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Commercial Fishermans Perspective

commercial fisherman

Response to the Uproar of the recreational striped Bass community to the increased usage of Illegal gill netting of stripers

My name is Mark John Howard. I am a commercial fisherman.

REAL commercial fishermen are not poachers. We are 1000% against it. In my area if we find an Illegal fishing activity- we do EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to shut it down. As a small commercial family operation, we must work very hard to ensure that there is always a sustainable amount of fish out there for everyone, sportfishers and commercial operators, other fish, birds, etc. "Because one thing is for sure. If there is no Fish - There will be no Fisherman." I would really like to point out a few things though that I think anyone that has common sense,, while that seems to be lacking here in these days, people should hear what I have to say. Here in the U.S. only 2% of the TOTAL POPULATION are directly involved in agriculture and commercial fishing. This includes all of the farmers from veggies to milk, pork, cotton for your "Fruit of the Looms", lobster, shrimp, fish, Fruit,,,. This is from the Department of Agriculture info site. This 2% feeds 98% of the rest of you. How many of you raise ALL of the food that you eat,, year around???? Probably none. There is a problem here in America. WE are not responsible or accountable for feeding our families. We rely on someone else to do the work for us because we do not have the skill,, or desire,, or mainly we are just to lazy to feed ourselves. Its easier to PAY someone else to do it. This has led to the society that we have today. while most Everyone is interested in what's on TV this evening, or going to the local pub,, video games for the kids,, shopping till you drop, buying the next SUV, building a new house, getting the next new CD music disc or computer,, or even calling Chemlawn to come out and poison our lawns because we are too lazy to bend over and pull a few weeds, or are so controlling and sensitive about having a weed in the lawn that HOW WE GET OUR FOOD seems to slip our minds,, or we are just too lazy or ignorant to care. We guzzle way to much fuel here in America because we are to lazy to walk a little or bike. This is why we are so overweight here in the U.S. to the point that the Government has listed it as a serious national security issue,,, Americans are to fat to fight?? we are too out of shape. There is this small number of people who work very hard daily putting food on everyone else's table all the while,, having to burden the ignorance of others that are so far removed from the process that puts food on their table by dealing with legislation that takes fresh food away from our local market so a handful of very dim or just plain ignorant people want to play patty fingers and play with fish on THIER weekend. Now,, I have a family,,- my boys love to recreational fish,, as do I. "But not at the cost of taking a food source off the market. Look people- we are already over seas fighting for oil because we are running out and using too much here as it is. Our imports are raising alarmingly every year- our food is coming somewhere else. The further it comes from,, the more it is going to cost all of you. You don't think that at the current cost of fuel- that your local "Piggly Wiggly supermarket is going to eat the price of shipping just because little johnny wants a bowl of "Lucky Charms??? There are so many issues here that have been left unchecked for years that it is going to take a little bit to solve it. The local small family commercial operation is not for the LArge Industrial Operation fisheries that only see fish as $$$$$$$ dollar signs. We are sustainable operations. Fighting WITH YOU to keep the fisheries healthy, safe from Pollution and over-exploitation by ALL USERS. For the record. And I hope that everyone checks this out for themselves. That 99% of all poaching is done by NON-Commercial people. They are CROOKS. They should go to JAIL. They give recreational and commercial fishermen a bad name. These people are greedy, and are do so much damage to a fisheries. It is our policy that if a commercial operator is caught, we as commercial operators will fight as hard as possible to strip this person the the right to commercial fish. PERMANANTLY. We as commercial harvesters have the moral responsibility to the consumer of making sure that the fisheries are always protected and sustainable. People came here to America because the countries they lived in were over-fished,=- over lumbered, polluted, or from political or religious strife. There was a shortage of food, clean water, and land to even survive on. This is why America was founded,,, at least in my upbringing I was taught. If we continue to let the whoremongers of our Natural Resources continue to gobble