Fishing Wire Ranger Boats ICAST
FRIDAY, MAY 17, 2019

BOATING
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) offers five tips for the most important things boat owners should consider before renting out their boats.
Operation Dry Water is proud to join boating safety advocates nationwide during National Safe Boating Week, May 18 - 24, to raise awareness about safe boating practices.
National Safe Boating Week is a great way to kick off what will be a fun and safe summer on the water: Here are some tips from the Maine Warden Service, Maine Marine Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guardon staying safe.

COLLEGIATE FISHING
The Association of Collegiate Anglers and its supporters go above and beyond for the competitors that will be in Florence, Alabama competing for both the crowning of the 2019 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Champions, as well as awarding the 2019 Bass Pro Shops School of the Year title.
CONSERVATION
The installation of the containment system is a major milestone in the Coast Guard’s efforts to contain the Taylor Energy MC20 oil spill that has affected the waters off the Gulf Coast for 14 years.
EVENTS
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and Community First Alliance, Inc. will host Arkansas’s largest community fishing event this Saturday at MacArthur Park in Little Rock.

FISHERIES
“The DNR’s goal this year is to collect at least 400,000 eggs to meet our target of 30,000 fall fingerlings for stocking our state’s waters,” says Ed Eisch, Fish Production Program manager.
Anglers are welcomed to comment on the changes, which originally included an error in the haddock minimum size, before May 28.
INDUSTRY
The Center for Sportfishing Policy (CSP) hosted its annual fly-in “Center Focus on Washington,” where the organization honored three influential leaders for their contributions to recreational fishing and boating and marine conservation on Wednesday, May 15.

In 2018, Swanson Russell had one of its best years financially and as a result, staff has increased to a record high of 168 full-time employees in the Lincoln, Omaha and remote offices.
INVASIVE SPECIES
As the 2019 fishing and boating season gets underway, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is continuing and expanding a multi-faceted approach to combating the spread of starry stonewort, an aquatic invasive species.
ORGANIZATIONS
Keep Florida Fishing®, an advocacy arm of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), is proud to announce their sponsorship of the fifth annual Lionfish Challenge hosted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

RADIO
This week on Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World Radio host Rob Keck is talking to an all-angler lineup featuring the 2019 GEICO Bassmaster Classic champion Ott Defoe.
RECORD FISH
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) congratulates Joshua Lee of Bernie on his record-breaking 76-pound black buffalo shot in Stoddard County.
STATES
Meetings to discuss regulation changes in response to low returns of fall Chinook continue next week.
Vermont’s “Trophy Trout” stocking program for 2019 includes eight river sections and 25 lakes and ponds receiving the two-year old trout, some over 18 inches long.
After a total of 42 years on the job serving the citizens of South Carolina in various capacities, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) Director Alvin Taylor handed over the agency reigns to SCDNR Deputy Director for Marine Resources Robert Boyles.
State fish managers are hosting a series of public meetings in May and June to discuss sturgeon fishing regulations in Washington.
Safe Boating Week is a time for all boaters to inspect their vessels to ensure that all required safety equipment is on board and that vessels are in good working condition.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will conduct alligator lottery harvests on 19 LDWF Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), 25 public lakes and one U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) property Aug. 28-Oct. 3, 2019.
Illinois Conservation Police Officers (CPOs) are reminding boat operators to always drive sober and to wear life jackets – life-saving reminders heading into the state’s busiest boating season.
SWEEPSTAKES
The grand prize winner will receive a 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road truck with Genuine Toyota accessories and other accessories packages from other manufacturers, all with a total value of $43,167.
TELEVISION
The West Coast of Florida experienced the worst “red tide” in recorded history last summer and Sportsman Channel’s Florida Sportsman Watermen are there to help restore these waterways onSundays at 8:30 a.m.
TOURNAMENTS
Lots of big bass and lots of great anglers should result in a shootout at "The Chick" in the Bassmaster Eastern Open
WORKSHOPS
Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center has a full schedule of programs planned for June, which includes Free Fishing Weekend, June 8 and 9.
YOUTH EVENTS
Kids fishing events are sponsored across the state and provide fishing assistance to both children (under age 16) and parents from knowledgeable instructors.

Conservationists fear fox could end up guarding the henhouse in certification process

In a biting piece of satire in the May 2019 issue of Sport Fishing Magazine entitled “Certifiably Absurd,” editor Doug Olander took aim at Omega Protein’s efforts to have its industrial harvest of menhaden certified as a sustainable fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The company apparently took issue with Mr. Olander’s characterization of the process as Omega “buying its way to respectability” and looking to “wrap itself in a cloak of respectability by claiming it's a certified sustainable fishery.” Omega Protein stated,

Mr. Olander isn't just wrong about the independence and integrity of the MSC process; he gets key facts wrong about the fishery, making wild, misleading claims. He blames the "industrial menhaden-reduction fishery" for current problems facing striped bass. But this ignores all of the available evidence. According to the ASMFC, striped bass are overfished, and overfishing of the species by recreational anglers has been cited as the main cause, the same anglers which are Mr. Olander's primary audience. The issues facing striped bass are due to overfishing.

