Equal Rights Fishing Alliance (ERFA)
** Pushing for Equal Access to Public Resources **
ERFA Group Page ERFA Community Page ** Fisheries Management is Broken! **
#ERFA       #FishingLivesMatter

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and a Facebook Closed Group Page where you can vent and make your own posts more easily (Please Join!)



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Section A:
The Problem is that a Public Resource should be shared evenly with all of the Public.

You can't make different rules for different groups of people. It's not fair and it only pits them against each other.
The Planet's Oceans are a Public Resource so why do certain people deserve more access to it than another? They Don't!
The current management methods are corrupted by money and greed.

Global Closures of any Species of Fish is Wrong!
We don't tell Ocean Life that they can't catch fish and eat them, so why do we tell humans this?
Humans are a part of the natural equation and are meant to take fish from the Sea.
It is Inherently Wrong to deny access to this Public and Natural Resource.
Any person should be allowed to go catch a fish and bring it home to eat and/or be allowed to sell their catch if desired.

What is the Solution?
1. Make the Same Rules for Everyone.
Combine "User Groups" (Recreational, Commercial, and For Hire).
Commercial and Charter Fishermen will just do more of it following the same rules.
2. Manage the Fishery through Bag Limits (BL), Gear Restrictions (GR), and Safe Zones (SZs).
There is no need for global closures. Establish SZs or Small Area Sancturaries (SAS) to give areas that are easily avoided and provide True Conservation Habitat Areas that are completely off limits to any taking of marine life. This gives an area where Photographers, Divers, and Fishermen can enjoy the environment in ways not found in the Take Zones (TZs). It also yields a True Conservation Area that allows fish populations to flourish and rebound.


Section B:
The Red Snapper

The Best Example of this Broken Fishery is most evident with Red Snapper and the absurd 2017 three day Recreational User Group Season (2 fish, 16" Size Limit, June 1-4). The "For Hire" User Group enjoys a 49 day season (2 fish, 16" Size Limit, June 1 - July 20) but are not allowed to fish State Waters if the Federal Season is closed. Meanwhile the Commercial User Group fishes for them year round (IFQ, 13", always open) and is getting rich off a Public Resource that has been turned into a commodity. All Gulf States have gone "Rogue" creating longer State Water Seasons and the 3 northern Gulf States have extended their waters from 3 miles to 9 miles. Make no mistake, this fishery is governed by greed and not conservation of the resource.

Fish Counts are the described mechanism that we are told are used to determine how healthy the red snapper populations are. This is a very difficult thing to do. As an example, the federal red snapper landings for recreational fishing off Mississippi during 2016 were said to be zero. However, Mississippi developed online applications to count their recreational take and it showed 40,000 pounds were landed. Meanwhile in Alabama, they used similar methods and counted 600,000 pounds while the federal count was over 1 million pounds. The only thing that makes sense here is that federal methods reportedly do not include artifical reefs or oil rigs, only natural bottom (how absurd). If the rules are changed as described by the ERFA, there is no need for the difficult job of counting the populations, they will take care of themselves naturally. No global closures, reduce the BL (Bag Limit) to a single fish per person if needed and establish more SZs (Safe Zones).

Here is a comparison of two user group fishing methods, Recreational versus Commercial.
Both show the apparent abundance of these fish.

 

Please understand that other fisheries like Amberjack, Grouper, Trigger Fish, and many others are now being addressed similarly and this has got to stop. As of this writing, Recreational Fishermen are not allowed any Red Snapper, Amberjack, Trigger, or Grouper. THIS IS WRONG!


Section C:
We have both a Facebook Community Page for Events and publishing important information,

and a Facebook Closed Group Page where you can vent and make your own posts more easily (Please Join!)

Follow us on Twitter (@ERFA_US), and encourage everyone you know to do the same

The only way to effect change is thru numbers and money. The mechanism that can accomplish this is Social Media

ERFA Group Page        ERFA Community Page        ERFA on Twitter


Section D:
Useful Links: Some of the links don't work due to the website blocking my location. I will investigate a solution, but please excuse them in the meantime.