up or hog it for a select few who have more money then the rest of us,,, we are in a world of trouble. What ocean are we going to cross this time because we over fished, over hunted, polluted our water and especially our lands, cleared our forest to stumps, and turned all of the farms into subdivisions?? Our food I believe is killing us. There was a time when you could go to the local small family operated farmers market or fish market to get fresh caught clean fish. for about 97% of the country,- this no longer exists. There was no cancer,- or acid reflex. Our food is full of oxidants that preserve the food made by big business- it is full of acids,, ascorbic, citric, polysorbate, and other preservatives that harm us at a high level of intake. America is overweight. Our food also comes from far away places. read the label. Chemical preservatives are cheap for big business. Our bodies are what around 95% WATER AND THE REST IS BONE AND CALCIUM- this is why we are made to operate at a certain PH level. when we eat things that are too Acidic- We see the commercials for Tums with X-t ra calcium,, Pepcid AC, the Purple Pill, and medications for Acid reflex. These preservatives also deplete the oxygen out of the food they are preserving, like when you wrap your leftovers in aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or Tupperware to seal out the oxygen. It also works on the cells in your body- keeping out the oxygen and in return your cells start to suffocate- they mutate to survive ( our cells have this unique ability) and then become CANCEROUS-( look up the meaning of cancer,-) then to repair itself,, it attacks out healthy cells trying to get what the damaged cell needs to repair itself from the good one, but the mechanism for repair has been damaged in the mutation process so the cancerous cell just attacks and spreads, but never has the ability to fix itself. This is why Anti-Oxy dents are on the market. When My mom cans and when we can food, all we use is good old,, water and steam. A few mason jars. a pressure canner or cold packer. I don't use Benzoic stearic Poly carbonic No# 1032. I hope you get my meaning. The picture is much bigger than just saying OK,, no more strippers for commercial operators. If you want fish on the table, catch it yourself,, buy a license and a boat, and-motor, gps, radio, lures, rods, pop, ice, beer, fishing hat, knife, safety gear, ice chest, fuel, bait, radar,etc- that's sure a lot of stuff!? That's because it is,- Its Big Business. Its called the Sport Fishing Industry. Lets use this attitude say on every other thing we eat or use. Lets say ask this question: Do you eat beef,, or drink milk? This would mean that if you do not buy the farm,, milking equipment, license to process, tractors,,hayforks, build the barns, and raise the crops for your steers or cows, You my lucky friend- "do not have the right eat: Steak, a Burger,, or have milk with your Wheaties----, I hope you see what I'm getting at. So many times I have seen recreational interests say,- well there's"MO MONEY" in recreational fishing than commercial harvests. Your right. And you better be SOoo thankful that I do not charge you $936.00 for your walleye dinner say for example- the same price that the big businesses in recreational fishing say a walleye is worth on the economic impact multiplier. What I'm trying to say is that taking the stripper off the commercial list is not the answer. Its nailing the poachers. Its turning in the guys harvesting recreationally over the limit. Its getting rid of the industrial commercial fishing operations that are not sustainable, it doing more to clean our soils,air and waters up. If your commercial fisherman in your area are not of the same mind as mine,, I think they need to be in a different business. No one has the right to over fish any species for any reason. If you are catching too many under-sized stripers in a gill net,- either change the mesh size, or go to a trap net of some kind where you can cull the under-sized fish out without killing them, let go other non-targeted species go, and keep the market size fish for the table. I also believe that you should only catch fish that you have orders for. SUSTAINABLE. But you do not have the right to hog all of the fish just because you want more fish to catch on your line on the weekend. I hope that somehow you can solve this problem in a better way. In some states,, buying a fishing or hunting license is listed as a privilege? When did having the right to put food on my table for my family and myself become a privilege? America Wake Up. Please. there's not much time left. Historically we are at a point of decision for what resources we have left. There is an old Irish saying: "I'm not inheriting the earth from my forefathers-Im borrowing it from my children".

Mark John Howard Commercial Fisherman

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