Ocean FAD Articles > Congressman Farr meeting

29 Oct 2008

As we met with our congressman Sam Farr, I John Harder, feel that we, OceanFAD, overwhelmed him. There was a lot on his table. He explained to us his Oceans 11 proposal & we showed him

S.2907 - A bill to establish uniform administrative and enforcement procedures and penalties for the enforcement of the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act and similar statutes, and for other purposes.

He didn't have a lot to say about that, yet he, and his aid Alic, listened very well to our report. They assured us that they would look into this matter, and get back to us. Sam suggested we look for more support. We were hoping that he would look into the USCG reports done back in 05, 07. He told us he would check it out. We thanked Congressman Farr for having the meeting.




Dear Congressman Sam Farr,

   We thank you for meeting with us to discuss “High Seas Driftnets”. We hope you can and will help Ban Driftnets.

  According to TITLE 16> chapter 38> subchapter III, #1826. “Large-scale driftnet fishing”, (c) Policy, (3) it states : “It is declared to be the policy of the Congress in this section that the United States should secure a permanent Ban on the use of destructive fishing practices, and in particular large-scale driftnets, by persons or vessels fishing beyond the exclusive economic zone of any nation.

   What dose this mean to you? This meant to me that congress will strive to eliminate high seas driftnets & I bet my livelihood on it. In 1990,I purchased a high seas vessel to fish albacore in international waters around the Pacific thinking USA was going to protect my fishery. In 1998, I partnered up with another bigger vessel thinking the same thing. No more driftnets. We did well in our international fishery. Fishing was good & we prospered.

Referring back toTITLE 16> chapter 38> subchapter III, #1826. “Large-scale driftnet fishing”,(d) International agreements : it seems to me that congress is making provisions to allow high seas driftnets and not trying to help Ban it at all. Almost like making exceptions to the law! In direct contradiction of (c), (3). What dose this mean?  Is this working towards a ban?

   Going on to TITLE 16> chapter 38> subchapter III #1826. “Large-scale driftnet fishing”, (d) international agreements, (9) states: the taking of non- target fish species, marine mammals, sea turtles, seabirds, and endangered species or other species protected by international agreements to which the United States is a party is minimized and dose not pose a threat to existing fisheries or the long-term health of living marine resources; and…

   I humbly ask am I not part of an existing fishery? Dose Congress not recognize the high seas troll fishery for albacore tuna?

   Is it because we do not have a lot of money and upheld by some lobbyist? Are we to be misrepresented? Are we lower then any of the endangered species covered in this section? If you say yes, then I agree. Save the Turtles, but don’t save me. I am only dust. I only wish Congress would have told me back in 1990 how they regard me and I would have gotten into another line of work.

   If Congress decides to uphold the law to protect existing fisheries, it’s too late. We are extinct! There maybe a chance to save some of the living marine resources, but please do not waist a moment! There time is no longer long-term!

   I have suffered a great loss. I lost 2 houses, 2 boats, my livelihood, my kids are living on welfare & may be going to a foster home, or their grandparents to live. I cannot support them working as a laborer for minimum wage. Worst of all I know the pain and suffering of the Ocean which I call my Home. The ocean is the world to me and to see Her being raped is beyond words. The ocean is not a commodity you can buy and trade. It is SACRED. If you are religious as I am, and know we need to answer to the Lord, I cannot bear the sorrow I feel that I have let Him down…

   I look around and see my fellow fishermen being compensated for their loss in the salmon fishery. Other parts of the world are being compensated for the loss of their driftnet fishery…

   Congressman Farr, I am not the type to ask for a hand-out, or unemployment, or anything. As I submitted my report to WCPFC in 2005, I was asked by the US state department and the Cook Islands delegates, “What do you want”. I simply said “my fishery & ocean back”. In my report, I stated the loss of $2,000,000. Guess what, the association that was kind enough to represent me received $2,000,000 from Japan for travel expenses. I never received a dime, or my fishery, or my ocean back. After barrowing $500,000 to regroup my vessels to try fishing again in 2006, I got more driftnets. Such a reward I did not expect. Again I took a driiftnet report for 2006 to the WCPFC for nothing but vanity.

  I now humbly request the sum of $4,000,000 for my loss & mental anguish. If rewarded, I would secure my family, sending my kids to collage and spend the rest on saving the ocean from driftnets. My dream is to rebuild an international troll fishery for albacore tuna around the world that would benefit all.

   Please Congressman Farr, be the 1st one to ride the wave. Set things right again. The whole world is looking up to USA. I am sorry, but I do not feel too proud of my country at the moment. I feel like a solder left behind enemy lines after they (it) pulled out.

   In regards to TITLE 16> chapter 38> subchapter III #1826a. Denial of port privileges and sanctions for high seas large-scale driftnet fishing, Why are the vessels listed in the report of the secretary of commerce to the congress of the US concerning large-scale high seas driftnet fishing not listed on the IUU list? Why are there no sanctions applied on these countries? Why are there no publications of the companies that owns these vessels?

   I found only one posted results from Canada about China that just came out this year. It’s been 20 years in the making!

  It seems very obvious to me that we are keeping all this driftnet activity in the Pacific out of the media and under the hat. Why? Even the EU came out with findings of illegally caught driftnet fish from the North Pacific on their market. Why not here in the US? Is Chicken of the Sea chicken to admit they sold the US driftnet caught fish? Is Star Kist too in the stars to admit they are feeding our children stolen fish that is NOT dolphin safe? Sorry, but it’s true & the people have a right to know. I surely do not want to be the one to tell them. They don’t want to hear roomers from me. They want the truth from someone they can trust. Would that be you?

   Going on to a bill introduced on 4/24/2008 by Daniel K. Inouye, last action 9/24/2008

 S.2907 – A bill to establish uniform administrative and enforcement procedures and penalties for the enforcement of the high seas driftnet fishing Moratorium Protection Act and similar statutes, and for other purposes. It reads to: Authorizes establishment of an international cooperation and assistance program, including grants, to support international capacity building.

   If this bill ever becomes a law, We at OFAD would like the chance to help enforce a ban, report driftnet activity, and build international relations with countries interested in a sustainable fishery for albacore tuna. We, at OFAD, strongly believe that once the driftnet vessels start trolling, they will not return to driftnets! We would aid and assist in all ways to make this happen. I am sure Congress had more of an enforcement action in mind, but building a sustainable fishery will be needed to fill some of the enormous void created by the lack of driftnet fish.


   In conclusion, Congressman Farr, if you are wondering what you can do for us.

1)      Reward John Harder $4,000,000 as compensation for loss of fishery & livelihood. Starting from 2001 – 2008.

2)      Push for immediate BAN on high seas driftnets

3)      Immediate listing of all IUU vessels named in the reports to congress of 05, 06, 07 to go on official IUU list (black list).

4)      Please, request for all pictures and detailed report of driftnets sited on October 13th – 14th ( and next flight after) , of 2005 made by U.S.C.G. 17th district. Juneau, Alaska. There was a fly-by done and John Harder, owner of f/v WALLODA & f/v MISS ANGIE, would like the full report for his records. According to the WCPFC of 05, vessels were Japanese, that were sold to Taiwan, but never changed there documentation #’s ( markings). John may want to bring them up on charges, if possible.

5)      A grant to OFAD to help establish international assistance in eliminating driftnets and rebuilding a sustainable albacore tuna fishery.

   I know it sounds and is asking for a lot, but it is not for us, it is for the Ocean. This is nothing compared to what has been taken. Thank you dearly for your time.

   Sincerely, Ocean Friends Against Driftnets






John Harder