Lee Zurik

Fox 8 News Page - Hooked Up - by Lee Zurik and Tom Wright with links to most of the Fox 8 news articles on these "Sea Lords"

Fox 8 News Page - Showing who the Sea Lords are

Gulf Council Chief Roy Crabtree gives his feedback on the subject

Congressional Reformer Steve Southerland tells us about his efforts to stop the "Sea Lords" program

Here is a rant by Mark Primo Miller of Primofish.com who has fished red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico since the 1970's when there were no regulations and the average size of red snapper was around 8 inches long. He was selling over $20,000 of fish per year and forced out of the market since his Engineering income was over 50% of the total. When he called NOAA to complain about this income requirement, he was told to move into Charter Fishing Industry while they told others to form Corporations to avoid the 50% income rule. Now he is being pushed out of that market and the plan by NOAA is for all recreational fishermen to become solely "Catch & Release". He has been in all 3 User Groups and sees the federal government's flawed approach to fisheries management first hand for many years. His Rant contains a good bit of data on the history of the red snapper regulations.

Here is a FaceBook Video by Commercial Fisherman Albert Ballard that brags about their successful red snapper fishing on the Fishing Vessel "Pisces" out of Grand Isle, Louisiana. It shows that there is indeed no shortage of this species of fish despite the data presented by NOAA. A recreational or Charter boat fishing right next to him is not allowed to keep even one of these fish and also cannot transfer any of their catch to this commercial boat so it can be utilized. Instead they are expected to release the fish dead or alive. Obviously this is not fair to either user group or the even the public for that matter.

  


This website is being setup using volunteer efforts and is under construction. It is difficult to make time for it.
Some of the stuff below is informative but gets lengthy. If you have a link or information you want to share, please do so on the FaceBook Site.

Section E:
What is a "User Group"?
It's a classification of a group of people so different rules can be applied to them.
In the Red Snapper fishery, there are currently 3 user groups: Commercial, Recreational, and For Hire (Charter Boats).

This organization was started in the year 2017 to try and solicit support from the public to get equal and fair rights to our public resources. The government continues to infringe on our rights to natural and public resources and it needs to stop. Don't get us wrong, We are completely for our environment and sustaining our natural resources but what is wrong is giving more of these rights to one group than another. These are public resources and no person or group of persons deserve more of a right to it than another. While this group was sparked by anger over the red snapper fisheries management practices, it really applies to any public resource.

Why do we have "User Groups"? Proponents suggest that their style of fishing and their efforts to make a living at it afford them the right to more of the resource. But why is that? The same rules should apply to each person equally and if you want to do it more, then do it more. That is what establishes you as a commercial user, but it doesn't mean you should have more rights to the resource, play by different rules, and be the only person allowed to sell your catch. Recently, the fisheries managment people have created a third user group, the "For Hire" sector. This group is being drawn out of the "Recreational" sector where they have happily accepted their place for years. Now there are different rules being applied to them and they happily accept this new role since they get a bigger share of the resource from the government. And why is this share taken from the recreational sector and not also from the commercial sector? Establishing User Groups only serves to pit people against each other.

There should be only one User Group, the "Public" User Group for any "Public" Resource. Each person is afforded the same rights equally. Management of the resource should be conducted thru catch limits, gear restrictions, and small area sacntuaries. We say "small area" sancturaries because no public resource should close globally. There should always be a place where an angler can go to target any species. It is descriminatory to Gulf Wide tell a person in Mississippi that he can't catch red snapper where they flourish, just as it is to tell a Florida person that he can't catch grouper where they flourish. Sancturaries also provide habitat where marine animals can seek protection and affords the non-consuming public, like photographers or sight-seerers, a place to enjoy marine life in an environment where they are protected.

The government's approach to fisheries management is obviously dictated by flawed data and influenced by commercial money. Their data does not agree with the Gulf State's data and they have made a commodity of red snapper giving rights to sell the fish to only a few individuals, most who don't even fish but sell their rights to fish to others and take their cut of the money. They are called "The Sea Lords". It is making only a few Government selected individuals rich off the commodity they created unjustly and many of them do not even fish. Why are only these select individuals allowed to fish? Why are new fishermen denied the right to work and genereate jobs with this public resource? If User Groups were combined, all these problems would go away. It's a public resource and no one man deserves more of a right to it than another. The animals themselves have complete rights to it while the public is denied. Recreational fishermen often release their red snapper only to be eaten by a waiting dolphin.


We have both a Facebook Community Page for Events and publishing important information,
and a Facebook Closed Group Page where you can vent and make your own posts more easily (Please Join!)


ERFA Group Page        ERFA Twitter Page