The National Marine Fisheries Service report on commercial fishing revenues- hailing an increase in gross revenues as a sign that its new regulatory system is helping fishermen, even it fails to account for a penny of fishermen's increased costs - might be considered laughable if it weren't so painfully obvious that it's no mistake.
After all, in his report summary, NMFS chief Eric Schwaab, the former Maryland fish and gamer who's now caddy to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrator Jane Lubchenco, failed to even note a disclaimer in his own report - that the preliminary figures showing purported revenue gains over nine months of fishing under the catch shares format did not include any expense data that can shed light on fishermen's net revenues at all.
That's right; this glowing report, actually picked up by some news agencies as if it were credible, did not touch upon the costs fishermen have had to ante up for sector management while working in those cooperatives. And it didn't factor in the millions fishermen have had to shell out to lease additional quota to be able to make a living under the tightly limited catch.
Given those factors, Schwaab's report isn't worth the paper on which it's printed. That, however, isn't even the most serious issue raised by this bogus report.
That, once again, is the blatant dishonesty that shines through NOAA's and Lubchenco's gang of supposedly "green" supporters in their now-desperate attempts to convince lawmakers and other unknowing Americans that catch shares are a good deal for fishermen, when, in fact, the opposite becomes clearer every day.
What the report also fails to show is the documented concentration of those higher revenues in the hands of fewer big fishing businesses - those who can afford to lease and buy up more quota - while the smaller, independent fishermen and their crew members are forced to the sidelines and the unemployment lines.
The Gulf of Mexico is designated an Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) and/or Habitats of Particular Concern (HAPC) except for the offshore platforms. If the platforms could receive such status, then the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) would have to recommend to Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) to not remove the platforms. (Paraphrase statements from ecorigs.org page title Essential Fish Habitat.)
The few studies done on the platforms, all indicated the offshore platforms are Essential Fish and/or Marine Habitats.
Proof of Concept for Platform Recruited Fish, Phase 1: Do Platforms Provide Habitat for Sub-adult Red Snapper?
The first and as of now, the only study (found) that shows a defining link that proves that the “platforms may constitute as red snapper essential fish habitat and, as such, should be considered as viable tools in management of red snapper”. From page 57 of the study, please note the wording: “essential fish habitat”. The Gulf Coast Council (GCC) is mandated under Magnum-Stevens to prevent overfishing and part of that mandate is the protection of known marine habitats important in their management.
( www.gomr.boemre.gov/PI/PDFImages/ESPIS/4/4898.pdf )
The goal of this release is to inform the public, environmentalists, and other user groups (from one of studies ESPIS/2/2962) “Older structures will be removed, and even if large numbers are cut or toppled to create fish habitat, the most productive upper zone will be lost. From now on, the unique platform ecosystem is likely to be in decline.”
NOAA, NMS, BOEMRE, GCC aiding and abetting by such groups as the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) are not doing their due diligence in protecting vital marine habitats as all known evidences point in that direction. The “Idle Iron” program should be renamed the “Idle Irony” program. The “Rigs to Reefs” program has become a slush fund for the governor.