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Fluke Season on the Chopping Block Again In This Issue:


Spring 2014/Volume 3, Issue 1


Making Waves Summer 2015



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t’s been a challenging summer for the staff at the RFA. There are so many issues to deal with and not enough people and funding to go around, but we’re working hard to cover the bases and placing emphasis on those that are most pressing. Top of the list remains fixing the Magnuson Stevens Act—the nation’s federal fishery legislation. The RFA is working with the broadest coalition of industry and recreational fishing organizations ever assembled lobbying Congress to pass House Bill H.R. 1335. It isn’t perfect, but it addresses the majority of the provisions in the current legislation that have hampered the ability of recreational fishermen to take advantage of the rebuilding and rebuilt fish stocks in a fair and equitable manner. This has been something the RFA has been working on since the last reauthorization in 2007, but we’ve got lots of company now. Today we have support from numerous angler organizations and from across the marine and tackle industries and everyone is pulling in the same direction for a change, but it is still a difficult lift in the current legislative environment in D.C. We are keeping the pressure on!


Red snapper remains a constant thorn in the side of our Gulf region members and things in the South Atlantic are no better. Knee jerk reaction to a single stock assessment variable concerning summer flounder (fluke) in the Mid Atlantic has scientists and managers at the Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council calling for a 29% reduction in the quota for 2016 and subsequent years, which has anglers scratching their heads and the for-hire sector wondering who will buy their boats when they are finally forced out of business. Ah, but there is good news too. The RFA’s new North Carolina Chapter is not only up and running but fielding lobbyists in Raleigh where there has never been recognizable recreational representation of any kind on a state level. Could the free reign of the commercial industry be coming to an end? Our guys making serious headway. There is also a new chapter in Connecticut that is making waves and watch for information about a start up chapter in Northeastern Florida, too. Stay tuned.

From the Publisher’s Desk


Executive Director’s Report: Industry Calls on Congress for MSA Reform


Win a Hot Fish Boat! Contender/Yamaha Boat Raffle Heats Up


Why We Fish There are more reasons than you think.


RFA Issues & News: Fisheries related stories and releases.


Gray Taxidermy Fish Tag Project Open to Angler Participation


NOAA/NMFS and the Saga of the “Missing” Gulf of Maine Codfish


Trouble with Ethanol New Mandates Mean Big Trouble for Boat Owners and Industry


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Executive Director’s Report Sportfishing Industry Calls on Congress for Pragmatic Magnuson Reform By Jim Donofrio


acked by the largest coalition of sportfish angling groups in the nation, the NMMA and the ASA are supporting tenets of the recently passed US House Resources Bill H.R.1335. H.R. 1335, if passed, will allow greater flexibility in dealing with healthy stocks. Also, this bill will help improve the data collection process for our sector, which is one of the main issues facing our sector. Magnuson was successful in rebuilding many fish stocks, but management flaws in the existing law restrict angler access to healthy, robust fisheries. Our critics in the “environmental industry” claim we are over fishing primary recreational fisheries. That claim is misleading because these same groups, who oppose pragmatic Magnuson reform,

supported the current language in Magnuson that creates statutory over fishing. This means we are not over fishing biologically and hurting the stock. These “traps” in the law were supported by Congress and many groups during the 2005 Magnuson Reauthorization accepted the bill as written. The Senate at the time voted for the bill by unanimous consent which means most of the senators never read the bill. These same environmental groups have been working hard over the last twenty years to make our access far more restrictive than what is necessary to have rebuilding, conservation, and access. Their long term goal was always to get us off the water. They failed miserably in trying to set up blanket marine nofishing zones in the ocean.

Their reaction was to craft language that sounded like science and have it implemented in the 2005 bill. Congress helped them make it happen. Now the US Congress needs to wake up and near the united voices of the US sportfishing industry, its anglers, and all of our jobs and support the provisions in H.R. 1335. These provisions will allow continued access and conservation without sacrificing rebuilding. In closing, our entire recreational fishing industry – every manufacturer, every boat motor dealer, every tackle store, every marina, and anyone making a living from recreational fishing needs to contact US Senators Bill Nelson(D-FL), Marco Rubio(R-FL), Cory Booker(D-NJ), Dan Sullivan(R-AK), and his own two senators and let them know we need their help now.

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Making Waves Summer 2015

he Recreational Fishing Alliance is pleased to announce an exciting fundraiser that gives you the opportunity to support the RFA with a modest donation and get a shot at winning an awesome prize—a Contender 22 Sport center console fishing boat powered by a Yamaha F300 outboard riding on an AmeraTrail custom aluminum trailer valued at over $85,000!

center console, has a classy ice-blue hull and a custom embroidered cushion package, a deluxe T -top with rod holders, a leaning post and the famous Contender ride. It’s powered by a Yamaha F300 four-stroke outboard, Yamaha’s top-of-theline V6. The combination of hull and engine is blazing fast and the ideal package to provide a quick ride to the fish.

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer tickets to win this beautiful Contender/Yamaha fishing package as part of our fundraising efforts for 2015,” said Jim Donofrio, RFA Executive Director. “We would like to thank our friends at Contender Boats, Yamaha Outboards and AmeraTrail Trailers for helping make this raffle possible.

The winner will be towing his boat in style on the best trailer in the industry, a custom AmeraTrail dual-axle aluminum drive on trailer with mag wheels. All AmeraTrail aluminum boat trailer feature heavy aluminum I-beam construction, aluminum cross braces, aluminum bunk brackets, galvanized torsion axles and hubs with super-lube removable spindles.

