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Still fishing for a stronger economy

November 27, 2017

Economists at NOAA report that marine fisheries produce $207+ billion worth economic activity around the United States.  That includes both direct marine fisheries spending as well as associated economic impact.

 

That $207+B number includes commercial ($144.2B) and recreational ($63.4B) sectors – the saltwater fisheries economy. This includes tangible things like ships and boats, motors, paint, nets, line, rods, reels, electronics, fuel, safety gear, clothing, and the direct spend in fees, rentals, room and board, salaries, etc., etc. – everything to do with commercial fisheries. And also all the harbor and marina fees, boatyards, boat brokers, slip fees, transportation, and the salaries and equities of the people who service the boats, sell the bait, develop the electronics, build the rods, and make and sell everything from rubber boots to stylish resort wear in the recreational sector.

 

Fish and fishing are an inextricable part of our coastal economies – as much a part of America as corn is to Iowa. Marine fisheries are the economic engine that powers hundreds of thousands of businesses, both big and (mostly) small. And all these businesses provide over 1.6 million American jobs.

Whatever type of business you run, long-term success is built on planning well, scaling your growth carefully and managing through the ebbs and flows of markets and supplies. For most businesses, predictability is the bedrock for long-term success and can be worth far more than short-term gain.

 

Seasonal and resource-dependent businesses are even more reliant on resource sustainability. Bad weather or wild swings in supply can mean the difference between a good year…or going out of business.

 

 

Let’s say you run your Grandfather's tackle shop and guide service. You're dependent on a well-managed fishery, nice weather, and fun-loving customers. You make 85% of your income in just seven months, and as long as the fish are reasonably catchable, and your customers keep returning, you'll keep on with a successful business. Your future looks pretty good after decades of stable, steadily-increasing resources and a strong economy.

 

Now let’s say some slow-talking hustler with a loose grasp of the facts shows up and proposes a get-rich-quick scheme. Let’s say he has a plan to increase your income by 40% for the next three years, guaranteed, so long as you buy his products to get into the game, and back his plan to work over the government to get you more fish. [You hear him out, but you notice his plan makes no mention of revenue in the 4th or following years…]

 

As a business owner who’s planned well and controls his own future, are you skeptical? Will you sign up to roll the dice on a life you’ve spent years building into success, knowing this guy has no plan for your future? Or will you kick this hustler out and keep working hard to make sure your business is there for the long haul?

 

Now, if you had to think about how to answer that, I’ve got a big ol’ bayside business in Biloxi that’s gonna make you an’ me rich, friend. Just sign here… 

So what’s the moral of this story?

 

Lately, there are some in the business of recreational fishing who are advocating for rolling back the protections of the MSA to allow for taking more fish, and for weakening the Federal laws that protect our resources. They’re talking about increasing access and changing the laws to get more fish for the recreational angler. Truth be told, they don’t have any new fish to sell, they’re just taking from others.

 

The US marine fisheries laws, through Magnuson Stevens, have given (most of) our gamefish and table-fare species a reprieve from the hammering those stocks took in the 1960s through the 80s. We have Striped Bass and Red Snapper because of the moratoriums set by MSA that have allowed those stocks to rebuild. Those hard limits will be eroded by new laws these stealth-PAC hustlers are working to pass.

 

They're spending millions to lobbying for their own short-term happiness at the expense of our shared economic future, and it's wrong. These are one-percenters with an axe to grind, and if you’re in the marine fisheries business and you buy what they’re selling, your neck is on the block.

 

Without strong protections, our fisheries will decline.

And our coastal communities along with them.

It’ll be a Big Boom - and then it's the end.

 

Don’t buy their hustle.

 

Call your US Senator or Congressional Representative and tell them NO on S.1520 – the so-called “Modern Fish Act”.

 

Call and ask for bi-partisan improvement to the Magnuson-Stevens Act that’s worked for 40+ years to build and restore strong fisheries.

 

Ask for common-sense funding for better & more timely science, more equitable gear-based commercial regulations, and accountable reporting by the recreational community to help manage the fisheries for us all.

 

Want more info? – read on here: 

 

http://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/361994-fishing-for-a-stronger-economy

 

 

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