Re: Groundfish Public Hearing
Some examples of statements sent in. Please get involved!
Dear Mr. Diodati,
My name is Ron Powers and along with being an avid flounder fisherman ever since I was a boy I also write for On The Water magazine. In addition to a monthly column, I have written the magazine's on-line Fishing Forecast for 11 years. The latter position necessitates that I compile reports 52 weeks of the year from an almost limitless pool of anglers, charter captains and bait shop owners and it "requires" that I spend a lot of time on the field as well (something that I need no arm-twisting to do). This allows me a unique window into the health of many GOM, Massbay, Boston Harbor species through the eyes of the recreational angler. I certainly don't do this for the money; anyone who writes knows full well the importance of keeping a firm grasp on their "day job"! But I do write for the love of our fisheries and my desire to enable others to enjoy what has been so enriching to me.
If we look at the almost across-the-board crashing of most of the Massbay fishing stocks, the winter flounder stands alone as an environmental, conservation success story. Cleaner harbors along with responsible harvesting measures have resulted in a tenuous rebound of the stock but the reality is that the good times only extend to Boston Harbor and adjacent environs. The era of a dedicated winter flounder fishery significantly outside of the harbor is gone at least for the foreseeable future. And as good as some would like to think the flounder recovery has been in the Boston area, history tells us this really isn't the case. For if the stock was truly recovered, not only would the winter flounder be flourishing elsewhere but we in the "Hub" would have a from-shore fishery and an early spring/fall fishery - both pastimes that are non-existent today!
If the ultimate national goal is to restore the winter flounder stocks throughout the northeast than we must protect the core stock here in Massachusetts! I spend a lot of time from May through early July with my friend Captain Jason Colby aboard his charter boat the Little Sister and I enjoy the interaction with the diversity of anglers that come aboard to fish for flounder. While these folks come from all walks of life the one thing they all profess, whether they hail from Cape Cod, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York or New Jersey, is how much they miss catching winter flounder in their home waters!
I ask you, how can commercial trip limits be doubled if the stock has not recovered?
There was a gentleman at the hearing by the name of Don King who represented commercial interests who commented that there were only 12 "boats" and a "few" draggers left in the business. It's obvious that this is the case because groundfish stocks have been over-fished. And while I feel for the economic bite that this small group of stake holders must be feeling, if we are talking "money", I also would like you to consider the plight of a far larger group of citizens of the Commonwealth, namely the small business owners who own bait and tackle shops, motels, run charter businesses, own gas stations etc. and all benefit from having a healthy winter flounder fishery in Massachusetts. I would also like you to consider the small boat angler/family that enjoys spending a day on the water fishing and would like to catch something! The winter flounder should be a fish for the majority and not the property of a select few who would benefit financially at he sake of the specie! I urge you to do everything in your power to stop the doubling of commercial trip limits for the winter flounder so that one day we can truly say that it has recovered!
[FONT="Verdana","sans-serif"]Dear Fisheries Representativesfficeffice" />
[FONT="Verdana","sans-serif"]I have been flounder fishing in Boston Harbor and Quincy Bay for the past 5 years with Jason Colby on the Little Sister boat. I have heard of the incredible flounder fishing of the 60s and 70s which I never got to see. Now with the effective cleaning of Boston Harbor with the spending of hundreds of millions of dollars and proper fisheries management, the flounder fishery has returned in numbers that make recreational fishing possible. This past year I was, for the first time, a MA state leader in the flounder category fishing in Boston Harbor. What a wonderful occasion allowed by the recovery of flounder in Boston![/font]
[FONT="Verdana","sans-serif"]It would be a disaster to open this fishery to an expanded commercial level. One commercial boat in a single trawl would catch what an entire fleet of recreational fishermen and fisherwoman would catch in a week or perhaps in a season. Please do not destroy this fishery which we are so lucky and blessed to have returned to us.[/font]
[FONT="Verdana","sans-serif"]FYI, I was ?interviewed? for my current job by fishing with my prospective boss. We now continue that personal relationship by fishing as often as possible in Boston Harbor with Jason Colby for winter flounder, and later, for summer flounder (fluke) in Cape Cod or Narragansett Bay. Please help those of us recreational fisherman for whom fishing is more than a pastime; it?s a social gathering which we share with others when we share our catch or the dishes that we make with the fish unique to our area. I just completed a 6 month project in the New Orleans, LA area and the first dish I made when I returned was cioppino to celebrate both my Italian heritage and the fish from the Northeast.[/font]
[FONT="Verdana","sans-serif"]I am going to urge my feller fishermen and woman who all vote to contact you. We have made some progress with a slight limitation on the menhaden fishery on the east coast, lets not destroy our local still recovering blackback fishery.[/font]
[FONT="Verdana","sans-serif"]Thank you very much.[/font]
[FONT="Verdana","sans-serif"]Quality Assurance [/font]
[FONT="Verdana","sans-serif"]Areva NP, Inc.[/font]
[FONT="Verdana","sans-serif"]Quality Management Systems[/font]
I was unable to attend the Gloucester hearing this week, but wanted to
make my opinion known with regard to the Division's contemplation of
increasing the commercial winter flounder catch limit. As you know,
this was once a very common species throughout much of the northeast;
now marginally recovering here, but still commercially extinct southward
from Buzzards Bay to New Jersey. To increase commercial limits at this
time is wholly irresponsible and jeopardizes the resource. I've
witnessed the loss of blue mussels and American eels over much of the
areas where I thought they were and would always be abundant as a kid
(60's-70's). Winter flounder should be carefully and cautiously
managed to the benefit of the public and not sacrificed for short term
commercial fisheries gains. I am not unsympathetic to the commercial
fishing interests, nor their current circumstances, but allowing further
and faster destruction of the winter flounder fishery won't help the
recreational anglers now, nor the commercial interests in the long term.