The prize boat, Contender’s brand new 22’ Sport

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You can buy tickets NOW through a special page on the RFA website (www.JOINRFA.org/ win-a-22-contender. Single tickets cost $25 or you can increase your chances to win and your donation to the RFA by purchasing tickets in blocks of five for $100 per five pack. The site accepts credit cards and PayPal payments. Ticket stubs will be mailed when you purchase online. You could be heading to the fishing grounds in a new Contender 22 Sport If you would like to obtain bulk tickets for for a modest donation to the Recreational Fishing Alliance. club meetings or events please contact the RFA office at 888-JOIN They simply tear off the stub and send the reRFA for details. We will send you a package that maining portion of the ticket to the RFA, P.O. Box you can distribute to members who wish to enter. 3080, New Gretna, NJ 08824 along with a check for the tickets. Remember, the RFA is a political action organization with a 19 year track record of working to protect your right to fish. Its mission is to safeguard the rights of saltwater anglers, protect marine, boat and tackle industry jobs and ensure the long-term sustainability of U.S. saltwater fisheries. Now more than ever the RFA needs the support of a growing grassroots army of anglers and this raffle is a fun way to make a donation and take a chance at winning an amazing prize! All proceeds from the raffle benefit the Recreational Fishing Alliance (Registration Identification: 22-5-39533 RL# 3957-2015). The drawing will be held on February 20, 2016 at the New Jersey Boat Expo in Edison, NJ. You must be 21 years of age to win and all applicable taxes are the responsibility of the winner. If gambling is a problem for you or someone in your family dial 1-800-GAMBLER. To learn more about the RFA and to join go to www.joinrfa.org.

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WHY WE FISH By Gary Caputi Editor’s note: The following article first appeared in the print version of Making Waves in late

2004. At the time it was hailed for presenting a portrait of what fishing means to the millions of anglers here in the United States. Over ten years later it seems it could have been written just yesterday. Recreational fishing has never been in more peril than it is today as an entrenched federal bureaucracy continues to mismanage public resources and deny access to the very public who vested them with rebuilding troubled fisheries and protecting public access to them.


hile sitting at the dinner table recently, my wife asked me a question and I didn’t respond. “Are you someplace else?” she asked, a little miffed over being ignored. I apologized and explained that my mind was miles away thinking about the spots I was planning to fish the next day. I realized not only had I not heard the conversation around the table, but I had been rushing through the meal so I could get online to check the tides and marine forecast and then get my gear together. I really wanted to go fishing. In fact, I needed to go! It had been over a week and it felt like I was experiencing symptoms of withdrawal. The ocean was beckoning, and when it does, I am hard pressed not to answer the call.

year and even more fish in freshwater. The total number is pushing 35 million people, making it the most popular par ticipation sport in the nation. Fishing is deeply woven into the fabric of our society in much the same way freedom has been the cornerstone of this nation’s existence. In fact, personal freedom is a perfect analogy for recreational fishing. I know I never feel as free as when I am on the water fishing. That might be one of the biggest attractions fishing has for many people, but there’s a lot more to it.

You could surmise that one of the reasons fishing is so ingrained in our society is that we are descendants of hunter/gatherers. For thousands of years our ancestors lived off what the earth and sea providMy wife’s interruption of my ed and fish were always a staple of thought process started me think- their diet. Entire cultures developed ing about why I, why we, fish. around the sea, which encouraged What is it about fishing that makes trade, but also provided food for it such a popular sport and pastime expanding populations. Today we for so many millions of Americans? are a modern, urbanized species The most recent demographic sur- living in close proximity to millions veys indicate about 11 million of other people. Fishing is a throwAmericans fishing in saltwater each back to earlier, simpler times when

most of the day was spent in a quest for sustenance rather than a quest for the almighty dollar. Could the act of fishing be a response to primal urges that remains ingrained in our very DNA? That could be, but when you examine how differently people fish today more questions arise. To some fishing is a very visceral thing that is not complete without putting food on the table. To others, it is the ultimate expression of using intellect to catch a wild creature and that is the end to it as they happily release the fish back into its natural habitat after the encounter. The more you examine what drives people to fish and what they derive from the experience the more reasons you find. I know that few things in life leave me with such a deep feeling of serenity as being on the water on a beautiful morning, watching the sun rise over the horizon. Observing the birth of a new day as if it is materializing from the depths of the sea itself stirs my soul, although I know I would not enjoy it half as much if I were not there to fish. Many people love boats, but to

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fishermen like me a boat is simply a conveyance to get to the fish, nothing more than a means to an end. If it wasn’t for fishing I would sell my boat tomorrow and be done with it. But the lure and lore of the sea is an intrinsic part of fishing that for saltwater anglers is simply hard to describe.

Making Waves Summer 2015

more casual angler, who is less con- some of nature’s bounty in this cerned with catching the most or manner and it is something that the biggest still enjoys fishing at some of the “sportsmen” among us whatever level of involvement his sometime forget. Catch and release or hers available time and desire is great, I do it all the time, but for dictate. Fishing can be an increditime immemorial fishing has always bly complex undertaking or as sim- involved eating and that is someple as walking down to the beach, thing that should never be lost. casting a hook with a clam on it Still other anglers enjoy competiinto the surf and sitting in a beach Fishing embodies the challenge of tion and there is certainly enough chair until something happens tempting a wild creature to strike a to go around with all the fishing along. manmade lure or a baited hook tournaments held each year and anyone who thinks that isn’t a Maybe you fish because you like to around the country. From local, challenge has never done it before. eat fresh fish as much as you enjoy friendly affairs, to club and interThere are club conso many tests, to big facets to a money successful events that fishing trip, rival more not the traditional least of sporting which is events in acquiring popularity, the media attenknowledge tion and about the earning pofish you tential. Fishwant to ing can be catch so as competiyou can try tive as you and outwant it to be guess and to comthem, is a plete at the life’s study top levels of in itself. tournament Where do fishing rethey come quires a sigFishing means different things to different people be the challenge of pursing gamefish from and nificant inwith fly rod, surfcasting from a rocky beach or fishing offshore waters . We all share a where do vestment in common bond as recreational fishermen and must learn to stand up and fight together to they go? time and protect our right to fish and our common heritage. What are money, plus they feedthe ing on and what conditions enthe act of fishing. There simply isn’t knowledge and experience that a courage them to feed? A good fish- another way to get fresher fish necessity to make you competitive. erman knows a little about fish biol- than catching them yourself. That There are a lot of people who go ogy, physiology, marine habitat, probably goes back to the hunter/ fishing from the shore or on party tides, currents, season migrations, gatherer theory because there is boats for the purpose of catching predator-prey relationships and something about eating a tasty critfood. Fishing can be an affordable more and it all comes into play. The ter that you managed to put on the pastime that has the added benefit real hardcore among us study table without the help of the local of providing people of limited these things with great intensity supermarket that makes the meal means with food for themselves and use the knowledge to improve all the better. There is certainly and their families. While I hesitate our chances of fishing success. The nothing wrong with harvesting

