Yes, I am asking for you to make a call or send an email in the interest of protecting fish habitat. These calls and emails do make a difference. I have enclosed a sample letter to send to NMFS Regional Administrator Pat Kurkul.
Her email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, if you could please take a few minutes to call David Pierce AND Paul Diodati before Monday at lunchtime. In fact, if you’re busy, call over the weekend and leave a voicemail- that will only take 3 minutes.
Phone numbers and a summary of the issue are below. Left to their own devices, DMF will push for a halfway solution that affects October only- unfortunately fish don’t use calendars. And that’s if we’re lucky- they could easily push for punting this back to NMFS for more “analysis.”
Instead, let’s tell them to do the right thing! That is, kick the herring fleet out of the closed areas until they do the science like we did!
Scroll down for the phone numbers and key points.
Action Alert: Please call the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries Today
We need to convince DMF to hold midwater trawlers to the same standard as other gears with regard to accessing groundfish closed areas
There will be a very important vote on this issue next Wednesday April 8 in Mystic, CT and DMF needs to hear your voice today
Taking Points Message:
· Midwater trawlers need to be held to the same access standards as other fishery that use the groundfish closed areas.
· The midwater trawlers gained entrance to the Groundfish Closed Areas through antiquated measures in 1998. This included only 13 tows (not specifically in the Closed Areas) examined to determine that they did not catch groundfish. (in contrast the hook fishermen had over 175 observed trips for their research project)
· The Bycatch event in October shows this is obviously flawed, the midwater trawl fleet exemption should be revoked and if they wish to gain access they should have to adhere to the same standards as the hook fishermen, scallopers, tuna fishermen and any other gear looking for access.
· DMF must advocate for rescinding midwater trawl access to closed areas and be a leader in this motion.
· Letting them stay in the areas is unfair to those of us who have to prove we can fish there cleanly before we’re allowed in for an actual fishery.
April 2nd, 2009
Pat Kurkul, Regional Administrator NMFS, Northeast Regional Office 55 Great Republic Drive Gloucester, MA 01930
RE: Midwater Trawlers in Groundfish Closed Areas
Dear Ms. Kurkul,
I am writing today to ask that you and the Council rescind access to Closed Groundfish Areas by midwater trawl vessels. Recent analysis of observer data show that the 1% threshold outlined in Framework 18 has been met and therefore these boats should not be allowed into those areas.
In order to regain access, these boats should have to do what anyone else would have to do, and apply for an EFP with 100% observer coverage. If they can show under the EFP that they deserve access, only then should they be allowed back in. This is the process that groundfishermen must follow and we believe out of fairness, so should the midwater boats.
These boats should never have been allowed into these areas in the first place and it is time for the Council to do the right thing and get them out until they can prove that they should be fishing in those areas.
Thank you for your time,
Bruce & Marilyn S