Hey Congress - let's stop bottom-trawling!

Discussion in 'The Octopus' Den' started by sorseress, Sep 6, 2005.

  1. sorseress

    sorseress Colossal Squid Supporter

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    (Moved from the bottom-trawling pictures thread) I'm proposing to post the names of the subcommittee members of both the House of Representatives, and the Senate. I will also try to post the email address of each of them. I would like to suggest that those of us who are US citizens write letters to each of them to request that legislation be passed outlawing bottom trawling in all coastal US waters, and out to the 200 mile limit. We should also request the United States initiate and participate in international action to make bottom trawling an international crime punishable by trade sanctions against any country whose fisheries and fishing vessels are engaging in it. It might be beneficial for us to initiate some discussion about appropriate wording for such a letter, with as much scientific verification of the devastation caused bysuch trawling. I have the visuals you have posted, And Dr SOS sent a bit more info to me privately, but if papers and web sites offering really good scientific data are available to us, we should take advantage of that. Generally speaking, it's more effective to not use form letters, so if we could outline a suggested letter or two, with key and important phrases ,(and correct grammar and spelling) then perhaps we could each write our own. It will take a bit of time and effort, but I think we can all agree that it's worth that. I'll post this, probably in a new thread, and give people a few days to comment on whether people want to do this. I will do it on my own, but there is strenght in numbers.
    Hopefully,
    Sharon
     
  2. chrono_war01

    chrono_war01 Colossal Squid Supporter

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    As long as the US goverment or any US indsutry is gainging benifit from bottom trawling, nobody would give a damn what the sea would look like, after all, fish don't vote.
     
  3. Infusoria

    Infusoria Vampyroteuthis Registered

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  4. erich orser

    erich orser Architeuthis Supporter Registered

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    Hey, I'm in, obviously.
     
  5. sorseress

    sorseress Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Great link

    Matt, thanks! That's a great link. So far I have only skimmed the surface, but I'm going to read every bit of it. It's really good stuff.
    We can get lots of ammunition from those articles.

    Here is a list of all the members on the Senate subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, and water:

    Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island, Chairman
    http://chafee.senate.gov/webform.htm
    Tel.#202-224-2921

    John W. Warner, Virginia
    http://www.senate.gov/~warner/contact/offices.htm
    Tel.#202-224-2023

    Lisa Murkowski, Alaska
    http://murkowski.senate.gov/contact.cfm Tel.#202-224-6665

    Jim De Mint, South Carolina
    http://demint.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home
    tel.#202-224-6121

    David Vitter. Louisiana
    http://vitter.senate.gov/contact.cfm Tel#202-224-4623

    Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York
    http://clinton.senate.gov/contact/ tel#202-224-4451

    Joseph I Lieberman, Connecticut
    http://lieberman.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm tel:202-224-4041

    Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey
    http://lautenberg.senate.gov/contact.html tel#202-224-3224

    Barack Obama, Illinois
    http://obama.senate.gov/contact/ tel#202-224-2854


    To contact your own state's senators, go to www.senate.gov/contact/
    from there it's easy to follow the links.

    I have only listed the DC office phone numbers, but if you live in any of the states that the members represent and you want to call them or talk to them up close and in person, ( or at least to their staffers,) you can also find the addresses and telephone numbers of their local offices on their web pages. They also have fax numbers listed. If you choose to call them, ask for the staffer who deals with environmental issues, usually only found in the DC offices. If you want to fax material, it's best to let them know that you are sending it first.


    Information re: the House of Representatives will follow later, I haven't gotten to that yet.

    If I make this easy enough, will people do it?
     
  6. Melissa

    Melissa Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter

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    Yes.
     
  7. TPOTH

    TPOTH Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Hear, hear!
    (also valid for other countries)

    TPOTH
     
  8. Fujisawas Sake

    Fujisawas Sake Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Do it. Don't be afraid to write your elected officials. I have written many letters on issues like this, and this gives me fodder to write a new one.

    Consider it like the law of averages: One letter represents several voices. Enough voices speak, someone HAS to listen.

