying to control and manipulate our fisheries!
I do not believe that the issues with the RFA are one-sided in the least. I know that Hutch is a very reasonable person, I find it hard to believe that the issue is solely with him and the RFA. He may be the one calling you out now, but am sure that it did not reach this point without quite a bit of conflict of opinions.
I recently subscribed to SWS for the first time in a while. I will be interested to see the coverage on the current audits and misuse of resources at NOAA. Will it be covered?
Also, what is the standpoint on the Sharksmart marina initiative? Do you support the wholesale, arbitrary elimination of people taking sharks or do you admit and support that there is room for sustainable harvest?
Always swimming against the tide
Here are a few points from recent media on how badly NOAA and Lubchenko have been railroading the American fisherman for years. Is Dr. Lubejob all that inaccurate considering...?A post-2008 election policy paper by Environmental Defense and signed off by Lubchenco — financed primarily by the Walton Family Foundation, rooted in Wal-Mart, promised that converting the wild resources to trade-able catching rights would ensure sustainability and restore profitability to the nation’s fisheries. And EDF vice president David Festa had also predicted that profits of 400 percent were to be had from timely investment in catch shares.
The rigid rebuilding language written into the Magnuson Stevens Act that has crushed the size of the total catch to be distributed to fishermen has no scientific basis, Lubchenco conceded in testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee in October 2011. But she also said she would not support changes in the law that would eliminate the language requiring 10 year rebuilding regimens for distressed stocks.
Always swimming against the tide