Outcome of the Ocean FAD Awarness Party
31 May 2011
Petition for World-Wide BAN on High Seas driftnets
Wow we had a party all week! To start with, Ocean Joy was flying Her banners for all to see on Hwy. 1 just north of the Moss Landing PG&E plant. The new Harbor visitor dock has been taken over by the Sea Lions and we thought we would Join in on their protest. After all, They, along with all kinds of Sea Animals and creatures, are to benefit most by Banning driftnets!
A few people stopped by to sign the petition along with adding comments on how terrible driftnets are. Many just had no idea that driftnets still exist here in California. People are shocked to here! By mid day, we started the BBQ. We prepared Albacore Tuna wrapped in bacon, together with seasoned Albacore Tuna loins, but 1st, we better check the smoker... Looks good!!!
By 6 pm we had the BBQ blazing and friends and family started showing up. We served around 40 guests with much to eat. People signed our petition and bought T shits for 25$ a piece. After shrimp cocktail and smoked tuna orderves, we served a light salad with marinated and seasoned tuna loins. Albacore tuna chunks wrapped in bacon smothered in BBQ sauce was a big hit. Then there was a big beautiful cake for desert.
Many of us had on our new Ocean FAD T-shirts. Waves of Blue-Green moved about the room as Friends got up to refill their glasses from the bar next door, and settle in. It was time for my talk.
I started out by thanking everyone for coming to our fundraiser/ awareness dinner, and began sharing my resent visit to Seychelles Islands and their problems involving Somalia Pirates. I explained that we fishermen, right here on the West Coast, are feeling the effects of pirate fishing also. The only difference is I am not hi-jacking a love boat off the coast of Southern CA. and holing 4,000 people hostage, nor am I launching a missal strait into the USS Midway, killing 300 guests for dinner. I would not hold up a surer tanker off the West Coast. I am NOT a terrorist! I believe in peace on earth. "That is why I am speaking to all you good people tonight".
I went on to say, that We, the people in Monterey Bay California, live in a over managed, highly regulated and highly enforced social environment. We have a sanctuary right here off our coast in which no fishing is allowed. Yet California law permits CA. fishermen to set driftnets just out side the sanctuary boarders preventing fish to enter the sanctuary area. Some friends, not knowing this, looked shocked.
I asked the question, "How many knew that California was the only state on the west coast that allowed driftnet ting for Highly Migratory Species (HMS)?" Not many hands went up.
I went on to explain how some of our local fishermen are allowed to fish for swordfish with driftnets, but have lots of restrictions regarding how long, how deep, marked with beacons' etc. on their nets. That many times it was hardly worth the effort.
I went on to say that, many countries in the world will NOT hold to these restrictions, and there is little to no enforcement to stop them. Some countries there isn't even a government in power. Most of the countries that share our Pacific Ocean look up to California and do as we do. Allowing driftnet fishing is not setting a good example.
I then showed a picture display of the Albacore Tuna I had recently caught from last summer. The Tuna were scared and scratched from falling out, or going threw a driftnet that I had later caught with our "jigs".
I told the story of how our "off-shore" Albacore Troll fleet has been detecting and sighting these pirate vessels since 2002 with reports to the National Marine Fisheries Service and how we could no longer survive in the fishery. That all the big "off-shore" vessels are now fishing close to the west coast and still continue to catch less and less.
Then I told my friends that in a way I was glad not to see the devastation that goes with driftnets anymore. That it tears me up inside to look at the dead whales floating by, the dolphins and killer whales acting funny and disturbed. How the Ocean Life is barren after the driftnets go by. But then I remember that it is still happening, so I try to do something to stop it. That it is sooooooo Not Right!
I paused for a bit as to regain myself and not bring down the mood. Then I asked if there were any questions.
A lady asked if the swordfish she purchased, from a local fish market, caught from driftnets.
I told her that if it was caught here locally, then yes. But if it was imported from Mexico, then "no", because Mexico uses the "Long-Line" method with hooks and line, to catch their swordfish, and is a fare more sustainable method of fishing.
A good question came from a gentleman in the gathering, "What is sustainable and what makes "Pole & Troll" so sustainable?"
I answered back, That the meaning of sustainable is a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.
That the US "Pole and Troll" method of fishing has under gone an extensive study done by a reputable company named Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) that determines if we have precautionary measures in place to keep from exploiting our resources. It also looks at the by-catch rate, and other aspects that may indivertibly effect the natural environment and so on. That the fishery is the 1st and only Tuna fishery that holds such certification.
The fishery has next to "0" by-catch so there is no waist, is highly selective as to not catch any other species incidentally. Unlike Purse Seine nets that dump hundreds of tons back into the sea that are dead.
Somebody asked me, "why don't we do 'Long-line?"
I told them "Good question! I don't know except because of propaganda."
I answered a whole range of questions from "have I ever gone threw a hurricane?, to how far do I go to fish?"
I shared some of my adventures at sea, then explained to the group that I will be the last of a three generation heritage of "Troll" fishing for Albacore Tuna on the West Coast, if nothing is done to Ban driftnets.
That is to say, my sons will not be able to fish for Albacore Tuna, as I have.
I went on to say how my Grandfather, after fighting in World War II in the Solomon Islands, returned to the West Coast to "Troll" for Salmon and Albacore. He then made Monterey Bay his/our home, bringing the art of "Trolling" with him and his colleges. He was well aware of the art of gill net fishing, as he came from the Colombia River where gillnets are used to catch Salmon. Instead, he chose to "Troll". My grandfather was a wise man and cared for the environment. He taught me "Never take more than the Ocean will give!" I was too young, at the time, to fully understand what he was saying, but I do now. It has a lot to do with greed. Many of our ancestors tried to warn us and point us in the right direction. It is up to us to follow it.
I got an applause from my friends and we started our raffle as the band got set up to play the night away.
There was dancing and small talk for some time. Slowly people started heading for home and said "good night".
I announced that we had received over $4,000.00 in donations, for the night, and thanked everyone from the bottom of my heart. I thanked the crowd for making our dinner a success
Captain John Harder