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People, can I redirect you to this thread - http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=33420

This is something that anybody who lives in or comes to dive Florida or any of the Gulf states should read.

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Hi Walt!

 

I read the thread the first time You posted it, and looked the video as well. It's a really awful way of fishing and I have never heared of this until now.. I really do hope that people who are deciding things down there, have enough common sence to see the big picture and make the right decisions.

 

Karel

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Sadly we get a lot of fish trapping out here.

There ends up being a lot of "dead fishing", particularly around wrecks and reefs where they get stuck and abandoned but still trap. It's very sad what gets trapped.

post-5552-1259823723.jpg

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This just gets more unbelievable the day!

 

I have fire several inquiries to members of both the Ocean Conservancy and Oceana, and have been stunned by I have gotten back from these two groups.

 

In a phone call from Vicki Cornish, Ocean Conservancy’s Marine Wildlife Policy Director, the purpose of the up coming Dec. 15th, 2009, meeting at the Florida Wildlife Research Institute (which I, and several others will be attending) to vet this topic among the “Stake Holders.”

 

Come on! Vet the topic. If the Southern Offshore Fishing Association, Gulf Fishermen’s Association or the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance propose that dynamite should allowed for commercial fishing, would it need to vetted too?

 

Fish traps are without a doubt among the top three most destructive forms of commercial fishing in use, hence why it is among the most controversial form of fishing gear type ever permitted for the snapper/grouper fishery of the Southeast US.

 

I urge everyone to read Dr. Russell Nelson’s report - http://www.seawatch.org/bibliography/nelsonpaper.php and veiw the video - Explosive Decompression in Fish Traps - http://www.vimeo.com/7374205 or here

 

In every Island Nation that I have visited - Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, St. Maartin, etc., etc., that still actively uses fish traps, the presence of bottom fish larger than my hand is nearly non-existent.

 

The Island of Bermuda learned that the hard way during the 1990’s, recognizing fish trapping as an unsustainable method of harvest and banned their use years ago. Now, according to Ned Deloach, who was there recently last summer says their black grouper are showing signs of coming back.

 

The state of Florida banned fish traps in state waters in 1980, with the gear getting banned completely by the NMFS in the Gulf of Mexico in Feb. 2007.

 

Now the Southern Offshore Fishing Association, Gulf Fishermen’s Association and the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance are pushing to have them back, claiming there isn’t enough data. With others like the Ocean Conservancy, Oceana EDF trying to sugercoat the topic claiming bring them back into use is more desirable than the use of long lines as it will reduce the number of incidental by-catch of sea turtles. Also not true, these guys won’t be giving up their long line gear, and will keep dropping on the sea bottom as soon as nobody is looking.

 

Here's a parting shot from my friend Stephen Frink to show what these things catch.

post-4290-1260219012.jpg

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Walt

 

Not really any consolation, but over here in the UK we are having a battle over scallop dredging which the government seems unable to accept is an extremely damaging fishery. Here too there is a delaying response, in our case of 'more research' needed' (there are numerous scientific papers already available of course), and the media still concentrates on the 'poor' fishermen who will be put out of work if scallop dredging in banned (despite there being no evidence to support that this has ever happened where dredging has been banned - the cynical side of me thinks that they probably just apply for more grants and move on :wacko: ). Unfortunately we have also had problems with illegal scallop dredging in designated conservation areas, but this might have actually helped us as the UK is bound under EC law to protect such areas, and the EC is now looking into what has been going on and has teeth (VERY large fines might be possible in a worst case scenario). Dealing with fishery problems is a hard fight, requires individuals to put in a lot of work, and needs constant publicity as the marine environment is out of sight and quickly falls out of mind. Raising the profile here and suggesting that people write to the relevant people complaining about what is going on (give names and addresses of elected individuals as, at the end of the day, it is often individuals who are responsible for decision making) may help - I suspect that as in our case you need people living in affected areas to make a noise though - but in my experience it is all hard going. Good luck!

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Also interesting to note that in the dredging exclusion zone in Lyme Bay(UK) the scallops are well recovered and the dived for scallop industry is doing well - so much more sustainable. Though I understand that there is a background amount of illegal dredging still taking place.

 

Paul C

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Also interesting to note that in the dredging exclusion zone in Lyme Bay(UK) the scallops are well recovered and the dived for scallop industry is doing well - so much more sustainable. Though I understand that there is a background amount of illegal dredging still taking place.

 

Paul C

Apparently illegal scallop dredging is going on in Lamlash Bay in the Isle of Arran too. Frankly I'm baffled by an industry which has no interest in its own future and really don't understand why the government is so loath to intervene, Probably they're just too busy on their expense claims......

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It is simple Paul - the effects are invisible.

 

I see it when I dive - you see it when you dive but it is almost impossible to represent the total devastation in a picture. Maybe video - I don't know.

 

All I do know is that I have got back on my boat in damn near tears after seeing what a trawl can do - everything smashed - even the little green backed crabs who while they have an attitude problem never deserved that.

 

And I am about as far from being a card carrying 'greenie' as you can get - which to be honest is my only ray of hope on the issue - if I get bent out of shape over the mess then so would the average punter in the street.

 

Anyhow - apologies to Walt I have no wish to hijack his thread.

 

Paul C

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