PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

By Frank Richetti

(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association March 1998 Newsletter)

Our next meeting will be Tuesday, February 24, 1998 at 7:30 p.m. in the Brick Township Municipal building on Chambersbridge Rd in Brick NJ. As usual we will be discussing a variety of fisheries issues ranging from Bunker to Bluefin. Be sure to have your club delegate attend, we need everyone’s input on the numerous issues.

An important issue is the pending Elver bills that are in both houses of the State Government, A675 in the Assembly and S457 in the State Senate. These bills seek to reopen the fishery on glass eels. We have testified and written against opening this fishery. We will be asking each club and every individual to contact their State representatives. The most important action anyone can take is to contact your government officials and let them know how you feel. It only takes a minute to make a phone call, you don’t have to be well versed in the issue or well spoken, all you need to do is say that you are against the opening of the elver fishery and against the passing of either of these bills.

It is that simple, and believe me numbers count.

Jersey Coast Anglers Association is not just a few guys making a lot of noise, or an organization that simply publishes a monthly newspaper. What we are, is a network of concerned anglers working together to protect the health of the marine environment and protect the rights of citizens to enjoy the marine resource. What we are, is your voice and we need your voice to join the chorus.

We have been contacted by the Confederation of the Association of Atlantic Charter Boats & Captains to sign on to a petition addressed to the Secretary of Commerce, William Daley and the Director of National Marine Fisheries Service, Rolland Schmitten as well as other high ranking officials involved in Highly Migratory Species. Their petition is a response to the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s lawsuit against NMFS to end the landing of school Bluefin tuna by anglers.

This petition addresses an apparent conflict of interest of at least one board member of the Mass. Audubon organization and asks for a public forum to resolve the issue. It also sets a frame work for greater recreational input to the monitoring process.

The petition appears follows. Please review it and be prepared for discussion at the upcoming meeting.

THE CONFEDERATION OF THE ASSOCIATIONS OF ATLANTIC  CHARTER BOATS & CAPTAINS

Dated: November 3,1997

TO WILLIAM DALEY,In his capacity as Secretary of Commerce for the United States, ROLLAND SCHMITTEN, In his capacity as Assistant Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Director of the National Marine Fisheries Service(MNFS) a Sub-Agency of the Department of Commerce, GARY A. MATLOCK, In his capacity of Director of the Office of Sustainable Fisheries of NMFS, REBECCA LENT,In her capacity as Chief of the Highly Migratory Species Management Division of NMFS, WILL MARTIN,In his Capacity as United States Commissioner of the ICCAT Delegation of The United States Department of Commerce, and John Graves,In his capacity as Chairman of the United States Advisory Committee to the United States Section to the ICCAT commission.

Under the first Amendment of the Constitution of the United States the right to petition is guaranteed. Under section 432, the right to petition is not merely to guarantee opportunity for seeking redress but is also to provide some assurance that public decision makers will be sufficiently informed to carry out their function,and thus the right to petition shares with other rights under this amendment a focus on importance of maintaining free flow of ideas. { Osborn v. Pennsylvania Service Station Dealers Assoc. D.C. Del. 1980,499 F. Supp. 553} Further, Rights to free speech and to petition for redress of grievances are " fundamental" under the First Amendment. {Const. Art. 1 &&2,3. Smith v Silvey, Cal.App. 2 Dist.1983, 197 Cal. Rptr. 15, 149 Cal. App. 3d 400.}

THEREFORE: It has come to our attention that a law suit has been commenced by the MASSACHUSETTS AUDUBON SOCIETY against Daley,Schmitten,Matlock and Lent in their various capacities of the Department of Commerce,NOAA and NMFS and has been filed in Federal Court Civil in Massachusetts, Action Number 97 CV 12297 WGY. The moving papers were signed by William C. Henchy Esq. of 165 Cranberry Highway Orleans, Mass., 02653,telephone number 508-255-1636. Mr. William C. Henchy is a technical advisor to the United States Advisory Committee of ICCAT.

We therefore petition for the following:

1. That William C. Henchy be restricted to the public hearing of ICCAT only. It is a conflict of interest to allow Mr. Henchy to the closed sessions. In effect he will be using his appointment as a technical advisor to gather evidence with out proper discovery proceedings as provided under law.

2. That Mr. Henchy reveal,under oath,other members or associations or companies that either hold a tuna permit,are members of the ICCAT committee or are lobbyists for commercial fishing interests and; A: are members of Mass. Audubon Society and B: have contributed moneys to his organization in 1997; and that have a seat on the ICCAT Advisory Committee or are Technical Advisors such as himself. We ask that these persons so identified recuse themselves from the closed sessions of ICCAT and or the sessions in Madrid and that their attendance be restricted to the public sessions only

3. That a BFT recreational committee be appointed within 15 days. The membership shall be 2 members following States :North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. This committee’s sole purpose will be to monitor the progress of the legal case 97-12297-WGY.

4. That the committee shall be appraised of all negotiations with Mass. Audubon, and that any decision by NMFS regarding the settlement and or opposition will be discussed and ratified by the committee. The membership of said committee shall consist of fishermen from the charter-boat and recreational fishing community only.

5. That a statement be made by the ICCAT Committee that the 8% rule for small BFTis an official United States policy and will be defended in the full session in Madrid. That recognition be given by NMFS that recreational fishermen comprise an industry of great economic value to the United States.

6 That no recipient of any federal grant gave money to the Massachusetts Audubon Society for the years of 1996 and 1997 or pledged in 1998.

7 That a statement be made that no grants were given by the United States Government to the Massachusetts Audubon Society for the years of 1996-1997 or for FY 1998.

8 That the 186 medium size BFT charged to the angling category in August of 1995 which were reported from the State of Massachusetts during two hurricane storms be expunged from the record, or at the very least not be charged to the angling category.

9 That the term " no economic gain" be clarified to its intent: no sale, not to the much broader intent of the Mass. Audubon case which imports a meaning as "an industry gain."

10 That we would suggest that the entire BFT fishery be placed on a tag and release basis for the next three years. Should stock assessment show no recovery after that date we would petition for a no sale provision for the entire BFT fishery of all permit holders.

We respectfully request that you act immediately on this Petition:

Yours Truly,

Submitted this 3rd Day of November 1997

The Confederation of the Associations of Atlantic Charter Boats and Captains:
Montauk Boatman and Captains Associations

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