Ocean FAD Articles > Letters to HMS stakeholders

MSC permit holder petition for Ban
20 Nov 2008

Board meeting came to order. Notice given that some 800 Letters to Highly Migratory Species(HMS)  permit stakeholders were sent out. We were told by the NMFS that only app. 350 permits are active. This, letter describing OceanFAD and it's intentions to promote sustainable fishing methods internationally & asking for support, was accompanied with a petition for a "World wide BAN on "High Seas" driftnets. To be continued.

   The board discussed meeting with Senator Barbra Boxer. A motion was made to ask for a meeting. There was a second & passed. Letter was to be drafted and brought to the board for OK.

   Report was given that web site has been delayed on account of "lack of effort"(resources) by John. To be continued.

Motion to Adjourn was second & passed



        To: The United States Congress; the United Nations,

    I, _______________________________________, the owner/operator of the

F/v ________________________________________ am involved in commercial fishing for albacore tuna and hold a Highly Migratory Species permit.  I conduct my fishing operations in both inshore waters and high seas waters (off shore).

   I have caught albacore tuna, or know of albacore tuna being caught by others, with the distinct markings (scratches) of driftnets. I have sighted, or know of others whom have sighted driftnet vessels, during the past 7 years. These driftnet fishing vessels are known to be fishing for albacore tuna and are posing as a direct threat to my fishery. I feel that high seas driftnet fishing continue to deplete the ocean’s “living marine recourses”, including “existing fisheries” such as mine. As stated in the U. S. Code: Title 16, Chapter 38, sub-chapter III, 1826.

   I demand that an immediate Ban on all high seas driftnet fishing be made. I also feel that compensation should be given to help cover the ocean’s loss and mine. Strong actions must be taken against the previous offenders. Congress & the President have failed to include driftnet vessels on any IUU list, or implemented any sanctions on offending countries, as stated in the   U. S. code: Title 16, Chapter 38, sub-chapter III, 1826(a – 1826(i

 No more high seas driftnet fishing, please! Our albacore tuna must be allowed to migrate!


   Sincerely,_____________________________  date_________




To all Highly Migratory Species permit holders, mainly albacore tuna fishermen.

   Greetings! I hope this letter finds you well and your ’08 season was prosperous.

   My name is John Harder, alias John-boy, alias JB. I am a fellow fisherman who started trolling for albacore in the early 80’s. I started fishing on the coast with “Hey Mama”, and then moved off shore with “Warlord”, “Miss Angie”, & “Walloda”. I have always held a deep concern about the high seas driftnet fishery and the threat they impose on our fishery. Driftnets have a detrimental impact on our albacore stocks and the ocean marine environment. Everyone who knows me knows this about me. I have witnessed the destructive impact of the driftnets in the 80’s and again in the last 7 years. I feel driftnets have driven the high seas (off-shore) fleet off the open ocean, putting more pressure on the coastal fishery. The high seas driftnet fishery MUST end. If we want our marine resources and ocean to stay healthy to provide us with a livelihood in the future, we must speak up and act.

   I have stopped fishing to dedicate all my time and efforts towards putting an end to high seas driftnet fishing. I have been to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) twice with my high seas driftnet reports of sightings. I have written to US Congress and the United Nations, and started a non-profit group called Ocean Friends Against Driftnets (OFAD). All this has been on my own accord. If there are changes to be made, it must first come from us, the fishermen. If we do not speak up and exercise our rights, we will lose them.

   Please, stand with me and speak out against our biggest threat to our ocean and our fishery!

   I have included, with this letter, two form letters for you to choose from. If you agree with me, please fill out the letter that best describes your situation, then sign and return it to me in the enclosed envelope. Feel free to add a letter of your own, describing your personal encounter(s) with high seas driftnets and how they have affected you! I ask you to let me represent you in upcoming events with litigation and meetings regarding issues of high seas driftnets. I feel we have an obligation, as a “sustainable tuna fishery”, to help keep our marine resources and the ocean environment healthy. We should make our voices heard and encourage other nations around the world to do as we do. We should demand that our government and the tuna industry stop turning a blind eye to this devastating and destructive fishery. Our future is at stake.

   As of now, we have no voice! Our fishing associations have done little to nothing protect us!

   In the law of Congress – chapter 16, subchapter III, &1826 “Large-scale driftnet fishing” – under Policy (3) it states that Congress “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 EEZ of any nation”. This has failed!!!

   Most importantly, in the same U. S. code, 1826, under (d) “International agreements”, (9) it states the government has an obligation to make sure that “the taking of non-target fish species, marine mammals, sea turtles, sea birds, and endangered species or other species protected by international agreements to which the United States is a party is minimized and does not pose a threat to “existing fisheries” or the long-term health of living marine resources…”

   This means us! We are an “existing fishery” and should be protected just like the sea turtles! The next time they re-write this code, we may not be on it, unless we speak up! As of now, they don’t know we even exist.

   This is also stated in the “Law of the Sea”, which the U. S., sadly, does not even recognize…

   Many changes must be made. We can’t expect help unless we ask for it. “…help those who help themselves”… Why associations like WFOA and AAFA do little to nothing to help protect our fishery, in this regard, is beyond me. We have been misrepresented, in my opinion.

   Please help me help us all! Please sign a letter to make a statement and mail it back to me. I can’t be the only one who truly cares. The public and the politicians need to know we care and stand together in supporting a ban on high seas driftnets.

   If you truly care about what I am doing and want to help even more, I could also use your financial support. I have been working out of my own pocket and could do so much more if I had some funds. Please feel free to donate what you can. I guarantee it will go towards a ban on driftnets and help secure our future in sustainable tuna fishing. Once I receive your check, I will be happy to send a receipt and include our CA tax ID number.

    Please make checks out to:  Ocean Friends Against Driftnets (OFAD)

                                                 P. O. Box 364

                                                 Monterey, CA. 93942


   I thank you dearly, & the Ocean thanks you too!

   Have a safe winter & keep smiling! I’ll see you then, John-boy     Nov. 1st, 2008





John Harder