For a second year black sea bass were closed to all anglers by NOAA/SAFMC. This past season the closure was made on September 4, 2012 from Cape Hatteras Light, North Carolina, to Key West, Florida, in accordance with a bulletin of NOAA dated August 24, 2012. The stated purpose of that closure was that the ACL or Annual Catch Limit for that area had been met or exceeded. Said quota is 309,000 pounds for commercial anglers and 409,000 pounds for recreational anglers. The proported purpose is to end overfishing of that species.
NOAA has produced a document entitled, Understanding Fisheries Management, as a sixty-two page document available online at their website. Their assumed regulatory authority flows from the Magnuson-Stevens Act originally enacted in 1976 as the vehicle to stop the so-called overfishing in U. S. waters. The science of determining what species are, in fact, overfished remains controversial, to say the least. Such determinations can and do result in dire economic consequences to both commercial and recreational fishermen, unless and until we the anglers of America put a stop to the current state of the regulation of what I see as heavy handed over-regulation.
Our nation is a union of the several states with sovereignty for each individual state of that fifty separate and unique unity. That is under ever increasing attack by the very union that is supposed to protect it. For that reason, I feel compelled to pen this document.
The quota for the southeast is not apportioned among the four states that it is applied to; no, it is applied on a blanket basis to all as a one- size- fits all approach.
It is a rodeo approach for the anglers of the four states, which begins each June and runs until the ACL is reached. This is notwithstanding the obvious fact that the four states do have separate climates, populations, shorelines, economic conditions and overall fishing pressure. So, what is a reality in one state is not so in another. This leads to the conclusion that no real equity between anglers in the four states exists. For example, the level of so-called overfishing is just not the same in North Carolina as it is in Georgia. That makes an angler in Georgia a defacto second class angler as compared to the other states. What is the solution to that dilemma?
Other states, notably in the gulf, have long ago established a nine league demarcation line for their state waters, as opposed to the Atlantic states of a mere three miles. Louisiana just passed a bill to extend their water to the nine league line. So, a clear redress of that flaw in the management techniques now applied seems to be for the sovereign state of Georgia to follow suit.
Such action would allow the close-in reefs to be under the unfettered supervision of the four states if they choose this same course of action. By the way, nine leagues is approximately ten miles. This seems more in line with self determination that the current situation of federal tyranny as it has been and is developing for American anglers. It would establish at least one area of the re-assertion of states rights as well.
For that reason, I pray that the Georgia legislature will consider and adopt a bill to extend our state water in the 2013 session. Since this a very simple discussion of the merits of this situation, I will be glad to discuss and or debate those merits with any representative, bureaucrat, official, employee, scientist, politician, angler or other person at any time.
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