Omega’s eagerness to silence critics and divert attention to anything other than its own operations for the problems in the striped bass fishery is nothing new. The menhaden reduction fishery is a true relic of the past and one of the most reviled in the entire country. Using spotter planes and a purse seine fleet to encircle and remove entire schools of menhaden, Omega catches millions of pounds of one of the most important sources of forage along the Atlantic Coast every year, and reduces them to fish oil pills and feed for aquaculture operations, among other things. Anglers in the region have long believed the company’s relentless pressure on menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay, the primary nursery ground for striped bass and many other sportfish, has caused localized depletions of forage, leading to an increase in diseased, stressed and skinny fish in the Bay to spawn. 

Andre Buchheister, Thomas J. Miller & Edward D. Houde (2017) Evaluating Ecosystem-Based Reference Points for Atlantic Menhaden, Marine and Coastal Fisheries, 9:1, 457-478, DOI: 10.1080/19425120.2017.1360420 Link to this article:  https://doi.org/10.108

Striped bass are indeed experiencing overfishing and anglers are acting to reverse that trend by working with managers to reduce limits and curb catch-and-release mortality, but a prolonged period of low striped bass spawning success is a large part of the problem. That may very well be tied to inadequate forage in the Bay, no matter how much Omega would like to protest otherwise. In fact, the best available evidence is that the reduction fishery may be driving a nearly 30 percent reduction in striped bass.

Mr. Olander is certainly not alone in questioning the Marine Stewardship Council and its practices. In the past, the MSC has been funded in part from royalties paid by seafood processors using the MSC ecolabel. Third-party certifiers were paid by the entity seeking certification, and if the certification was successful, those third-party certifiers often received long-term contracts to monitor chain-of-custody of the products and update reviews of the fishery every five years. In other words, both the MSC and the independent reviewers stood to benefit financially from a successful certification. In 2011, the science journal NATURE published a sharp critique of the MSC process, claiming that after the signing of a contract between the MSC and Wal-Mart, the number of certified seafood products skyrocketed. One of the fisheries that qualified for possible certification around that time was the U.S. Southeast Coast swordfish and big eye/yellowfin tuna fisheries.

“It is inconceivable that the MSC could grant approval to longline gear that causes 90 percent of the mortality on marlins, spearfish and sailfish bycatch across the Atlantic,” remarked Billfish Foundation President Ellen Peel at the time.

Even today, when entities formally object to a certification – as Coastal Conservation Association, the American Sportfishing Association, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, the Nature Conservancy and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation are currently doing with Omega’s menhaden certification – an independent adjudicator judges whether they have “a reasonable prospect of success.” If so, the objectors are then required to pay a roughly $6,000 “objection fee” to proceed. It is easy to get the feeling that the MSC process is less about sustainability and more about whose pockets are deep enough.

In January of this year, the State of Virginia formally notified the MSC of its opposition to certification of the menhaden fishery. In April, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to protect menhaden in New York's waters by prohibiting harvest by purse seine, essentially rejecting the industrial harvest of menhaden. Those two states, along with conservation groups and tens of thousands of concerned anglers, all share the same deep-rooted concerns that management efforts to date have failed to account for menhaden’s critical ecological role in the Atlantic coastal ecosystem. There are huge unknowns about the bycatch associated with Omega’s menhaden harvest and while Omega claims menhaden aren’t overfished, the amount of menhaden needed for the ecosystem is still being investigated by a dedicated team of assessment scientists expected to be concluded at the end of this year.  So, it remains unclear why MSC would certify the fishery now instead of waiting for the results of ecosystem reference points for menhaden.

Mr. Olander is correct to question whether the fox is guarding the henhouse when it comes to MSC certification of Omega’s industrial menhaden fishery. The company’s aggressive tactics to silence critics like him should only serve as a warning that more light needs to be cast on this entire process.

The preceding editorial is submitted by Coastal Conservation Association, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and the American Sportfishing Association.

FISHING CALENDAR
May 16-19
Emerald Coast Open Lionfish Tournament

Destin, Florida, cash prizes for most lionfish brought in; www.emeraldcoastopen.com

May 23-24
2019 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops

May 25
CCA Florida STAR Tournament

With $500,000 in prizes and college scholarships gets underway statewide; https://ccaflstar.com

June 3-9
Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic

Golden Nugget Casino and Hotel, Biloxi, MS; mgcbc.com

June 19-23
Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Miramar Beach, FL; fishecbc.com

July 9-14
Blue Marlin Grand Championship

The Wharf, Orange Beach, AL; bluemarlingrandchampionship.com

August 10-16
Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament

Pirate’s Cove Marina, Manteo, NC; pcbgt.com

 
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