It has been discovered that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been using funds, which were collected by fining fisherman, to buy expensive cars, lavish boats, and special trips. Senator Chuck Schumer revealed this in a recent NPR Article.
To me, this news comes as quite a surprise. NOAA continues to fine fisherman (and use the money to fund their interests and excursions) while these hard working people continue to toil to provide seafood to the general consumer. Now some would argue against fisherman for over-fishing our waters. Sometimes, illegal fishing methods are used and for these infractions, fines are warranted.
Consider the situation in the Gulf of Mexico. An increasing number of fishing vessels are now required to stop fishing and help with the oil spill clean up. This puts additional pressure on fisherfolk in other areas of the world to produce the requisite amount of fish based on the laws of supply and demand. It is time for NOAA to take a break from over-fining fishermen and start to think globally about the predicament that U.S. fishermen are in at this time. To quote a local legislator in the article, it would be like policemen paying their mortgage using the fines that they collected from speeding tickets. NO-AAA!
Tonight, I wandered over to West Haven to the jetties that typically host a fisherperson or two. Tonight, I came across a dozen on one and two on another. They were all fishing for Scup.
Also known as Porgy, Scup can be found anywhere there are rock formations. Milford and West Haven have plenty of those. But do you know that even with 12 poles in the water, these folks hadn't caught a thing at the time I arrived. We had a brief conversation and I reassured them not to give up as the tide was on its way in.
They were fishing with sandworms, which if you have never seen one, check out the photo at the top! Be careful when thredding these puppies. They do have pincers inside of their mouths!
Today, I was driving around in the high heat thinking about some of the best fishing spots I've experienced. I have to say that the red fishing trip I took with my parents in Tampa Bay tops the list of excursions-de-peche I have ever had.
The experience was cumulative. First, we had to catch some bait. Our guide used a casting net to catch small bait fish and loaded these into his live well. Once we had the requisite amount of bait, our guide tried to get us to hook into some tarpon. There was an area of grove like trees along a waterway (you can actually see the roots of the trees). My mom cast into that area and definitely had a tarpon on. This thing was so strong that it snapped my mom's line.
Next, he took us to a popular flat area that seemed to be frequented by other fishers. Immediately, we caught a redfish. These fish actually have a dime-sized, black dot in their tails. This is a decoy (defense mechanism) against other predatory fish. You see, they approach the redfish thinking that the black dot is their eye when in reality, the dot is on their tail which enables them to sense the vibration of a predator and they are able to escape. You can see the dots in the picture above.