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to use the term “subsistence fishermen” even today there are many thousands of people who fish to eat. Venture down to the docks in any party boat port and check out the mix of people getting on the boats going bottom fishing. Or check out the folks fishing from bridges or crabbing from docks or small rowboats in backwater areas. You’ll find people of various races, ethnic backgrounds and income levels all there because they like to catch fish to eat. They are more constrained today by bag and size limits and closed seasons than ever before and those regulations hurt the fishermen among us the most who can afford it the least! Many still come, but when regulations reach the point that they can no longer justify the minimal expense to go fishing by bringing home a reasonable amount of fish for the table, they will come no more.

fy the minimal expense to go fishing by bringing home a reasonable amount of fish for the table, they will come no more.

There are so many reasons people fish and, in reality, most anglers, when asked, would probably give you several reasons by way of justi-

There are so many reasons people fish and, in reality, most anglers, when asked, would probably give you several reasons by way of ex-

plaining their participation. They are all good reasons, but you can sort of boil it down to this—fishing provides nourishment for the body and the spirit. It is something precious that future generations deserve to enjoy, just like you and I. Recreational fishing is an activity worth protecting and that is why you are probably reading this newsletter and are a member of the Recreational Fishing Alliance. It is a part of our past, present and should be a part of our future, the very reason the RFA exists. The socioeconomic benefits it provides are precious and cry out to be protected.

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RFA Issues & News

Each news item includes corresponding hyperlinks. For more information, simply click on the link to read the release in its entirety. Raymond Bogan, RFA General Counsel, Appointed as ICCAT Commissioner The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the alternate appointment of Raymond Bogan as US Commissioner to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). Under the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA), the United States is represented by three Commissioners (one from the government, one with knowledge of commercial fisheries, and one with knowledge of recreational fisheries). As authorized under ATCA, the Department of State has appointed Mr. Raymond D. Bogan, long serving RFA General Counsel, in an Alternate status; he will serve as the U.S. Commissioner representing recreational interests until a Presidential appointment is made. Mr. Bogan is a lifelong recreational fisherman and practicing attorney from New Jersey whose clients include party and charterboat operators, bait and tackle dealers, and other associated marine businesses. He has served on the ICCAT Advisory Committee for more than two decades and is well-versed in the ICCAT process and the issues of concern to U.S recreational fishermen in Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS) fisheries.

The EPA held a public comment period through the end of July with the final rule to be released in the coming months. RFA has partnered with the National Marine Manufactures Association on this issue and followed their lead. “NMMA has thoroughly researched the use of ethanol in fuel and its impact on boat component and engines and it is clear that E15 fuel stands to have a significant impact on marine engines”, explained RFA Executive Director Jim Donofrio. “RFA will be keeping its members up to date on the pending fuel and encourage them to weigh-in through the action campaigns created by the National Marine Manufacturers Association.”

Still Opportunities to Fish a Summer Tournament that Support the RFA

The 8th Annual Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh Fluke Tournament will be held on August 15. With $10,000 in prizes based on 150 boats, landing a doormat could be a very lucrative way to spend a Saturday in August. Immediately following the tournament is a huge picnic at Headliners in Neptune. The Shillelagh has grown leaps and bounds in recent years as one of the most popular inshore tourna"Raymond's personal experience , knowledge and devotion ments on the Jersey Shore. For more information visit to our fishermen and the recreational industry will make him www.fsosbelmar.com . a very effective commissioner for our sector," expressed RFA Executive Director Jim Donofrio.

RFA Watching EPA Rule on Increasing Ethanol The EPA has announced its plan to increase ethanol volume requirements which will push the total ethanol volumes to record highs. Industry projections estimate that as soon as next year the so-called "blend wall" will break. This means more and more ethanol will be on the market, and ethanolfree fuel will be harder to find. This is a significant danger for marine engines which are not designed or legally allowed to run on higher blends of ethanol, like E15. Anglers and boat owners should be concerned about the potential damage that E15 can cause to engines and fuel system components.

The 24th Mid -Atlantic $500,000 will be held at the Canyon Club in Cape May, NJ and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland on August 16 through 21, 2015. The Mid-Atlantic is well-known as the World's Richest Marlin and Tuna Tournament with more than $2.4 million paid out to contestants in 2014. The Mid-Atlantic $500,000 takes place from two ports with RFA staff and volunteers at both locations. This tournament is internationally known for it great fishing, hospitality and camaraderie and is a must attend event for competitive billfish anglers. Click here for more information on the Mid Atlantic $500,000, http://midatlantic500000.com/ Closing out the unofficial end of the summer is the Manasquan River Marlin and Tuna Club 35th Annual Offshore Open running from August 29th through September 6th. The 9-fishing days tournament kicks off with a Captain's meeting at the Crystal Point Yacht Club on August 28th.

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Daily weigh-ins will take place at Brielle Yacht Club. More “We’ve been fortunate to have many fishermen join the information on the Manasquan River Offshore Open can be RFA and volunteer to get more deeply involved in local, regional and federal management issues,” Donofrio continfound by clicking here, http://mrmtc.com/offshoreopen ued, “and Adam has been one of the strongest advocates Don't forget about the Contender Raffle currently underfor recreational fishing. We couldn’t be more pleased to see way. The drawing for the 22' Sport Center Counsel Conhim step into this important role on the regional and federal tender with a 300hp Yamaha engine and AmeraTrail vallevel.” ued at $85,000 will take place in February 2016. Buy your tickets now and next year you could be fishing one of these Also appointed to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council was long-time RFA support, Captain Andy Mezirow. tournaments in your new Contender!!! Andy is the owner/operator of Cracker Jack Sportfishing based out of Seward, AK. He has been running charters out of Alaska for salmon, halibut, and ling for the past 25 years.

