William J. Brennan Ph.D.
Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere Acting NOAA Administrator
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW
Room 5128 (5804? Both online)
Suggested Message Subject:
Current plan to shut down bottom longlines in Gulf of Mexico is flawed.
Suggested Message Text
The current campaign to gather support for closing down bottom longlining in the Gulf of Mexico (one of the few healthy fisheries in the country) is attempting to hook well meaning people with misdirection, poor data and outright lies into supporting a cause based on emotion not fact.
This summary closure will put thousands of hard working American fishermen and seafood industry workers out of work and unable to support their families in the face of the worst economic times our country has seen in many years, while doing nothing to protect loggerhead turtles from the many very real dangers they do face.
The truth is, the numbers that were used to justify the plan that the Gulf Council has sent to NMFS are based on a small and flawed data set and are far from definitive. Please investigate this matter further before acceding to this emotion driven campaign fostered by environmental groups who simply want to shut down a fishery they believe is destructive despite the lack of any good solid science showing this to be true.
The fishermen have expressed a willingness to work with scientists and observers to arrive at a good strong data set from which we can build a fishery that will be sustainable and healthy on into our children's future, but the Gulf Council ignored this in the face of threats of litigation from the litigation machines of the extremist conservation groups. We cannot collect data or work out gear changes to limit turtle interactions if you and your colleagues allow the Gulf Council and the NMFS to summarily shut down the fishery with nothing but incomplete and flawed data to go on.
We are simply asking you to investigate the numbers these conservation groups are publicizing more carefully before joining in hasty and ill considered action to close a healthy fishery and put thousands of Americans out of work for no real reason. We in the fishing industry are confident that it will only take a close look at the numbers and the lack of data to see that the science and data are just not strong enough to justify closing down a healthy fishery. The participants in the fishery are more than willing to work with scientists to come up with good data and a better plan that would protect the loggerhead turtles while allowing a group of hardworking Americans to continue to work and support their families.
Thank you for your consideration on this matter.