    Here's another link: The United States House of Representatives

    Sushi and Sake for your vote,

    John
     
  9. um...

    um... Architeuthis Supporter

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    I think everybody in government should be forced to read Jared Diamond's Collapse.

    (However, I suppose that would kill a lot of trees. Maybe they could share.)
     
  10. sorseress

    sorseress Colossal Squid Supporter

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    I have a call in to a staffer at NRDC who works on this issue. I'm trying to find out if there is any current legislation in the works. When I hear from her I'll let you know. I'll get the House subcommittee members info posted soon, I promise. We already have areas in US waters where bottom trawling is banned, I'm trying to find out all the particulars about that too.
     
  11. sorseress

    sorseress Colossal Squid Supporter

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    The Bottom Trawling and Deep Sea Coral Habitat Act of 2005

    New Bi-Partisan Bill Introduced to Protect Deep-Sea Corals:
    Bottom Trawling and Deep Sea Coral Habitat Act of 2005

    The Bottom Trawling and Deep Sea Coral Habitat Act of 2005 would:

    * Allow mobile bottom-tending fishing gear to be used in almost all areas where it has been used in the past three years for which records are available.
    * Temporarily ban the use of mobile bottom-tending fishing gear in unstudied areas - any area in which records indicate that mobile bottom-tending fishing gears were not used - until research determines whether deep sea coral ecosystems are present. If no deep sea coral ecosystems are found in an area, that area would be opened for the use of bottom-tending fishing gears and desginated a Bottom Trawl Zone.
    * Permanently ban the use of mobile bottom-tending fishing gear in Coral Habitat Conservation Zones where deep sea coral ecosystems are known to exist.
    * Require monitoring of coral bycatch. Raised bycatch levels are an indicator of the presence of deep sea coral ecosystems. Areas that produce high bycatch levels would be designated Coral Habitat Conservation Zones under the authority of the Secretary of Commerce.
    * Require deep-sea coral research on
    o Locations and mapping of deep sea coral ecosystems;
    o Natural history;
    o Taxonomic classification;
    o Ecological roles;
    o Growth rate;
    o Ecological indicators of coral habitat; and
    o Benefits provided by these species and habitats.
    * Provide for penalties and enforcement of the act.
    * Provide $15,000,000 a year to carry out the provisions of the act.


    This act has been introduced in previous years and not passed. It undoubtedly isn't perfect, but it's certainly better than nothing, which is what we have now.
    I have a call into Congressman Gilchrest's Environmental aide to try to get more info.
     
  12. sorseress

    sorseress Colossal Squid Supporter

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  13. sorseress

    sorseress Colossal Squid Supporter

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    I just spoke with Congressman Gilchrest's environmental aide, at some length, actually. The House bill was not allowed to get out of the House Resource Committee. It's dead for this year. She said that writing individual letters to congressmen was exactly what we should be doing, that they paid much more attention to one letter than they do to all the mass mailings in the world. Although we were in disagreement about some issues, she is, after all, used to dealing in the world of compromise and deal making, not in the world of activism, she agreed in principle that bottom trawling of coral reefs and seamonts were destructive and counterproductive in the long run. She also said that only through citizen participation were we likely to get anywhere, because the fishing industry was very active, and without hearing from the other side (us) no one in Congress was likely to do anything. I asked her about the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition UN initiative, and she said that the White House was totally opposed to it and that it would have to wait for a new administration for the US to get involved. No surprise there She said that Senator Barbara Boxer had introduced legislation, so I looked that up. Here's the summary:

    SUMMARY OF THE NATIONAL OCEANS PROTECTION ACT
    by Senator Barbara Boxer

    Purpose:

    Senator Boxer’s National Oceans Protection Act of 2005 addresses some of the most serious challenges facing national oceans resources and provides a comprehensive approach to ocean and habitat protection. The legislation implements recommendations from two high level national commissions, the congressionally established U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, and the independent Pew Ocean Commission, both of which found the world’s oceans to be in severe distress.