RFA-NJ Chapter Vice Chair Appointed to Regional Fishery Management Council

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Commerce Department announced the appointment of 30 new and returning members to the eight regional fishery management councils that partner with NOAA Fisheries to manage ocean fish stocks. The Recreational Fishing Alliance applauds the appointment of long-time RFA member, charter captain and fisheries activist Capt. Adam Nowalsky to the obligatory seat from his home state of New Jersey.

Vote To Torpedo Recreational Fishing Community: Council and Commission Turn Deaf Ear to Floundering Industry

“Adam joined the RFA about ten years ago and immediately wanted to get more involved with the management process,” said Jim Donofrio, RFA executive director. “He helped revitalize the RFA New Jersey Chapter serving as its chairman for a number of years. He has provided written and verbal testimony on fisheries management issues for both the state chapter and national RFA and represented both at the NJ Senate and Assembly legislative hearings. He was also heavily involved in the Save the Summer Flounder Fishery Fund as a founding member and member of the board of directors. His knowledge and insight are just what the fishermen of New Jersey have needed on the Mid Atlantic Council.”

"Kaelin's motion, which was consistent with RFA's position, to use the higher threshold Overfishing Limit (OFL) of 18.06 million pounds rather than the lower Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) number of 16.26 million pounds was a sound, solid compromise, but the system failed the community," said Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA). "The Council and Commission ignored the fishing community and cost anglers more than a million pounds of fluke next season and up to a month of fishing season."

New Gretna, NJ - After 3-1/2 hours of discussion and debate on August 12th, the Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) voted in favor of a 29% reduction in the Adam has been a saltwater fisherman since childhood. He summer flounder quota for both the commercial and recregrew up fishing Raritan Bay and Sandy Hook in his forma- ational sector starting in 2016. tive years and later moved to the southern area of the state Regrettably, a motion made by New Jersey Council reprewhere he worked in local tackle shops, earned money for sentative Jeff Kaelin of Cape May that would've lessened college as a deckhand on local party and charter boats and the impact of the overall reduction was defeated when 12 later started his own charter business. He has been running members voted in opposition to a measure that would've his custom built Downeaster, the Karen Ann II, from ports led to a smaller, 20% overall reduction. Only five voting along the South Jersey shoreline for the past 15 years earn- members supported the motion made by Kaelin, including ing a reputation as a knowledgeable captain, a conserva- all of the New Jersey representatives and one North Carolitionist and fisheries activist. na representative.

Nowalsky’s fisheries credentials are impressive. Since 2010 he has been the legislative proxy for the Chair of the NJ Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission; an industry advisor for the Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council; an advisor to the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council and served as chairman of the Recreational Fishing Alliance NJ Chapter. His quiet demeanor and even temperament, backed up by a willingness to fight hard for both the resource and fishermen, will be beneficial to the Council process at a time when there are many challenges facing it.

Donofrio said New York anglers are going to be maddest of all to learn that all voting members from their state opposed the Kaelin amendment. Full-time Norcross Wildlife Foundation grants administrator John McMurray, along with New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) staffer Jim Gilmore both voted against the less restrictive measure, while fellow New York Council members Tony DiLernia and Laurie Nolan each refrained from voting on the amendment. "These members just torpedoed the struggling recreational fishing industry, the socioeconomic pain in 2016 is going to be significant," Donofrio said. "It's frustrating to me to see Council members like Mr. McMurray who takes part-time work in the sportfishing industry writing for On the Water

Page 18 magazine, while influencing Congress against the very same industry as a board member for the Marine Fish Conservation Network. For our local fishing community, it's disheartening." Donofrio said he's been inundated with phone calls from New York anglers and business owners asking why the NYDEC would vote against the less restrictive measure. "We thought Governor Cuomo and his staff was in tune to what's happening in our New York fishing community," Donofrio said, adding "what's really troubling is why Capt. Dilernia didn't step up and vote for the measure. I'm sure if he had really wanted to help the community, he and Councilor Nolan could've improved our chances greatly of getting the lesser cut by helping lead the charge." The secondary motion for deeper, 29% cutbacks in the 2016 through 2018 seasons was approved by a vote of 17 to 3. The New York City vote last week will reduce the recreational fishing quota to 5.42 million pounds of summer flounder in 2016, significantly down from the 2015 allowance of 7.38 million pounds in the recreational sector. With this 'phased' reduction the 2017 recreational harvest limit will be set at 5.82 million pounds, and is expected to drop again in 2018 to just 5.26 million pounds. Donofrio said debate and discussion will get especially heated in the coming months as ASMFC representatives and Council members alike begin to learn what these cutbacks will really mean in terms of season, size and bag limits

Making Waves Summer 2015 for 2016 and beyond. "We're looking at losing weeks, perhaps even a month of fluke fishing season next year, on a rebuilt fish stock, go figure."

Watch These Pages and Our Website for more Breaking RFA News!

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RFA friends and supporters at Gray Taxidermy have a fascinating new tagging project that some of you can participate in. Read all about it here.

world. It connects professional fishermen with the scientific communiGray FishTag Research is a new, ty, which is desperate for relevant non-profit, international, and fully data. Results are expected to prointeractive fish tagging program vide biologists and scientists with powered by the world’s largest netvaluable information on migration work of fishing professionals -patterns, growth rates, and more. some 10,000 charter boat captains “The idea has been brewing here at and mates. Gray Taxidermy for several years,” The program is designed to collect says Jonas Masreliez, who heads up information in real-time to produce the marketing aspects of the provaluable scientific data directly from gram. “We finally put it into motion. fishermen in every part of the By Capt. Barry Gibson

We felt we had a good platform, the charter fishing industry that we were well familiar with, and believed we could take advantage of that. Other non-profits are involved with tagging, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of data available to the public. We wanted to change that. We built a web site like a blog, and we provide the information we get to the public, for free. That’s why we’re different.”

