Rich Holland's Blog

Click here for Rich Holland's Bio

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The editors here at WON take turns writing the editorials. It may not surprise you that I wrote the one copied below. What I find frustrating is that our tens of millions of dollars in license and tax money leave us with so little influence, while a handful of millions each year can turn scientists, politicians and lobbyists into puppets when a group like the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation can spend those millions at its own discretion. If you haven't checked out how they do it, the strategy is spelled out on the RLFF Web site.

Meanwhile, what do we do now? One prominent sportfishing figure told me he doesn't expect the closures to be put in place in So Cal because they will be 1) unenforceable due to the lack of funds and/or  2)will be tied up with lawsuits. Failing that, he said, the laws will simply be ignored. When it was pointed out that he himself held to prominent a place to "poach" he replied at first that it was his God-given right to fish and then said no one in the fishing industry would care and he would still have his sponsors.

I know the organizers of the MLPA Initiative have expected violent protest and feared possible harm. It shows in the excess number of wardens at all of the events where sportfishing's various media has asked the  fishing public to attend.  I guess you should be afraid when you are literally stealing from someone else.

At the same time he said he felt like he had the right to break the law because of what was done, the person in question noted that "it could have been worse."

Is it the time for that message? Or did he mean a combination message: There's still a lot of water open to fish, especially since the lines in the water are simply imaginary? If we all fish wherever we want, the already overburdened enforcement  arm of the DFG will be overwhelmed.

We'll see. The one thing we know for sure is we got hosed. As one stakeholder told me at the show, "I feel like a pawn."

Here's the editorial, which belongs in this string of blogs:

Disingenuous is a word with a lot of connotations but a simple definition in Webster’s Dictionary: not straightforward, CRAFTY.

Which makes “disingenuous” the perfect word to describe many of the folks who control the management of resources in the State of California.

Flashback to the Fred Hall Show when the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative process was in its first years, but had already laid the groundwork for massive fisheries with a draft master plan.

Tom Raftican, at that point president of the United Anglers of Southern California, brought recently appointed Fish and Game Commissioner Richard Rogers to a “Sportfishing Leadership” luncheon to speak to anglers and members of the industry before the Hall Show doors opened.

Commissioner Rogers recited chapter and verse from the Science Advisory Team’s Size and Spacing Guidelines in the master plan, speaking as if the guidelines were part of the law, instead of a theoretical structure designed to put as much quality habitat into reserve (no fishing) status.

Rogers and Ryan Broderick, at the time director of the Department of Fish and Game, delivered the message that the sportfishing community had to participate in the MLPA Initiative process — or else face the worst possible scenario of environmentalists given free rein to take away public access to the resource.

They promised that the voice of consumptive resource users would be heard and listened to, and in return, Raftican and other sportfishing leaders agreed to limit as much as possible any protests or obstructionism on the part of irate anglers.

Yes, very crafty. Hindsight shows us the sportfishing community was sold out from the beginning. The process was driven by and answered only to the funding group known as the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation.

Some of the millions spent by the RLFF fell into the pockets of the fishing community and a lot of those millions went to the scientists who made the rules. Promises don’t stand up well to an endless river of cash and many of the principals who made the promises have gone on to lucrative jobs with environmental-oriented non-governmental organizations, while others have formed their own organizations in hopes of sucking at the teat of philanthropic wealth.

One figure still remains — Richard Rogers. He was one of the commissioners who voted last week to kill off the fisherman’s proposal for the South Coast.

In his comments, Rogers complained about personal attacks on those in the process and then noted, “somehow I’ve been drawn into the process, I don’t know how.”
We do.
Reader Comments
Be the first to comment!
Leave a Comment
* Name:
* Email:
Website (optional):
* Comment:

Advertise with Western Outdoor News
The Longfin Tackle Shop