Fisheries Management & Legislative Report
by Tom Fote
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association July 2006 Newsletter)
Fees for Registration Still in Question
During our week’s visit in Washington, DC, Tom Siciliano and I spent a lot of time discussing the reauthorization of the Magnuson/Stevens Act with the New Jersey congressional delegation. We talked about the Federal Registration and our opposition to the proposed fee. We met with Senator Robert Menendez and Senator Frank Lautenberg discussing these issues and habitat issues. I spent a lot of time with their staffs working on these issues while in DC and on the phone before I went to DC and since I have been home. Our two senators are trying hard to address these issues concerning recreational anglers in New Jersey and are trying to stop the fee on federal registration. It is a shame that the senators in our neighboring states are not doing the same thing. I would like to thank Daniel Rosenberg, staffer for Senator Frank Lautenberg, and Steve Feldgus, staffer for Senator Robert Menendez, for all their hard work on these issues.
We also met with Congressman Jim Saxton and Frank Pallone who are leading the fight to address the concerns of New Jersey anglers on the house side. We also had a lot of follow-ups with their staffs on these issues. Tom Siciliano and I also met with Congressman Frank Lobiondo and staffer Dana Richter, to discuss the fee and talk about recreational fishing access around wind turbines in the ocean. Eric Gordon, staffer for Congressman Frank Pallone, and Andy Oliver, staffer for Congressman Jim Saxton, were extremely helpful as usual dealing with these issues.
The Magnuson/Stevens Act will be moving though the senate and the house at anytime. The Magnuson/Stevens Act will then have to go to conference committee and hopefully NJ bipartisan effort will prevail and address New Jersey recreational concerns.
Be assured that Tom Siciliano and I will continue to work with the New Jersey congressional delegations in the House and Senate on behalf of our member clubs and all New Jersey recreational anglers on these issues and many other issues as they arise in the future.
Senate Dems Trip Up Quick Passage Of Fishing Measure
Congressdaily by Darren Goode
Senate Commerce Chairman Stevens, who is trying to free a bill updating federal oversight of fisheries, is being stymied by three Democrats with parochial concerns. Stevens is seeking to pass the reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act by unanimous consent. The bill has been cleared by the Republican Conference. But Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Robert Menendez of New Jersey first want to resolve their concerns, lawmakers and lobbyists say. None of the concerns are expected to stall the bill for long, however. "Most of the issues are done, and we're ready to pass this bill," a Senate GOP aide said. House Resources Chairman Pombo expects the House to take up the Magnuson-Stevens legislation before the August recess.
Wyden is the only one of the three Democrats who has publicly said he has a hold on the bill. He wants the legislation to include a disaster declaration for Klamath River salmon fishermen after the Commerce Department reduced the number of fish that could be caught and the number of days and areas that could be fished. The disaster designation would pave the way for fishermen to receive disaster relief. "That's what we're working on," Wyden said last week, "because that speeds it up by giving you a leg up in the appropriations process." Reed wants Rhode Island to have representation on the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council in addition to the New England council, because some species in the state are caught in both regions. "There are species obviously that move back and forth," Reed said. "Both councils have an ability to coordinate, to discuss at least the common issue of species." Asked if he has a hold on the bill, Reed smiled and said, "No, never. We're working with the sponsors on doing something helpful."
Menendez is concerned that the bill is silent on whether the Commerce Department can charge recreational saltwater fishermen if they are included in a new federal registry, according to lobbyists following the debate. The bill would allow states that already issue saltwater recreational licenses to opt out of being included in this registry but requires all other states to be included. New Jersey does not issue recreational saltwater fishing licenses. Menendez wants the bill to prohibit these fishermen from being charged a fee, lobbyists say. Calls to Menendez's office were not returned. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., added this prohibition language to the pending Pombo bill.