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“We’ve come up with what we believe is the state of the art fish tagging program,” explains Bill Dobbelaer, the program’s director. “We got involved in this because our good friends from the scientific community have always complained about --and struggled for -actual useable data. Working within the charter boat industry for over 50 years, we were already communicating with some of the best professional fishermen on earth, in every ocean, catching and releasing every species. What makes this so exciting is that we finally can be instrumental in providing the products -- the tags, the sticks -- and allow these scientists who are so desperate for information to have a platform to get it.” One of the really exciting things

about the Gray’s program is not just the scientific involvement and planning process, but also the involvement of the charter captains and the charter fishery,” says David W. Kerstetter, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Nova Southeastern University. “It’s not going to be an individual angler base, it’s going to be organized around that charter fleet. That sort of organization and structure should really increase the rate of tag returns, which provides more information for us, the scientists.” “Building this organization through the charter boat industry allows the scientists to reach specific species, target these species, and get up and running, because these are the pros who fish between 200 and 300 days per year. Not only are they now able to put tags in specif-

ic fish in specific markets, but they’re able to watch migrations from different areas.” continued Dobbelaer. “I think having these concentrated efforts in the localized regions, whether it’s Los Suenos or La Paz, or here in South Forida, should really increase the rate or returns, and provide a better understanding of the local movements of these fish,” said Kertetter. “And the goal is to see just how many different fish and different species can be tagged, and then we believe the number of recoveries will be much greater, said Doebbelaer. “Our network is vast, because we’re not counting on the recreational or weekend fisherman to try and get involved in the program.

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The tags themselves are pretty standardized over the past 50 years,” explains Kerstetter. “They contain the return information, and have a short piece of nylon monofilament and a little tag head. It’s designed as an intramuscular tag, which goes right in the dorsal muscle just below the dorsal fin. They don’t present any problems for the fish, they don’t add any drag, We’ve had fish tagged for 15 years that have not shown any obvious signs of infection. It’s a pretty harmless way to actually mark a fish.” Dobbelear stresses that the information generated is key. “We are proud to present this program because we feel scientists are desperate for this type of approach, and they’ve agreed to give us the conclusions that, as fishermen, we all want. We want relevant fishery studies, things that will teach us to catch more fish. And the customers that fish on the charter boats are also extremely intrigued by the research and the interaction with these fish,” he said. The potential of this is pretty broad reaching, but what really excites me is the participation by the charter customers themselves,” added Kerstetter. “So that’s opening doors between fishery managers and scientists who love these species, and us who are fishermen who want them for our grandkids, as well as getting these people involved in it and educating them about the species,” continued Dobbelaer. One of the nice things about this program is that all the data will be accessible to the scientists, the general public, and the fishermen, explains Arthur J. Mariano, Professor of Oceanography at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric

Making Waves Summer 2015

Sciences. “The recreational angler will be able to go out with a charter boat captain, tag a fish, name that fish, and get into the loop of research.

just aren’t many fishery scientists out there, so anything the fishery can do, whether it’s charter customers or even private-boat recreational anglers, to contribute back to the information base that we need “When we can bridge the link befor these species is important. I tween scientist and pro fisherman, think it’s very exciting, and I enwe put those guys together in a courage everybody to participate. way that will create constant data,” Here’s your opportunity to really says Dobbelaer. And Mariano is make a difference in helping proexcited about the tag return rate. “I tect the species we all fish for.” Although tagging materials are provided to charter operators for free, individual anglers can also become involved on their own boats. A starter kit which includes an AFTCO tag stick, six standard tags, and six research report cards can be purchased for $119.99 by calling (844) 824-8353. One of the best aspects of Gray FishTag Research is their web site, which is loaded with all sorts of information. Here you can register a tag recovery should you catch a tagged fish, for which you’ll receive an Official Tag Recovery Certificate. You can check on the latest fish that have been tagged via the Live Tag Feed, look at Tagging Maps, view videos, purchase program apparel, and request tagging data from On-Site Research Scientist Travis Moore. think the Gray Fishtag program will “The request can come from anyprovide a recapture rate that will one, an individual or organization,” be double or perhaps triple, bringsays Moore. “We’ll analyze the releing us a wealth of information,” he vant data, and package it up into a said. report. And well do it for free” “Give the fishermen what they The Gray FishTag Research Prowant for free, allow the corporate gram will undoubtedly prove to be sponsors to pay the bill, and everyan essential tool for promoting the one wins. The scientists will get conservation of marine game fish what they need, and this is a truly and increasing public awareness. collaborative effort. I’m just proud This initiative will produce real-time to be a part of it,” continued Dobdata which will be available, and belaer. guarantee a hands-on effort for Kerstetter summed it up this was: real conservation at the point of “When it comes down to it, there catch -- not after the fact.

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Making Waves Summer 2015

Update on NOAA’s Draconian Cod Restrictions:

The “Missing” Cod vs. What Fishermen are Seeing On The Water By Capt. Mike Pierdinock, RFA Massachusetts State Director

Capt. Barry Gibson, RFA New England Regional Director

In 2014, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced emergency cod closure measures that prohibited recreational and commercial cod fishing in a large portion of the Gulf of Maine starting in late 2014 and which is ongoing today. NOAA concluded that “The Gulf of

Maine cod stock, a historic icon of the New England fishery, is in the worst shape we have seen in the 40 years that we have been monitoring it. Abundance is only 3-4 percent of levels deemed sustainable for the stock.” The restrictions reduced the allowed accidental catch of commercial cod to just 200 pounds per boat per trip. The most recent ruling by NOAA also implemented a cod and haddock fishing closure from September to April, so we are now subject to a sevenmonth bottom fishing closure to recreational anglers, charter boats, and party fishing vessels. We have gone from a year round fishery, which included conducting charters during the winter months on Stellwagen Bank, to this seven- month closure.

of collapse in 2014? One obvious answer was a change in the method of managing the commercial fishery by the implementation of the flawed “catch share” system. We fought to prevent this damaging system from becoming reality, but we can thank then-NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco for unashamedly pushing through her catch-share agenda that was supported by radical environmental

groups and NGOs. And unfortunately, the catch share system is here to stay. One of the problems with the catch share system is that pulsed commercial fishing pressure can occur in a small or concentrated area can wipe out a localized stock of fish, especially in near-shore waters. We observed the constant pulse-fishing pressure by large commercial draggers in select areas on or near Stellwagen Bank that are not subject to closure by the commercial fisherman. After three years of non-stop fishing pressure we were left with few legal-size cod or haddock available to recreational anglers or for-hire customers. These areas are accessible to the typical recreational angler or weekend fisherman from 15 to 30 or 40 miles offshore. So, was the flawed catch share system and the commercial fishing pressure the source of the collapse?

