Sample Letter Opposing the Atlantic Tunas, Swordfish and Sharks Management Plan and the Billfish Amendment

By Alan Evelyn Conservation Chair

Several Salties have contacted me about writing letters to voice their opposition to National Marine Fisheries Service plans regarding Atlantic Tunas, Swordfish and Sharks and the Billfish Amendment (see March’s newsletter) They suggested I provide a sample letter for the Club members to use. I thought it was an excellent idea. This is the letter that I sent to Senator Schumer. Please feel free to copy it word for word, just use some of the language or ignore completely. The important thing is to write and voice your opposition.

Dear ( Your Representative)

As a member of the recreational angling community, I oppose the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposed “Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Tunas, Swordfish and Sharks (HMS FMP) and Draft Amendment I to the Atlantic Bill Fishery Management Plan (Billfish Amendment). These actions are favoring commercial fisherman over recreational anglers. The proposed changes place additional restrictions on recreational anglers while allowing commercial longliners to continue with out new conservation measures. The NMFS has stated that “bycatch of Atlantic billfish by U.S. pelagic longline fisheries … is the major source of U.S. billfish mortality currently reported to ICCAT”.

It is the pelagic longline fleet that annually discards thousands of dead swordfish, sharks, and sexually mature Atlantic bluefin tuna. We must convince Fishery Managers that if they are serious about rebuilding the highly migratory species fishery then they must get serious and restrict longlining in all US waters.

I urge you as my elected representative to contact Rolland Schmitten, Director of the National Marine Fisheries Service and let him know of our opposition to HMS FMP and the Billfish Amendment. I appreciate your efforts on this matter, and your continued support of fisheries conservation and the rights of the individual recreational angler.

Sincerely

 

NAME

ADDRESS

PHONE NUMBER

Members from New York should write to:

The Honorable Charles Schumer

United States Senate
229 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Members from New Jersey should write to:

The Honorable James Saxton
339 Cannon House Office Building
1st Street & Independence Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20515

All members should write to:

Assistant Secretary Terry Garcia
US Department of Commerce, NOAA
14th & Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20230

It is imperative that as recreational anglers, we take an active and vocal role in protecting our fisheries. PLEASE WRITE TODAY.

Other Important Conservation Matters

The National Resources Protective Association (NRPA) is fighting against the Army Corp of Engineers plan to dump a hundred and fifty million cubic yards of contaminated toxic dredge material in Raritan Bay, Lower NY Bay, Flushing Bay, and in the NY Harbor. The NRPA is looking for help to defeat proposed Army Corp’s plan. NRPA memberships are $10. For more information check out their website at www.nrpa.com or write them at PO Box050328, SINY, 10305-0328. NRPA secretary Kerry Sullivan is available at718-720-5951 or by email kerrysull@aol.com

Coastal Conservation Association Opposes Reopening of Commercial Striped Bass Fishery in the Hudson River

A recently completed study conducted by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (the “DEC”) concluded that, as a result of lowered levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (“PCBs”) being found in the flesh of Hudson River striped bass, the 23-year ban on commercial fishing for bass in the Hudson could be lifted. Coastal Conservation Association New York (“CCA NY”) opposes ending the ban, both for health reasons and because of the threat a commercial fishery would pose to both the striped bass that spawn in the river and the economically important recreational fishery that has developed in the region.

Since the late 1970s, commercial fishing for Hudson River striped bass has been prohibited due to high levels of PCBs in the fish’s flesh. In an ironic twist, PCB pollution proved to be the striped bass’s salvation, since it shielded the Hudson River stock from commercial exploitation at a time when Chesapeake-spawned fish had all but disappeared. Strict regulations, including stringent controls on commercial harvest, helped the coastal stock recover. However, CCA NY points out that a new abundance of striped bass on the coast is no justification for putting the Hudson River population at risk.

CCA NY is also concerned that a reopened commercial fishery will threaten not only the striped bass, but uniformed consumers as well. Even if the commercial striped bass fishery in the Hudson is reopened, the state will continue to issue health advisories warning women of childbearing age to eat no fish from the river, and recommending that other people not to eat more than one meal per month of fish taken from the Hudson south of Catskill, NY, and no fish taken above that point.

In addition, CCA NY has learned that the state is planning to post 3,000 signs along the river warning of the hazards of eating Hudson River fish, and will supplement the signs with a corps of “health rangers” who will rove the Hudson’s banks to reinforce the signs’ message with the verbal warnings about eating fish caught in the river. With the state so obviously demonstrating its concern for the dangers posed to consumers of Hudson River fish, it makes no sense for the DEC to contemplate opening the striped bass fishery.

A number of important tournaments, drawing hundreds of participants, have also sprung up along the banks of the Hudson.

CCA NY, in a battle spearheaded by its Hudson Valley chapter, is asking conservation-minded legislators to introduce a bill that would prohibit the sale of striped bass taken in the inland waters of New York, including the Hudson River. CCA NY asks all concerned anglers to contact their local legislators, and ask them to support that legislation when it is presented to them.

For further information, contact John McMurray at 516-422-4162, send e-mail to director@ccany.org or write to CCA NY, PO Box 1118, West Babylon, NY.11704

This is the letter that I sent to my State Senator.

The important thing is to write and voice your opposition.

Dear ( Your Representative)

As a member of the recreational angling community, I oppose ending the23-year ban on commercial fishing for bass in the Hudson River, both for health reasons and because of the threat a commercial fishery would pose to both the striped bass that spawn in the river and the economically important recreational fishery that has developed in the region.

These actions are favoring commercial fisherman over recreational anglers. I am concerned that a reopened commercial fishery will threaten not only the striped bass, but uniformed consumers as well. Even if the commercial striped bass fishery in the Hudson is reopened, the state will continue to issue health advisories warning women of childbearing age to eat no fish from the river, and recommending that other people not to eat more than one meal per month of fish taken from the Hudson south of Catskill, NY, and no fish taken above that point With the state so obviously demonstrating its concern for the dangers posed to consumers of Hudson River fish, it makes no sense for the DEC to contemplate opening the striped bass fishery.

Such an opening would also cause serious economic harm to businesses in the economically depressed Central Hudson Valley. In recent years, a substantial recreational fishery for striped bass has blossomed in the region. The fishery has attracted anglers to the area, and infused the local economy with badly needed tourist

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