The bill was expected to pass after Stevens reached agreement with New England senators on modifying language that for the first time requires regional fishery councils to reduce their annual catch limit by the same amount that they exceeded it the previous year. The effective date of this new requirement would be pushed back from two years after the bill's enactment to 2010 for regions guilty of "overfishing" and 2011 for those that are not. There are also exemptions for species, such as shrimp, that have one-year life spans, and regional councils are allowed up to three years to account for an exceeded annual catch limit if there is insufficient information regarding a fishing quota.
Habitat: The Forgotten Issue
I received a notice from ASMFC that we have a new staff person in charge of the Habitat Committee. I sent the message included below to Jessie Thomas. It made me think of the week I just spent in Washington, DC. I was there for a general meeting of the American Sportfishing Association and the Marine Fish Conservation Network. These two groups spent considerable time lobbying on the Hill for the reauthorization of the Magnusson Stevens Act. Both organizations had a list of priorities for the legislation. But nowhere did I see a discussion of habitat issues and the destruction occurring in the bays, estuaries and the ocean. The focus was on over fishing, IFQ, council makeup, and many thoughts about tweaking the management system. But we did not spend time on the underlying cause. I don’t think we can rebuild the stocks to the level the NMFS and some other groups set as a goal without dealing with the loss of habitat and the contamination of the ecosystem. Most of the species we fish on the east coast are estuarine dependent. Much of their life cycle is spent in the estuaries or they depend on the food that is created there. None of those issues will be resolved with the reauthorization of the Magnusson Act or with arguments about quotas or representation on councils. ASMFC has the same problem. For the most part NMFS and ASMFC have the authority to manage the existing stocks and the people who harvest those stocks. They have no control over the major habitat issues confronting all of us. At the Federal level habitat issues are scattered about different agencies (EPA, Interior, Commerce, and more). While the water looks cleaner, and depending on the things we measure, may actually be cleaner, there are new problems we are just beginning to recognize. The effects of the drugs that are recycled into the ecosystem could be devastating. The other major problem is the ever-expanding use of fresh water that previously cycled through the rivers, lakes and estuaries. These problems may be much worse that the age-old fecal coliform number.
In the late 80’s, Al Goetz started pushing for use to develop more interagency cooperation at the Mid-Atlantic Council. When we managed to establish the ASMFC Habitat Committee, Al and I had as a goal bringing together all the appropriate agencies (EPA, Army Corp of Engineers, Interior and more). Our question was, “How do we stop the continued devastation of wetlands?” That is where this legislation should focus. We’re focused on the symptoms and not on the disease.
The Federal Minerals Management Service held a public hearing in Trenton to get comments on the offshore use of renewable energy projects and the alternate use of facilities in Federal waters.
The comments will be used to help prepare a “Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement” for the nations Outer Continental Shelf Renewable Energy and Alternate Use Program.
The MMS is also accepting written comments electronically using the on-line comment form at this Web site- http://ocsenergy.anl.gov - or by mail. Write to:MMS Renewable Energy and Alternate use Program EIS, Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 S Cass Ave, Argonne IL 60439.
Comments must be received by July 5 and should address the scope of the draft EIS, particularly the significant issues, alternative and mitigation measures that should be considered. Bruce Freeman, JCAA’s new chairman for the Research and Science Committee, will be preparing JCAA’s comments. These comments will be discussed at our June 27th meeting. Included will be a discussion about fishing access around the wind turbines. Below is an article that appeared in the Asbury Park Press about this issue.
Delay hasn't halted plans for turbines
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 05/21/06
A New York company is still interested in putting wind turbines off the New Jersey coast, but a de facto moratorium on turbines in federal waters is in place while federal rules are developed.
Winergy Power LLC of Hauppauge, N.Y., remains interested in four sites the company has identified off New Jersey, including one in federal waters 3.5 miles off southern Monmouth County, according to Dennis Quaranta, president. "Farther offshore, we'd be probably looking at another four sites, but they're much farther offshore — I'd say about 15 miles out," Quaranta said. "There's over 20 wind farms that are offshore operating off Europe, and it's about time that we should catch up with the rest of the world," he said.