Some commercial fishermen indicated that they fished near shore in 2011 and 2012 since they encountered fewer cod on grounds greater than 50 miles offshore. So How did this happen? How where did the cod go if they Gulf of Maine cod are as scarce as hen’s teeth, at did the cod and groundfish were not offshore? Much of stock go from sustainable lev- least according to NMFS. So why are captains catch- the U.S. haddock stock apparels of fish in 2011 to the point ing so many and in unlikely places? ently migrated to Canada in

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2014, and were found at unbelievable levels that resulted in a local boosts to the Canadian economy with the commercial fleet landing and selling large amounts of haddock. Were the cod far behind? Speculation of lack of cod ranged from a noted congregation of cod on Stellwagen in 2011 (said to be emblematic of a stock in collapse); lack of cod due to global warming in our waters that has resulted in the cod moving farther offshore; lack of sand eels as a food source in our waters since cod typically come and go with the sand eel population; to changing salinity and CO2 levels in our waters.

Seemingly healthy numbers of cod are being encountered by recreational anglers and the commercial fleet currently in 2015 that are not consistent with the emergency cod closure measures or a cod population at the point of collapse. There have been reports of lobster traps

near shore or offshore as a result of warming water temperatures, or a moving food source such as sand eels? The winter of 2015 saw the coldest water temperatures ever recorded in our near shore and Stellwagen waters. Prior to 2015, the surface water temperature was observed to be warming in our waters, with fewer cod observed unless the typical recreational angler or charter boat captain proceeded east of Stellwagen Bank to grounds 35 to 40-plus miles offshore. There are fewer for-hire and commercial fishing boats on the water today then there was 10 to 20 years ago. The commercial and recreational cod quotas are shadows of what they once were, so how can the cod collapse be a result of increased fishing pressure? Fish stocks typically cycle up and down, so are we in the midst of a rebounding cycle?

Where does the truth lie? In typical NOAA fashion, there was not enough evidence or research to conclude why the stock had collapsed. But did it really collapse? As stated above, we were under the impression that while we observed fruitful levels of cod in the near-shore And if we dig a little Stellwagen waters in deeper, is the real cul2011, the commercial prit flawed trawl surCod and haddock are the backbone of the New England fleet observed few cod veys and flawed recreaparty and charter boat fleets and a favorite target species farther off-shore. So tional and charter boat of recreational boat fishermen. were the cod simply landings information? moving around? FurNOAA and the recreathermore, in the last quarter of filled with cod, endless numbers of tional fishing community have actu2014, just before the cod closure legal-sized cod caught near shore, ally agreed that the data currently was implemented by NOAA, com- and the commercial fleet has had being used for management decimercial fisherman and some recrea- to vacate the Cashes Ledge area sions do not make sense. As a retional anglers and charter boat cap- due to its inability to avoid catching sult, on the surface it may appear tains indicated that the Cashes cod. The same is reported on areas that we are overfishing and exLedge area and other areas at sig- of Georges Bank. ceeding the cod quota. Significant nificant distances offshore suschanges must occur to the trawl tained good levels of cod not con- Are we witnessing the natural cycle surveys and the means and methsistent with a collapsed stock. of fishing behavior, cod migrating ods associated with the recreation-

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al surveys and landing data in order to work with credible information to make scientifically valid and sound fishery management decisions. The haddock population is at healthy levels but recreational anglers are currently limited to only three haddock per person. Haddock are being found near shore and offshore and it is not difficult to quickly catch your limit of haddock and call it a day. So why not increase the bag limit of haddock to make up for the year-round zero possession of cod? The answer is that NOAA assumes there will be a certain amount of cod landed while people are targeting haddock, and that a certain percentage of cod while die when returned to the water. Therefore,

Making Waves Summer 2015

the assumed “dead cod bycatch” in the recreational haddock fishery will account for the entire recreational cod quota for 2015. The result is zero possession of cod in 2015 and a haddock bag limit of only three per angler. The following summary of an article by Mark Latti that appeared in the Maine Sunday Telegram newspaper on July 19th points out the results of the harsh recreational restrictions this season.

have their boats for sale, a lot have already sold them and one fleet out of Salisbury (Massachusetts) says on their website that they are out of business.’ “Barry chairs the New England Fishery Management Council’s Recreational Advisory Panel and serves as the Recreational Fishing Alliance’s New England Regional Director. Barry was the editor of Salt Water Sportsman for 23 years and is a charter captain of more than 40 years.

“The regulations have groundfisherman grumbling, charter captains canceling trips, many boats for sale, and businesses on the brink. ‘The fact that you can’t keep cod has really crimped their businesses,’ said Captain Barry Gibson of East Boothbay. ‘Guys

“The reason trips are canceled, and businesses and boats are closed and for sale? It’s hard to entice someone to open their wallet and get so little in return. ‘What ground fisherman do, and they have done this forever, is that they gauge their cost of their char-

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ter against what they are going to bring home to eat,’ said Gibson. ‘And if it’s $80 a day and they can only keep three pounds of haddock fillets, it just doesn’t compute.” Eighty dollars buys many more pounds from your local fish market than it does from a charter boat, and businesses that cater to offshore groundfish anglers are paying the price. “It’s frustrating for many captains and anglers because it seems anglers are catching more cod now with the fishery deemed depleted

than they were a couple of years ago when stocks were healthy enough for a 10-cod bag limit. “’We went out to Plattes Bank (another 15 miles east of Jeffreys) a week ago and we caught more cod that day than I have on any other given trip out there since 2012,’ said Gibson. He’s not alone. Other anglers are experiencing better cod fishing than they have in years.

of Business Development) who said that he had recently boated a dozen keeper cod, including a 20pounder, in water that was 80 degrees at the surface. With similar catches up and down the east coast, anglers, captains and others are left shaking their heads.