    What the Bill Does:

    Improves Oceans Governance:

    • Establishes an independent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)


    • Creates a Council on Ocean Stewardship that will annually review funding, policy recommendations, and programs for ocean protection

    • Requires that all activities on the Outer Continental Shelf – such as wave energy projects, bioextraction by biotech companies, and wind energy projects – receive a federal permit in order to ensure that projects do not pose an adverse threat to the health of the oceans (current law only requires permits for oil and gas activities)

    • Establishes a Trust Fund with federal money generated from these newly permitted activities, with funds to be used for ocean conservation, science and research, and assistance to displaced fishermen

    • Increases biological and scientific monitoring of the oceans to ensure that accurate and updated information is available to implement policies protective of the oceans

    Protects and Conserves Marine Wildlife and Habitat:


    • Provides protection for ecologically-important coral areas by creating “Coral Management Areas”

    • Authorizes $3 million per year for research on the effects of noise pollution (i.e. sonar) on marine mammals
    • Prohibits almost all discharges of ballast water in U.S. waters and requires ships to install technology to capture invasive species in ballast water before discharge – and creates an early detection and rapid response system to provide assistance to states to protect against invasive species

    • Authorizes $50 million per year in grants to local communities to restore fishery and coastal habitats

    • Authorizes $500 million per year in grants to local communities to purchase lands that are vulnerable to development and are important to the protection and preservation of habitats

    Strengthens Fisheries and Fish Habitat:


    • Requires that, when determining the health of a fishery, the entire ecosystem be taken into account (not just the health of a particular fish species)

    • Authorizes $115 million over five years for NOAA and the regional fishery councils to develop ecosystem-wide plans to protect and sustain fisheries

    • Establishes standards for reducing bycatch and authorizes $55 million over five years to monitor compliance with those standards

    • Creates Individual Fishing Quotas (IFQ) that are equitably allocated and that protect against bycatch, overfishing, and economic harm to local communities


    Improves the Quality of Ocean Water:


    • Requires the establishment of maximum amounts of nutrient runoff pollution that a body of water can hold and still be healthy, taking into account regional conditions and reasonable economic considerations

    • Requires water utilities to establish water treatment standards to remove nutrient pollution

    • Mandates best management practices for agriculture – requiring farmers, to the greatest extent practicable, to take steps to curtail runoff

    • Expedites beach pollution testing and posting; requires public notification and testing of sewer overflows

    • Authorizes $11.2 billion per year in funding for state and local governments to reduce stormwater pollution and to increase monitoring and testing

    • Requires a survey and continuous monitoring of contaminated sediments that are threats to bodies of water, and establishes standards to protect sensitive aquatic species from contaminated sediments


    So far I haven't found the Thomas "S" number. I'll keep working on that, but not today, I have other things I have to do.

    Oh by the way, she (the aide) suggested that we write our congressmen with suggested legislation, and she also said that it was important for people in inland states to get involved too, because so few inland congressmen paid attention to these issues. By the way, you don't have to be of voting age to get involved, no one asks how old you are. It won't be that long before you will be voting, and no congressman or senator wants to alienate future voters.
     
  14. Tintenfisch

    Tintenfisch Architeuthis Staff Member Moderator

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    Seems like they should build in a timeframe for how long coral can be taken at 'raised bycatch levels' before designating an area a CHCZ, given that any more than a couple trawls with high coral bycatch will effectively clean out that area...

    Wonder if the Nebraskan congressmen know anything about this issue... time to get out the old pen. :twisted:
     
  15. sorseress

    sorseress Colossal Squid Supporter

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    How many trawls does it take?

    That's a good point to raise in a letter....along with a number....or better yet, if it at all possible, pictures of what a coral reef looks like after one visit by a bottom trawler, 2 passes, 3 passes, etc. I think it's true that a picture is worth a thousand words, but getting those pictures might be unbelievably difficult. I have no idea of what might be involved, or it's cost.
     
