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Editorial January/February 2011


    Reminiscent of another “Jane” that sold out our boys during the Vietnam War, Dr. Jane “I am the recreational fisherman’s champion” Lubchenco stated at a recent ICCAT meeting in Paris that, “When there is uncertainty in science we believe that it is important to err on the side of caution. We believe that it is appropriate therefore to seek lower TACs (Total Allowable Catches) for bluefin tuna for both sides of the Atlantic.” With her comments, EDF Jane tossed both the domestic recreational and commercial bluefin tuna fishermen “under the bus” with full knowledge of the many sacrifices that have been made through the years by our domestic fleets to help restore the bluefin fishery in the Western Atlantic, unlike their counterparts in the Eastern Atlantic.
    Yes, there is surely an uncertainty in the science being used to make fishery management decisions by NOAA, and EDF Jane has been well aware of this flawed science for a very long time, but she continues to do nothing about it. This broken science continues to be EDF and Lubchenco’s greatest tool in their attempt to lead everyone to believe EDF’s “If it swims, it’s overfished” ruse.
   It is apparent the enviros do not want this fatally flawed science fixed. Their puppet, EDF Jane, has even diverted $54,000,000 in funds allocated to replacing this broken science toward her efforts to force the catch share system down the throats of commercial, and now recreational fishermen.
   Another ICCAT comment made by EDF Jane should shock the recreational community. “Recreational fishermen relish the pleasure of simply being out on the water with family and friends, and testing their skills against a mighty fish.” Is the EDF and Lubchenco’s future plans include making the recreational fishery purely catch and release?
   With EDF Jane at the reins of NOAA, a former Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) employee herself, and Monica Medina, a former PEW employee appointed by Lubchenco as her “catch shares” czar, the NOAA deck is continuing to be stacked against the many recreational and commercial fishermen who stand against the catch shares system of fisheries management. Both EDF Jane and Medina are pushing hard and pulling out all the stops to force EDF’s catch shares manifesto on domestic fishermen, but why? Could the answer for the tremendous push by Lubchenco for catch shares be found at a meeting entitled “Innovative Funding For Sustainable Fisheries” (IFSF) that was held in Los Angeles, CA. in 2009 at the Milken Institute.
 David Festa, Vice President of EDF West Coast, IFSF Comments:
   “Is there a roll for private capital here?” ”How much money is to be made out there?” “We have to have capital that’s where I think public and private partnerships comes in.” “One statistic in all the catch shares fisheries’ value that have transitioned over to catch shares tends to increase by a factor of four.” “The current U.S. industry is a five billion dollar industry.” “....It’s real money.” “I think we are at that point in the curve where we can start to see a huge ramp up and a lot of opportunity in the next three years.”
    Jason Winship’s, Managing Principal, Sea Change Management Investment Company, LLC, IFSF Comments:
   “We are a unique partnership between a source of philanthropic capital....and a series of high net worth individuals who very much care about our conservation mandate, but see this space as a great way to make a great deal of money.” “An emerging topic that we are keeping a close eye on is how to make direct investments in catch shares systems. All of what has been outlined on the transition to catch shares systems requires the application of capital....but we see a significant opportunity, David (Festa) once again on the stats of the four times increase in value pre-rationalization to post-rationalization transition of these catch shares means that someone is making money in the process. Someone has to finance the acquisition of these permits and speed that transition along. We think there is a very, very solid rationale for investors to step into the capital void and provide the means by which that transition can be facilitated and make money besides.”
   Is the tremendous push to catch shares being orchestrated by EDF Jane for investment opportunities that will make a lot of money for friends of EDF, or how about Glenmede Trust, an investment company with six Pews sitting on their board? I wonder if they will jump on the potential 400 percent bonanza?
   I believe it’s time for an investigative authority to step in and look into this matter to see if EDF Jane’s tremendous push to force catch shares on the American fishermen, in light of her past position at EDF and her current position at NOAA, is either illegal or highly unethical or somewhere in between.
   Since her appointment EDF Jane has been seeding NOAA with environmental people. She is forcing EDF’s manifesto on domestic fishermen, fishermen that have loudly voiced their disapproval of the catch shares system only to have it fall on deaf ears at NOAA. She sold the American bluefin tuna fishermen out at ICCAT in Paris and she just may be setting the ground work to create a total catch and release fishery for the recreational fleet. EDF Jane must be removed from her position at NOAA before our entire fishery management process is controlled by the Environmental Defense Fund, and their PEW funded crony organizations.
   When Lubchenco is removed from office, please don’t feel bad for her—I’m sure she can get her old job back at EDF.
   To further realize how far EDF’s tentacles have reached inside NOAA’s fishery management process, please read Dennis O’Hern’s guest column, The Great Divide - Sector Separation, on page 80.

   Captain Len Belcaro