“The NOAA Fisheries’ Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office has said it will conduct assessments of all groundfish stocks in the North“Gibson received an email from an east this summer, with public meetangling friend in New Jersey (it ings scheduled for September (the was Gary Caputi, the RFA’s Director RFA will provide members with the dates and locations just as soon as this information is available.) It is hoped that a fresh look at the science behind the assessments will show that cod stocks are not depleted. “What can the individual angler or charter skipper do? Let those in charge of regulating the fishery know what you are catching. We encourages anglers to email Regional Administrator John Bullard (john.bullard@noaa.gov) at the NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office. His office will oversee the groundfish assessments and any future change in the regulations.

While Gulf of Maine cod are supposedly approaching extinction, cod have been abundant off the Mid Atlantic states in recent years creating a fishery for a limited number of for-hire vessels and private boat anglers. This beautiful 20-lb. summer cod was one of a dozen caught along with ling and winter flounder this past July in 130’ of water. Fish to 30-lbs. are still being caught in August and there is hope that the winter fishery will be as strong as it was last couple of years after black sea bass seas closes unnecessarily.

“A simple email noting the number of cod you caught and where, illustrated with a picture, will let him know that cod stocks are indeed not depleted, and that further assessments are not only warranted but needed before even more businesses are impacted.”

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Making Waves Summer 2015

Trouble with Ethanol Will New Regulations Mean More Costly Problems for Boaters? Article Courtesy Yamaha Marine Boater’s Log (Vol.7, #3)


nless you haven’t put fuel in your car in the past ten years, you’re probably familiar with the term E10. It refers to the 10 percent ethanol that is blended into the gasoline you buy at the pump. If you’ve owned an outboard-powered boat during that same time period, you are far more familiar with E10 than your over-the-road counterparts.

The introduction of ethanol into the U.S. gasoline supply was the result of an EPA regulation called the Renewable Fuel Standard, and it caused a lot of costly headaches for boaters at the 10 percent level. Now, the EPA is doubling down under intense pressure from the agri-industry’s ethanol lobby in Washington, increasing the mandated amount of ethanol in gasoline to 15 percent, a move dreaded by boat-

MakingWaves Waves Summer Summer2015 2015 Making

ers and marine engine manufacturers alike. Ethanol is derived from plant sources, mostly corn, and the government mandate has been a major boon to farmers and refiners. Basically, it is a fermented and refined grain alcohol that is denatured and then blended with gasoline. It initially found its way into the nation’s fuel supply as a replacement for a chemical additive called MTBE, which was used to increase octane and reduce emissions. After years of use, the EPA determined that MTBE was harmful to the environment, and the hunt for a replacement began. Domestically manufactured ethanol replaced MTBE, and was also promoted as a way to reduce the nation’s dependency on foreign oil. However, the use of ethanol in fuel came with a host of problems for marine engines and fuel systems. Not long after the introduction of E10 gasoline, boats using it began experiencing problems. Almost immediately mysterious substances began clogging fuel filters that were later identified as a byproduct of mixing fuel still in the tank containing MTBE with ethanol-blended gasoline, but that was only a harbinger of things to come. Fuel lines approved for gasoline engines on boats reacted badly with the ethanol additive and started breaking down causing clogged filters; and in cases where the problem was not identified quickly, possible fuel leaks were the result. Any sludge deposits in older fuel tanks began dissolving and were pumped into the fuel system, damaging components and making a mess of filters. And boats with fiberglass fuel tanks were subject to the added nightmare of ethanol actually eating away the resin, which required replacement of the tank and in many cases, serious damage to expensive engine components like valves, carburetors and injectors. Why were all these problems manifesting as a result of a simple switch from MTBE to a 10 percent blend of ethanol? As mentioned, ethanol is a form of alcohol

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and alcohol is a highly efficient solvent. So when it is introduced into older metal fuel tanks, it gradually begins to break down accumulated sediments and washes them into the fuel system. Those same properties can cause resins and fillers used to make fiberglass fuel tanks to leach out into the fuel system where they adhere to internal engine parts. Ethanol -blended fuel can also be responsible for the decomposition of rubber gaskets and fuel lines that heretofore had been approved for use in gasoline fuel systems. Boat and engine manufacturers took on the challenge of upgrading their products to avoid these problems going forward, and have done an admirable job. Yamaha Marine was an early leader in identifying these problems and correcting them in their popular lineup of outboard engines. They upgraded fuel systems with hoses and gaskets that are resistant to ethanol’s solvent properties. The company also developed injection systems and revised ignition modules so that Yamaha outboards can run efficiently with E10, which has a lower combustion temperature and therefore a slightly lower power output than gasoline without ethanol. Even though most of the problems with E10-blended fuels have been accounted for by outboard manufacturers, there are still some issues that are inherent to the product that continue to plague boaters. Ethanol is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs water from the air. While this is rarely a problem in automobiles that live on dry land and have sealed fuel systems, marine applications are another story altogether. Boats live in a moisture- and humidity-rich environment, and boat fuel systems are vented to the atmosphere. Without venting, an outboard’s fuel pump would not be able to draw fuel from the tank. Venting allows outside air to enter the tank along with moisture and humidity where it contacts the ethanol in the gas. “Water can and will collect in your fuel, and when the concentration of water molecules reaches just one half of one percent, those molecules will bond with the ethanol in the

Above: This is an example of phase separation, which occurs when ethanol absorbs just one half of one percent water by volume. The ethanol bonds to the water and sinks to the bottom of the tank where the fuel pickup is located.

