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Tighten your belt and in the years to come, you will reap the benefits” said fishery managers on the Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fishery Commission.

Now we know that the “benefits” are:
The Summer Flounder, is now at a stage that we will not meet the rebuilding schedule, set under the Magnuson/Steven’s Act for 2010, and the impending significant quota reductions for sea bass and porgy’s will result in further restrictive regulations. Our industries face a virtual shutdown next year. All of a sudden,the biomass, that has been “on track” for rebuilding by 2010, has now stopped growing!?

Now we learn that the “benefits” of our belt-tightening equate to a 40%reduction in the TAL for fluke, 40% for Sea Bass and 30% for porgies – the three most important species to our industry.

What truly occurred is that we have been told a lie, a “fish story,” and that fishery managers have failed miserably in protecting the public trust.

The first thing that needs to be done is resignations from the Council and Commission. How can we expect these administrators to fix the problem that they created?? Yes! they created! It’s time that these people take responsibility for their actions. Resignation is the first step!!

Too many times the councilors and commissioners leave these meetings, pat themselves on the back, then have a dinner (paid for on the public tab) and run to the bank to cash their checks. All without caring 
about the enormous negative impacts that their regulations have on our livelihoods and lives.

This pompous and uncaring attitude didn’t start here. The executive director of the ASMFC, Mr. Vincent O’Shea, had the audacity to editorialize about the “cry baby attitude of the boatmen’s and tackle trade,” because we pleaded for our businesses, only to be publicly criticized by Mr. O’Shea.

When we stated that the regs were irreparably damaging to our livelihoods, we were ridiculed in public by the very public servant who is supposed to be helping us!

Here are the results…recreational fishing businesses are now failing at a higher rate than the overall national average for small businesses. This is believed directly due to excessive governmental regulations.

However, to add insult to injury, O’Shea’s editorial was tacitly supported by the Council and Commission, indicated by the deafening sounds of their silence, apathy and inaction in the face of our continuing economic devastation.

Last time we asked for O’Shea’s resignation… now we demand it !!!

The Council has also treated us with open contempt over the past years (Mr. Cole) when compassion, compromise and understanding was needed.

Now you as managers are in a situation that either you take a hard stand and do what is TRULY in the “public good”, or resign yourselves to the fact that the only honor left is in resigning your positions.

Allow us the opportunity to replace you with people that do not fear the threat of an environmental lawsuit or cower behind reckless regulations in order to protect your cushy jobs and public image.

In the real world, if a board of directors stated that, “the company was on schedule, and would achieve its 
goals in the allocated time period” and then the following year says, “Oops, we made a mistake and bankruptcy is a real possibility.” The board would have been dismissed and an investigation would take place. Responsible people would go to jail.

As if we don’t have it bad enough in New York. With all this going on, our governors’ appointee to the ASMFC, Mid Atlantic Council rep for NY, and puppet of the NY State DEC, Pat Augustine, is lobbying for a SALTWATER license. This is just another tax that will further cripple our businesses.

We feel betrayal and loathing for the people that supported him – this entire situation is an appalling
disgrace.