  16. Infusoria

    Infusoria Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Pictures do exist and there is some science out there to back them up. Off the top of my head - work by Koslow et al. off Tasmania ~2001, I have the paper (at uni), it has photos of trawled and untrawled seamounts, which includes photos of trawl damage.

    Just to add something of my own, I've spent most of this year working on the diets of some Grenadier fishes. These fish were taken as bycatch from an orange roughy fishery in NZ. Orange roughy are fished (mostly nowadays) on seamounts through bottom trawling and the damage to these ecosystems is immense. The point I want to make here is that ~70% of the diet of these grenadier fish turns out to be species new to science. That's not me saying err, I don't know what this is - so it must be new; it's me sending off samples to taxonomic experts in Australasia and them saying "it's a new species, or in some cases, it's a new genus".

    We are destroying stuff before we even knew what it was, what it's role in the ecosystem was, what the implications of it not being there anymore are.

    Who are we to say that these species don't matter. :mad:
     
  17. sorseress

    sorseress Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Just so I'm totally clear on this....orange roughy is only caught by bottom trawling, and most of it is taken from deep water seamounts? I would bet that very few people know that, and maybe public awareness could be raised a little bit by showing those pictures to the local fish mongers. Actually I have in mind a bit more drastic action..print them out on glossy paper with a message about devestation of the ocean's ecosystem and taping them to the case in front of the orange roughy.
     
  18. Infusoria

    Infusoria Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Hi,

    Yes that's pretty much true, at least in NZ waters. Orange roughy are found in many places around the world, from the north Atlantic southwards on the mid-Atlantic Ridge, down around Namibia and South Africa, across the southern parts of the Indian Ocean, the bottom of Australia, New Zealand and the southern parts of South America.

    It is true that orange roughy are only caught by bottom trawling today. However, in the early days of the fishery (I should say mine, as it's become pretty clear that this kind of fishing for orange roughy is unsustainable) fishers were able to target large spawning aggregations off the bottom. These aggregations were in the shape of large plumes of almost 100% orange roughy and enabled very high catch rates. This is where the mis-information from fishers comes from: "...our nets fly above the bottom..."; this didn't happen for very long. As these spawning plumes were depleted and fishing gear became more precise (with the advent of better sonar and 'rock-hopping gear') bottom trawling on seamounts became the prefered mode of harvest for orange roughy.

    I can only speak for the NZ situation but work I've read describes similar boom and bust scenarios elsewhere in the world (The orange roughy fishery off Namibia for instance). There has been a sequential stripping of seamounts in NZ waters as fishers move from seamount to seamount in search of orange roughy, always moving further and further away from NZ. It is very sad as the damage that has been done to these environments is essentially permanent in human time scales.
     
  19. sorseress

    sorseress Colossal Squid Supporter

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    I have the pictures :oshea: sent, plus the ones from the web site, plus the ones that were on the bottom trawling website, so I have quite a few Pics that show before and after. Are there any that you know of that have been taken after just one pass? Of course there's the video, and we could send the links to those to congressmen. If they, or their staffers, would watch them it might make a big difference, but there's no guarantee that they would.
     
  20. sorseress

    sorseress Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Thomas S1224

    Finally gained access to the complete act. I tried copying and pasting the url, but it wouldn't work for some reason. To go to the Thomas site :

    http://thomas.loc.gov/

    You're given the option of using the number or words or phrases. Use the number, otherwise you get a ton of unrelated stuff to wade through. The number is :S1224
    I haven't read the entire thing yet, (it's huge) but in Title II Habitat Management, Subtitle A-Management of Coral Habitats it dealt specifically with coral reefs, seamounts, etc. It also contains quite a bit about bottom tending mobile fishing gear. I'm not going to try to copy it, but if you're interested read as much or as little as you want.
    This is our only chance for any legislative action this year, I think. I have no idea where it is in the legislative process, and can't find out until next week, but I'll try to talk with a Boxer staffer and find out. That isn't always easy if you have an out of state area code, but I'll give it a shot. I can also try email.

    If any of you Californians would like to contact her offices, the url for the page that gives all that info is:

    http://boxer.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm#offices

    More later.
     

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