Vivian Carr, a retired Long Branch resident, said she has "more questions than answers right now" about an offshore wind turbine test project recommended by a state panel this month. "I still think it would be important to find out what's down there . . . what would (we) be disturbing on the ocean floor," Carr said.
On May 2, the state Blue Ribbon Panel on Development of Wind Turbine Facilities in Coastal Waters recommended pursuing a test project with up to 80 emission-free turbines off the New Jersey coast. The panel recommended studies before, during and after construction of a test project. Such studies would cost millions of dollars, according to observers. Funding sources have yet to be identified.
Meanwhile, the federal Minerals Management Service, or MMS, is developing rules and an environmental impact statement on offshore wind and other sources of renewable energy, as well as alternate uses of offshore platforms, said Gary Strasburg, a spokesman.
The MMS has scheduled a public meeting in Trenton on Tuesday to get comments for the environmental statement. Renewable energy includes wind, wave, solar and underwater current energy, as well as generation of hydrogen. The MMS will come out with a "record of decision" on the environmental impact statement, including the final rules, by September 2007, Strasburg said.
Aside from applications for wind farms off Massachusetts and Long Island, it's his understanding that a de facto moratorium on other applications in federal waters is in effect until after the rules are completed, he said. Federal waters are beyond 3 nautical miles from the coast.
Former Gov. Richard J. Codey imposed a 15-month moratorium on state funding and approval of wind turbine facilities in coastal waters during the offshore wind panel's deliberations, according to an executive order he signed in December 2004.
While Corzine's office considers the panel's recommendations, "the state still has time to deliberate on the moratorium issue" because no applications are "pending or expected in the very short term," Elaine Makatura, a state Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman, said in an e-mail Thursday.
Quaranta, of Winergy Power, said "we really can't do anything" in federal waters until the MMS is ready to accept applications. The company is pursuing an approximately $30 million, three-turbine project in state waters off Plum Island, N.Y., he said. Plum Island is off northeastern Long Island. "We're hoping that's going to be the first permitted offshore wind project in the nation," Quaranta said. "I would hope by fall of 2007 or winter 2008 actually (to) be up and running," he said.
Winergy Power is interested in a New Jersey test project, he said. "If we could put 80 (turbines) up, we would start with 50 and then put up another 30 after that," Quaranta said. "People have realized that it's time that we have to look for alternative sources of fuel," he said.
For New Jersey to protect its living resources, commercial fishing and the tourism industry, the state must adopt "enforceable policies" on the impacts of offshore wind, said Tim Dillingham, executive director of the American Littoral Society, a Sandy Hook-based coastal conservation group. "Those policies, once they're adopted at the state level, also have to be approved" by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said Dillingham, a wind panel member who filed a minority report. That would allow the state to review and possibly veto an offshore project, he said.
New Jersey's first priority should be energy conservation and efficiency before pursuing the production of power, Dillingham said. As it stands now, however, states would not be able to veto renewable energy projects in federal waters, according to Strasburg.
At a news conference last week on the possibility of drilling for natural gas off the coast, DEP Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson shed some light on Corzine's position on offshore wind turbines. His position is that "they are a clean source of energy, but we also believe that we don't have enough information to know where to put them," Jackson said. It would be great if "resources spent looking for tiny pockets of oil were instead spent studying the ecological resources of the ocean so that we would have a better idea of where we could maximize . . . the wind energy (resources) in the ocean," she said. Studies would cost millions of dollars, and "it would be nice if the (U.S.) Department of Interior actually gives us the money," she said.
The Interior Department does not have any funding to provide, but companies interested in alternative energy would conduct any studies that would be needed, Strasburg said. One of the offshore wind panel's recommendations is for the state Commerce, Economic Growth & Tourism Commission to survey consumers this summer.
The survey would look at visitors' primary reasons for travel to New Jersey and . . . the attitudes of these visitors to the sight of offshore wind turbines at various distances offshore," the panel's report says. Rep. Frank J. Pallone Jr., D-N.J., said, "I personally am opposed to . . . windmills offshore." But Toni E. Johnson, a 64-year-old retiree who lives in Manchester, said she's "very much in favor" of a test project.
