If you Google the term “fish buzz bingo” you’ll find a little game that a few of us at the Recreational Fishing Alliance created 10 years ago for a national fisheries summit in Washington DC. With “buzzwords” like precautionary, holistic, and paradigm spewed frequently in fisheries management circles, it wasn’t too far into this conference before someone yelled “bingo.”
Well, the gubmint folks just announced yet another “vision quest” set of findings on the state of our coastal fisheries under the rather verbose subject line, East Coast Fishery Management Organizations Release Suite of Potential Actions to Help Managers Respond to the Effects of Climate Change on Marine Fisheries. Released by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) the press statement outlined how Atlantic Coast fishery management folks are “exploring governance and management issues related to climate change and fishery stock distributions.”
“Throughout the multi-stage scenario planning process, hundreds of stakeholders helped generate four distinct ‘scenarios’, each describing a possible future for East Coast fisheries, coastal communities, and fisheries management,” the MAFMC release stated. Funny, but “stakeholders” are actual fishermen, and I doubt many of The Fisherman’s readers or advertisers were personally invited to participate in this so-called “Scenario Planning Summit.” Honestly, most anglers I speak have grown tired of attending fisheries meetings due to complex buzzwords and condescending analysis of our needs.
So, this particular summit brought together representatives from the regional fishery management councils, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), and NOAA Fisheries, and had participants using scenarios as a platform for developing what they called “potential governance and management actions that could help prepare fishery management organizations for future challenges related to climate change.”
In my weekly video segment, I’m often pretty critical of ASMFC and NOAA Fisheries in particular, while also throwing regular barbs at New Jersey’s governor, all for pretty much ignoring the concerns of our recreational fishing community. One viewer recently pointed out, “Let’s not forget you have an agenda, to promote NJ fishing, and support those communities, who are pretty much against wind farms. Does global warming fit in it anywhere?” My answers is that it’s more like a “bias” I have towards New Jersey recreational fishing, but I guess “agenda” is a good buzzword too. Fact is, as this latest summit report explains, our government agencies have already prioritized climate change in advance of future fisheries management, over the present day-to-day angler concerns.
The MAFMC release outlines something called the Potential Action Menu which contains three overarching themes: (1) cross-jurisdictional governance; (2) managing under increased uncertainty; and (3) data sources and partnerships. Some good “fish buzz bingo” words of note there include cross-jurisdictional and uncertainty, but the high priority action items also include identifying “ecosystem-level contextual information,” “promoting prioritization of actions” and “scenario planning outcomes.” Another subheading of Data Sources and Partnerships includes the following bullet points:
- Coordination of accurate and timely data between all stakeholders and partners will play a large role as we adapt to changing conditions.
- Expand study fleet, include recreational fisheries, and ensure data are used.
- Use survey mitigation around offshore wind to transition to industry-based surveys or other survey platforms.
- Improve the use of existing data.
If you read our September edition, you know about the “existing data” used by NOAA Fisheries to monitor angler effort is wrought with “reporting errors and illogical responses.” As for “mitigation” used frequently to explain how the government will compensate anglers from access issues that may arise from industrial offshore wind development that may be my favorite buzzword of all. I mean, how do you “mitigate” tens of thousands of dollars in fishing gear and tackle should we get boxed out of our fishery due “illogical” data and the need for “survey mitigation”?
Just more fishy corporate jargon if you ask me.