Please hold the limits on winter flounder at their current limits.
Very truly yours,
Mattapoisett, MA 02739
Subject: Winter Founder[/font]
I am a recreational angler who has fished the waters of Long Island NY for over 40 years. I was fishing the north and south shore bays of Long Island in the 70s and 80s when you could catch flounder from any dock or peer with very little effort. I have also lived thru the decline in the early 90s and thru what I call almost complete extinction in the late 90s.
The flounder fishery has come back very slightly over the past 5 years, but in order to catch them you have to be in the right spot at the right time and in many cases you have to drive to a far away bay to get to them. The past 3 seasons, I had to make a 4 hour trip to Quincy Harbor to catch them. This is not what I call a complete recovery. I wouldn?t even call this a significant recovery. The proposed increase in commercial quote for winter flounder on the basis that the stock is recovered is completely insane ! Complete recovery or even a significant recovery is defined by healthy stocks throughout the range of habitat for the species. You cannot base recovery on one specific area or state citing one example as Massachuesetts.
This proposal is absurd and if implemented, will destroy the flounder stocks before they ever got a chance to fully recover.
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am opposed to the winter flounder quota increase for commercial fishermen!
[FONT="Book Antiqua","serif"]John Reichardt[/font]
[FONT="Book Antiqua","serif"]Captain John Marine Surveyors[/font]
[FONT="Book Antiqua","serif"]46 Meredith Way[/font]
[FONT="Book Antiqua","serif"]Weymouth MA 02188[/font]
[FONT="Book Antiqua","serif"]__________________________________________________ _______________________[/font]
[FONT="Book Antiqua","serif"] [/font]
Dear Mr. Diodati
I urge you to keep the winter flounder quota as it now is, and allow the flounder population to rebuild so we again have a fall flounder fishery. I charter a boat several times each season, to partake of the fishery. I spend money in the bait shops, restaurants, gas stations, a motel, etc., etc., all to fish for winter flounder. We do this based on the expectation of catching fish, almost like we did 30-40 years ago, when Quincy billed itself "the flounder capitol of the world".
Increasing the commercial trawl quota, which is an extremely wasteful and destructive method will hurt the rebounding population, and ruin a fine recreational fishery. Not only are thousands of short fish and by catch species killed needlessly, to harvest 250 pounds of winter flounder, but the ocean bottom habitat destruction creates long term problems.
Studies have repeatedly proven that fish taken by recreational fisherman provide FAR more revenue to the state than those taken by commercial fisherman, by a factor of 10 or 20 times more.
Please do not sell the long term fishery for the short term gain of a few draggers.
Hollis, NH 03049
(OK, I admit this one is my mother...JC)
I am opposed to increasing the quota!!
Arleen in Florida
Dear Paul, Dan, Shannon and Jared:
I've been fishing Massachusetts ever since I can remember,( mid 1940's ).
I've brought dozens of children, neighbors, friends, my 4 children and now my 6 grandchildren into the world of recreation / sport fishing
Just picked up 6 fishing licenses for my offspring.
Everyone who fishes with me have respected the environment and the rules and look forward to the next time we go out fishing.
Now I see the selfish commercial fishermen trying to increase the quota for winter flounder.
In one pass with their methods kill more fish than all our sport fisherman combined, catch all week.
We still cannot fish the fall fishery.
I am opposed to this request for increasing the quota.
The flounder population has not recovered to the extent that is needed and what was predicted to be a safe level.
Wait until the entire region is fully recovered before you even entertain the thought.
You need to act responsibly and vote NO on this issue.
I will watch with interest on the outcome and your performance.
Millis MA 02054