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JUNE 19, 2012 


Fighting for Our Freedom to Fish
Today's guest: Chris McCaffity

SHOW APPEARANCES:  JUNE 19, 2011   NOVEMBER 20, 2011   JUNE 17, 2012

Public Comments Regarding Amendment 24.



About Chris McCaffity

My name is Chris McCaffity. I am a commercial fisherman who has been offering common sense solutions that would mitigate the severe negative impacts associated with regulations passed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council that fail to comply with many of the mandates in the Magnuson-Stevens Act. I have ZERO confidence in the SAFMC’s ability to properly manage ANYTHING! The minions of environmental “charities” like Pew and EDF along with their puppets in the leadership of the multiple layers of fishery bureaucracy are either grossly incompetent or they are maliciously mismanaging our fisheries in an attempt to advance other agendas.

Roy Crabtree has stated that the South Atlantic snapper/grouper fishery will be managed much like the Gulf. He said they will start with derby fisheries to “manage” the reduced quotas and then “try” Trip Poundage Limits before using catch shares to “save” our fisheries. The proper use of TPLs would achieve all of the honorable goals of catch shares without the “unintended” consequences like fleet reductions that destroy an average of 1/3 of the permit holder’s businesses in every fishery catch share schemes “help”. I do not believe for one second that the SAFMC has given up on catch shares even though they voted not to continue pursuing them. I believe the leadership is simply giving their feeble attempts at TPLs a chance to fail. The Vermilion Snapper fishery is a perfect example of how their versions of TPLs are set up to fail. They did nothing to extend the season or limit Regulatory Discards compared to a derby fishery.

Amendment 24 follows the pattern Roy Crabtree planned for. They are planning to “manage” the Red Grouper quota as a derby fishery and warn us that this WILL cause the fishery to be shut down early! Next year they are planning to use a Regulatory Amendment to implement their version of TPLs. If past TPLs are any indication of how they will be set up for Red Grouper, the TPLs will be set up in the most incompetent way possible. After their lame versions of TPLs fail, they will say they have tried everything else and catch shares are the only solution left. This seems to be more malicious than incompetent.

I again publicly call on Congress to pass a bill that will allow permit holders in a federal fishery to have final approval of all Amendments with a 2/3 majority vote. We should have access to all documents available to the councils and come up with alternative management plans using the existing Total Allowable Catches while following ALL of the mandates in the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Congress should set up a peer review panel to insure all management plans submitted by the regional councils and the permit holders comply with the MSA. All existing regulations should be reviewed by the panel and allow the permit holders to offer alternatives for the regulations that fail to comply with the MSA.


