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Thread: We Need To Act Now

  1. #1
    Underwater Journal Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns's Avatar
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    We Need To Act Now

    What’s it worth to you to see BIG FISH on the reef? While many of us will be glued to the set watching Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) meeting will gear up in St. Pete, Florida, August 6, 2007 focusing on yet another large reef predator, the goliath grouper.

    This meeting will determine the feasibility of permitting a select group of fishermen to kill 800 adult size goliath groupers in Florida waters. Some of you might say “so what?” Others (hopefully) will respond with “How can the State of Florida do that?” Goliath grouper (Epinephelus striatus) are still Federally protected - since 1990!

    Obviously they think they can do that, largely due to pressure from Florida’s fishing community. This small group, in general, consider themselves the primarily user and therefore should be granted the most rights to these waters. NOT.

    The tabled discussion will focus on a “research proposal”, backed by the Cooperative Goliath Grouper Research Program (CGGRP). This so called “research” is to be conducted with the assistance of commercial and/or recreational fishers (e.g. for the collection of specimens). Their intent is to obtain “biological samples” (otoliths, gonad tissue, etc.) collected through a “limited harvest program” – that program would be the 800 adult breeding sized fish. “The research would be used to augment information on goliath grouper age, growth, and reproduction, as well as supplement ongoing studies on feeding habits,” according to the proposal. For those fishers participating in the program, the FWC would supposedly issue 800 numbered, plastic “harvest tags.”

    Another point in the proposal not covered was how the collected goliath grouper specimens will be handled or delivered to scientists facilitating this “research” with the CGGRP. On closer examination, seeing no plan had even been worked out, one might conclude that this collection plan is nothing more than a loophole to allow commercial fishermen the rights to kill 800 ever-so-important goliaths under the guise of science.

    Everyone I have interviewed in the scientific community (most from Florida State University and NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service) connected to goliath grouper studies see this program as “nothing more than an appeasement to specific fishing groups.” And, the notion of the FWC even entertaining this “research” is a really, bad idea.

    It has taken the goliath grouper 16 years to make a positive return to Florida waters. Furthermore, concerned scientists see these fish as being anything but out of the woods. Especially when you consider that this species of grouper, under the World Conservation Union (IUCN) (http://www.iucnredlist.org/search/details.php/7857/summ) is listed as “critically endangered” throughout its range in the rest of the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean.

    At the rate these fish are being hunted in Latin America and the Caribbean waters, two to three years from now, Florida will be the only place left to find them and see them. Provided we learn the right form of protective management.

    As a member of our underwater community for years, I’ve been concerned about this fish since 1990, when they were put into protection. I’ve addressed the plight of our ocean’s great fish in Underwater Journal. Big Fish, Going, Going, Gone? (Issue 2) and Uncertain Future (Issue 3). Please join me and take action (I’m going to this meeting). Time is running out. Voice your comments to the following:

    Luiz Barbieri (email: Luiz.Barbieri@myfwc.com)
    Researcher
    Department for Marine Fisheries Research
    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
    Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
    St. Petersburg, FL

    Alex Chester (email: Alex.Chester@noaa.gov),
    Science and Research Director
    Southeast Fisheries Science Center
    75 Virginia Beach Drive
    Miami, Florida 33149

  2. #2
    Shearwater Copis Diver Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy's Avatar
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    Re: We Need To Act Now

    thanks for sticking your neck out and sharing your opinion. Eating such fish is the equivalent of hunting lions and tigers for their meat... there is no way that the seas can sustain the harvest of such apex preditors. ...you can shoot a fish an infinite number of times with a camera but only once can it be taken for food.

    We are swearing off eating almost all ocean fish at this point...I see no convincing evidence that the fisheries are sustainable. The entire ocean ecosystem is in decline and no comprehensive system in place to assure it's balance. Unfortunately there are only a small handfull of farmed fish that are a sustainable option: farmed shelfish (muscles, clams, oisters) and farmed Talapia.
    Last edited by Gill Envy; 31st July 2007 at 00:00.

  3. #3
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    Re: We Need To Act Now

    I just sent the following email. Feel free to copy and personalize. This means it will take less than a minute to get the message to where it counts.

    "The Goliath Groups has been under Federal protection since 1990, and is currently listed as a critically endangered species. To allow up to 800 to be harvested by fishermen in the name of science is a sham cover for the desires of commercial fishermen to have fun at the expense of our State's wild life.

    Please do something to prevent this so-called 'harvest.' Thanks for your consideration."

    Have some green for brining this to our attendtion. Also, Gill, have some green for taking a step in the right direction. (I am vegetarian for many of the reasons you mention.)

  4. #4
    Reads fine print (mostly) Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather has a brilliant future Skipbreather's Avatar
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    Re: We Need To Act Now

    This program puts me in mind of the Japanese “research” whaling ships….

    That just happen to sell their catch commercially.

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    Re: We Need To Act Now

    Or the latest Galapagos ruling that allows fishermen to sell shark products that have been accidentally caught!!!!
    Last edited by steveharriss; 30th July 2007 at 21:43. Reason: spelling

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    Re: We Need To Act Now

    Quote Originally Posted by Skipbreather  View Original Post
    This program puts me in mind of the Japanese “research” whaling ships….

    That just happen to sell their catch commercially.
    The japanese get away with it for many years now , hope the conservationists in the us can stop a second japanese style research community to be created

  7. #7
    Underwater Journal Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns is a name known to all Walt Stearns's Avatar
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    Re: We Need To Act Now

    It’s good to see here in the rebreather community have concerns about how we manage are fisheries here in the US and abroad. I applaud you.

    In addition to Rebreather World, I also posted this message on a few of other sites, one of which was Scubaboard, which has also triggered quit a bit of response from both sides of the fence.

    I am a bit disappointed by the response, or lack of, from the underwater photography community (so many of which preach they are environmentalist) on another (that must not be named) forum.

  8. #8
    New Member Kit is an unknown quantity at this point Kit's Avatar
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    Re: We Need To Act Now

    I am with you on this one. Emails have been sent to the named individuals.

    I look forward to the day when I can see one of these great beasts in the wild!

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