"We have to do something to stop depending so much on foreign oil," Johnson said. "We have to come up with our own solutions," including trying to figure out how to use coal and ethanol.
Todd B. Bates: (732) 643-4237
Reserves: Closing more areas to Recreational Fishing
On June 15th President Bush spoke at the White House during the Establishment of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Monument the President said, “The national monument we're establishing today covers nearly 140,000 square miles. To put this area in context, this national monument is more than 100 times larger than Yosemite National Park, larger than 46 of our 50 states, and more than seven times larger than all our national marine sanctuaries combined.” The President continued, “Within the boundaries of the monument, we will prohibit unauthorized passage of ships; we will prohibit unauthorized recreational or commercial activity; we will prohibit any resource extraction or dumping of waste, and over a five-year period, we will phase out commercial fishing, as well. For seabirds and sea life, this unique region will be a sanctuary for them to grow and to thrive. And for the American people, it will be a place that honors our responsibility to protect our natural resources.” Included in his remarks were these comments about recreational fishing, “I like to fish, and I expect this government of ours to protect the fisheries so sports people can fish and get a good catch. That's why I'm glad the sportsmen are here -- Sportfishing people are here. You know, you just got to understand, we're going to listen to you. It's in the nation's interest that we have a robust recreational fishing industry.”
There were many dignitaries in attendance, many Senators and the Governor of Hawaii. There were many environmental groups represented and even some recreational groups were invited. JCAA was not invited. And if we had been invited, I would not have attended. While I understand that many of the recreational anglers and citizens in Hawaii support that action, I have serious concerns about the precedent it sets. We made the same comments when former President Clinton took the same type of action. It is not because we are opposed to protecting areas on the ocean. It is because the process is not and was not based on any scientific evidence that recreational fishing needed to be eliminated. The recreational anglers don’t generally fish in this area so they didn’t really care about the closure. These areas are a 2-day trip from the Hawaiian islands. But on the east coast, we travel 2 days to fish all the time. On the west coast, boats from San Diego take a 2-day trip to Mexico regularly. Mexico and Costa Rica have closed areas to recreational fishing without any scientific evidence that recreational fishing is part of the problem. Again, our problem is not with protecting the ocean and the fish that live there. Our problem is with arbitrary feel-good actions that ban recreational fishing to no benefit. The only consequences will be a negative impact on the economy of recreational fishing.
It is a shame when someone dies so young
It is a shame when someone dies so young. Nelson Beideman passed away on Thursday, May 25th. If you attended a Highly Migratory Species meeting in the last twenty years, you knew Nelson. Nelson and I met at one of those meetings in the 1980s. Nelson and I would disagree sometimes on the issue but we always did it with professionalism. I had the greatest respect for his tenacity and the dedication he showed for the people he represented. I would tease him because he would get so serious and it was hard to get him to relax.
I had not seen Nelson in awhile since I have not been attending the HMS meetings. March of 2005 while attending a NMFS meeting in DC I ran into Nelson and we relaxed and had a couple of drinks together. We talked about old times and the many meetings we attended together. We talked about how much had changed but in some ways how little had really changed and how frustrating it was in dealing with NMFS on HMS Management. He asked me why I didn't start attending the HMS meetings again since he said he enjoyed my company and that I was a voice of reason. I thanked him for the compliment but said I was leaving the HMS in his competent hands. I really appreciated what he had to say after all the years we knew each other. That was the last time we talked and I am sorry it will be the last. I will miss Nelson and so will the people he came in contact with. My prayers go out to Teri and their children.
Shore fishermen mourn advocate
Nelson R. Beideman dies at age 53
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 05/27/06 BY KIRK MOORE
From the time he was 7 years old, Nelson R. Beideman used to say, he knew he wanted to be a fisherman. Within a decade, he would be known here as one of the best, and finally emerge as a prominent national advocate for the seafood industry.