This is how the Red Grouper fishery should be managed.
  • 1. The way the council split the quota between recreational fishermen and consumers should be reversed. The council in their infinite wisdom decided to allocate about 400,000 pounds of the quota to recreational fishermen even though their average annual catch is only about 150,000 pounds. The commercial quota will be set at around 300,000 pounds even though our annual catches average about 400,000 pounds. REALLY! This is the height of bureaucratic incompetence. Anyone with half a brain could look at those numbers and know they should be reversed. That would still give recreational fishermen a quota that is twice their average annual catch. That still seems a little unfair to the consumers of Red Grouper, but at least it makes much more sense.
  • 2. The size limit for Red Grouper should be removed and the quota increased as the waste associated with size limits ends. Removing only the larger breeding stock of fish leads to truncated stocks and reduces the overall health of a fishery and the average size of the fish in it.
  • 3. The commercial Red Grouper quota should be PROPERLY managed with possession limits instead of creating another derby fishery that threatens our safety at sea, creates Regulatory Discards, and denies consumer’s access to Red Grouper for long periods. Here is how the TPLs should be set up.A. Set a 100 pound by-catch allowance during the four month spawning season closure. This would keep fishermen from targeting Red Grouper during the spawning season, but we could make efficient use of those we accidentally catch. Those fish would create revenue and feed people instead of TONS of them slowly dying and going to waste. The circle hooks fishermen are now forced to use break a fish’s jaw if they are not removed properly. Those poor fish slowly starve to death if infection or decompression damage does not kill them first.
  • B. Set a 1,000 pound Trip Poundage Limit until approximately 75% of the quota has been caught. The TPL should then be adjusted to level that would fill the quota without a long closure. Here are examples of how the TPLs should be adjusted.
  • The TPL should remain at 1,000 pounds if there is only one month left in the season.
  • The TPL should be decreased to 100 pounds if there are six months left in the season.
  • The TPL should be decreased to 200 pounds if there are five months left in the season.
  • The TPL should be decreased to 300 pounds if there are four months left in the season.
  • The TPL should be decreased to 400 pounds if there are three months left in the season.
  • The TPL should be decreased to 500 pounds if there are two months left in the season.
I understand Roy Crabtree’s point that the SAFMC cannot adjust the TPL when EXACTLY 75% of the quota has been filled. They can however, adjust it after somewhere between 70 and 80% of the quota has been filled. The reduced TPLs would make it easier to extrapolate when the quota will be filled. This will extend the season through most of the year and limit waste.
The stock of Red Grouper and everything living in the same areas could be helped greatly with an aggressive Artificial Reef program. They are the perfect union of aquaculture and commercially harvested wild fish. We should be allocating some of the National Marine Fisheries Service BILLION dollar annual budget to enhancing the resource rather than just trying to restrict the public’s access to OUR PUBLIC RESOURCES. The money appropriated to advancing the catch share scheme that very few fishermen support could be used to create new habitat. With all of their decades of collective college education, the fishery “managers” should know the three key things needed to increase a stock of fish.
  1. 1. Increase the amount of food available

  2. 2. Increase the amount of shelter available.

  3. 3. Predatory stress invokes a reproductive response.

Artificial Reefs create the base of the food chain and could greatly increase the total biomass our South Atlantic could support. They would not only increase the amount of seafood available for harvest, they would help corals, turtles, and everything else that lives on and around structure.
Why do the fishery bureaucrats refuse to help the fish, fishermen, and consumers? Why are ALL of the laws they pass aimed at restricting our freedom, destroying our jobs, wasting our resources, and denying consumer’s access to safe American seafood? Could the Saltonstall/Kennedy tax on imported seafood have something to do with the bureaucracy wanting to import more seafood rather than increasing the amount of American seafood available to consumers? That tax revenue should be used to enhance our fisheries and promote the domestic supply of seafood. What is it being used for now?
The plans I laid out would follow all of the mandates in the MSA and help the Red Grouper stock rebuild from decades of gross mismanagement with very little if any negative impacts to the fish, fishermen, or consumers.
Please forward these comments to anyone you think might be interested in properly managing our public resources.
Help Chris
Chris McCaffity Photography GalleryI made a 2012 Calendar out of pictures I have taken while working around the water. This is my way of using the talent God gave me and the free market to fund my fight and keep my fishing business from going bankrupt while I fight for the proper management of our fisheries. Please consider supporting the free market and helping me by following this link.


Thank you,
Chris McCaffity
Please contact me if you have any questions. 
Please visit Chris's Calendar Gallery
2012 Natural Art Calendar
FreeFish7 Calendar GalleryThis is the cover of the 2012 Natural Art Freedom To Fish Calendar. I want to be honest about what I am trying to with the calendar of pictures I have taken while working around the water. I stopped fishing when the mismanagement of our fisheries was forcing me to discard more fish than I could legally sell. It broke my heart to discard so many perfectly good fish to slowly die and go to waste. I made the calendar as a way to keep my fishing business from going bankrupt while I took the time necessary to go to fishery meetings, send letters, make phone calls, and inform the public about how we are losing our freedom to responsibly harvest our Nation's seafood and provide consumers with access to a dependable supply of it. I have also been offering common sense solutions that would stop most of the waste and abuse that plagues our fisheries. Please take a look at the photos in the calendar and consider the special offer I will make for this website in the text of the December photo.
Websites and material mentioned on today's program:



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