Recently we were fortunate enough to have a Congressional Field hearing in our District (2). This was a hearing on fishing equals jobs. Our Representative Steve Southerland worked tirelessly to get the full congressional hearing brought to our area where the entire house of representatives in Washington DC could hear testimony from locals about how the extremely short fishing seasons, catch shares, sector separation and the National Oceans policy are affecting jobs in our area; thus hurting our coastal economies everywhere in Florida.
I proudly accepted the invitation from Congress to testify on behalf of the Recreational Fishing Alliance and fishermen in general from our area. Of course, as with any hearing there are differing opinions as to how to help our fisheries and fishermen. I was not surprised to see a group there, promoting catch shares and sector separation as that is a big issue here on the Gulf.
I was surprised with their obvious lack of manners when they interrupted a FULL Congressional Hearing with shouting and clapping when someone made some statements promoting Catch shares. It shows their lack of respect for the democratic process. It also shows this group will do ANYTHING to promote Catch Shares and sector Separation which will only put more money in their pockets and take away from the recreational fisherman.
This loud group that represents maybe 10 percent of commercial and even less than that of the recreational side of fishermen is backed by groups such as EDF(environmental defense fund) and other environmental groups who are shutting down our fishing seasons and limiting our access to all fisheries in the name of environmental protection. All of us that live here know that we have had more snapper in the last six or seven years than we have ever had, and yet they only give us 40 days to fish for them. These unnecessary short seasons are killing our economy. Now we have found Steve Southerland, someone willing to stand up for us in Congress to help cure these wrongs and have our plight listened to by all of Washington!
This is great except for this small group of people are attacking him in newspapers and on the internet. They don’t care about the truth, only winning. This is part of the same group that interrupted the field hearing last week. Part of this loud group is not even from this district of Florida for that matter and the money that brings them here and pays for their articles and their busses to bring them here to disrupt a formal democratic process is not even from this coast. I say Thank you Steve Southerland for standing up to these huge environmental groups to fight for the economy of Florida and especially your district. Your fight promoting better science and to get longer fishing seasons is what we have been needing for years—the longer our fishing seasons are –the better our economy is!
Port St. Joe