News that Beideman died suddenly at home Thursday at age 53 shocked commercial fishermen throughout the country who knew him for his dogged defense of their livelihoods over two decades.
Beideman was executive director of the Blue Water Fishermen's Association, a group of longline fishing boat captains and support businesses specializing in offshore fisheries like swordfish and tunas.
After fending off a 1989 government proposal for a near-shutdown of swordfish longlining, Beideman continued to fight for his captains' access to fish — and ultimately helped craft an agreement among domestic fishing rivals, so Americans could present a unified front in international tuna management.
"We're all in shock after losing a courageous leader of this industry — not just the longline industry, but fishermen everywhere," said Ernie Panacek, manager at the Viking Village commercial docks and a longtime friend of Beideman's. "For me to have to come back here and tell people we lost Nelson was terrible."
"Nelson was a good guy, and a great help to the fishermen in this state," said Sean McKeon, executive director of the North Carolina Fisheries Association.
The Blue Water group represents fishermen from Texas to Maine who use longline gear — named for the miles of baited hooks their boats trail through the ocean, usually at the edge of warm-water eddies off the Gulf Stream and over prominent sea floor features where big fish congregate. Since 1989 the group worked to keep those fisheries open — often against opposition from environmental and recreational fishing groups, but working with them sometimes on issues like international controls of high-seas fishing and protection for sea turtles.
To reduce accidental turtle captures, Beideman helped organize a three-year experimental effort with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to test circle-shaped hooks and other new equipment on 13 fishing boats, including some from Barnegat Light. The new gear helped stave off mandatory closures on northwest Atlantic fishing grounds, and the World Wildlife Fund promoted it as a way to help imperiled turtle populations in other seas.
Funeral arrangements were incomplete Friday pending an autopsy; Beideman collapsed while climbing a flight of stairs at his 10th Street home around 8:30 a.m., Panacek said.
Beideman is survived by his wife, Terri, and two sons. The family plans to have his body cremated, and the ashes scattered at sea off Barnegat Inlet in accordance with his wishes, Panacek said.
Beideman grew up in Collingswood and on Long Beach Island, where his father, Benjamin Beideman, kept a boat in Barnegat Light and took customers on charter fishing trips.
As a young boy, Beideman helped his father with preparing ice and bait for those expeditions, Beideman said in interviews over the years. His childhood nickname, "Hammer,' followed him into the fishing business, where friends say it was identified with Beideman's determination and tenacity.
Just after Christmas 1971, Beideman was the mate on captain Lou Puskas' boat when it returned from Hudson Canyone with 3,500 pounds of tilefish — reviving a long-lost fishery that immediately put this small port on the map for seafood fans. When Barnegat Light fishermen began using Scandanavian-designed longline technology, Beideman was among a group of progressive young captains who began ranging from Newfoundland to the Gulf of Mexico in search of swordfish.
Another captain was running Beideman's own longline boat, the Terri Lei, when it was lost at sea off North Carolina in April 1993. After that, Beideman concentrated full time on his work with the Blue Water group, working out of his home and on the road to represent fishermen at management councils.
"We were probably the two biggest public adversaries over highly migratory species (tunas and billfish) during the last 10 years," recalled James Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance and frequent critic of longline fishing. "But as two guys who made a living on the water, we shared that mutual respect for each other, and that never went away."
Despite their differences, longline and recreational fishermen agreed in recent years that certain foreign fishing practices posed the biggest threat to Atlantic fish stocks, and Beideman advocated working together at international negotiations to set catch limits.
"It's not going to be the same without him there," Donofrio said. "There are certain people who need to be at the table. When someone like Nelson is gone, you can't replace him — his knowledge, his personality."
When the movie "The Perfect Storm" debuted in July 2000, Beideman told an Asbury Park Press reporter that he hoped the film's portrayal of a longline fishing crew would teach the public about the industry he worked to maintain.
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