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Making Waves Summer 2015

gasoline and sink to the bottom of the tank where the fuel pick up is located,” said David Meeler, Product Information Manager, Yamaha Marine Group. “This is called ‘phase separation’ and depending on the amount of water ingested into your outboard, it can result in everything from rough running to catastrophic engine damage.” In the new brochure titled “Maintenance Matters – A Simple Guide for the Longevity of Your Outboard,” Yamaha offers the following recommendations for avoiding the potentially damaging effects of burning ethanol fuel in your outboard engine.

1. Be sure to use a 10-micron fuel/water separating filter-—with proper flow rating for the engine—is installed in the fuel line between the tank and the outboard. This will filter out any debris that ethanol might loosen in the tank, and it will separate out and collect any water from the fuel. (Yamaha offers highquality canister filters with large water collecting reservoirs for their outboards.) Filters should be replaced every 100 hours of operation or checked/replaced more frequently if the presence of significant water is found.

2. Add a high-quality, marine specific fuel stabilizer

and conditioner to every tank of fuel. Yamalube® Fuel Stabilizer and Conditioner is a non-alcohol-based formula that helps counter some of the problems associ-


ated with ethanol blended fuels. They caution boaters about claims from some additive manufacturers stating unequivocally that, “no additive will restore stale fuel, remove water or cure ethanol-related issues.”

3. Add Yamalube


Ring Free Plus internal engine cleaner to every tank of fuel. It will do the job of keeping your fuel system clean and corrosion free.

4. Buy your gas where they sell a lot of it! Today’s ethanol-blended gasolines have a notoriously short shelf life and actually begin to degrade in a matter of days after refining and blending. Purchasing gas at a high volume retailer helps insure you are buying the freshest gas. Then be sure to add stabilizer and engine cleaner at the time of purchase. This will go a long way in helping protect your investment in your outboard engine from ethanol problems. If you are like many boat owners who only use their boats on weekends or even less frequently during the boating season, it’s advisable to keep your fuel tank level at 7/8 full with properly stabilized, fresh fuel. Keeping your tank at that level helps prevent condensation build up in the tank while the boat is not in use. Condensation occurs when any moisture in the air in the tank condenses with changing temperatures. It is another source of water entering the fuel and bonding with the ethanol.

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The problems created by the initial introduction of ethanol into the fuel supply were widespread and costly to both individuals and industry. The increase to 15% will have far-reaching consequences.

With all of the problems associated with the use of E10 gasoline in marine engines, you would think the federal government might do something to mitigate the effects by reducing ethanol requirements. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The EPA, under the guise of the Renewable Fuel Standard, is mandating a 50 percent increase in the use of E15 gasoline, which will further exacerbate the problems associated with ethanol in marine engines. In an interview with Martin Peters, Manager, Government Relations for Yamaha Marine in Kennesaw, Ga., he laid out the case from the marine industry against the ethanol increase, along with a dire warning for owners of existing outboard engines. “The marine industry has determined through research and testing that E15 harms outboards by doing internal damage to moving parts such as valves and pistons – devastating, irreparable damage,” said Peters. “While Yamaha could engineer outboards that will run on E15, doing so would increase cost to the consumer without increasing consumer benefits.

boards at risk of damage,” he continued. “There are more than 10 million outboards currently in service that would be destroyed by the damaging effects of E15. As an industry, we cannot allow this to happen to consumers. “We strongly urge consumers and members of the marine industry to make their voices heard and stop the EPA from going forward with a plan to increase the amount of ethanol in the fuel supply. They can do so by contacting the EPA—or their Congressman/ Senator—directly over concerns that higher ethanol blends will have on their products or by accessing a number of marine advocacy websites such as the National Marine Manufacturers Association® (www.nmma.org).” Y

For more information about caring for your outboard engine, check out Yamaha’s Maintenance Matters website at:

“More importantly, if E15 becomes the predominately http://maintenance.yamahaoutboards.com/ available fuel in the U.S., that would leave ‘legacy’ out-



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The RFA Mission Safeguard the rights of saltwater anglers Protect marine, boat and tackle industry jobs Ensure the long-term sustainability of our nation’s fisheries. Anti-fishing groups and radical environmentalists are pushing their agenda on marine fisheries issues affecting you. The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) is in the trenches too, lobbying, educating decision makers and ensuring that the interests of America’s coastal fishermen are being heard loud and clear. Incorporated in 1996 as a 501c4 national, grassroots political action organization, RFA represents recreational fishermen and the recreational fishing industry on marine fisheries issues on every coast, with state chapters established to spearhead the regional issues while building local support. “The biggest challenge we face is the fight to reform and bring common sense and sound science into the fisheries management process, says James Donofrio, RFA founder and Executive Director. “Anti-fishing and extreme environmental groups are working everyday to get us off the water.” Despite the threats to diminish access to our nation’s resources, Donofrio says that RFA offers members hope in an organization that’s designed from the ground up to fight back. “As individuals, our concerns will simply not be heard; but as a united group, we can and do stand up to anyone who threatens the sport we enjoy so much – fishing!” After nearly 20 years working inside the Beltway and within state capitols along the coast, RFA has become known as one of the nation’s most respected lobbying organizations, and our members have a lot to celebrate.

The Recreational Fishing Alliance Headquarters P.O. Box 3080 New Gretna, New Jersey 08224 Phone: 1-888-564-6732 toll free Fax: (609) 294-3812

Jim Donofrio Executive Director

Capt. Barry Gibson Jim Martin New England Regional Director West Coast Regional Director

John DePersenaire Managing Director

Gary Caputi Corporate Relations Director

Cover & Background Designs by Mustard Seed Graphics

T. J. Cheek Southeast Regional Director

Profile for Recreational Fishing Alliance

Making Waves Summer 2015  

The Official News Magazine of the Recreational Fishing Alliance

Making Waves Summer 2015  

The Official News Magazine of the Recreational Fishing Alliance

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