Hey Congress - let's stop bottom-trawling!

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(Moved from the bottom-trawling pictures thread) I'm proposing to post the names of the subcommittee members of both the House of Representatives, and the Senate. I will also try to post the email address of each of them. I would like to suggest that those of us who are US citizens write letters to each of them to request that legislation be passed outlawing bottom trawling in all coastal US waters, and out to the 200 mile limit. We should also request the United States initiate and participate in international action to make bottom trawling an international crime punishable by trade sanctions against any country whose fisheries and fishing vessels are engaging in it. It might be beneficial for us to initiate some discussion about appropriate wording for such a letter, with as much scientific verification of the devastation caused bysuch trawling. I have the visuals you have posted, And Dr SOS sent a bit more info to me privately, but if papers and web sites offering really good scientific data are available to us, we should take advantage of that. Generally speaking, it's more effective to not use form letters, so if we could outline a suggested letter or two, with key and important phrases ,(and correct grammar and spelling) then perhaps we could each write our own. It will take a bit of time and effort, but I think we can all agree that it's worth that. I'll post this, probably in a new thread, and give people a few days to comment on whether people want to do this. I will do it on my own, but there is strenght in numbers.
Hopefully,
Sharon
 
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As long as the US goverment or any US indsutry is gainging benifit from bottom trawling, nobody would give a damn what the sea would look like, after all, fish don't vote.
 
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Great link

Matt, thanks! That's a great link. So far I have only skimmed the surface, but I'm going to read every bit of it. It's really good stuff.
We can get lots of ammunition from those articles.

Here is a list of all the members on the Senate subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, and water:

Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island, Chairman
http://chafee.senate.gov/webform.htm
Tel.#202-224-2921

John W. Warner, Virginia
http://www.senate.gov/~warner/contact/offices.htm
Tel.#202-224-2023

Lisa Murkowski, Alaska
http://murkowski.senate.gov/contact.cfm Tel.#202-224-6665

Jim De Mint, South Carolina
http://demint.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home
tel.#202-224-6121

David Vitter. Louisiana
http://vitter.senate.gov/contact.cfm Tel#202-224-4623

Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York
http://clinton.senate.gov/contact/ tel#202-224-4451

Joseph I Lieberman, Connecticut
http://lieberman.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm tel:202-224-4041

Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey
http://lautenberg.senate.gov/contact.html tel#202-224-3224

Barack Obama, Illinois
http://obama.senate.gov/contact/ tel#202-224-2854


To contact your own state's senators, go to www.senate.gov/contact/
from there it's easy to follow the links.

I have only listed the DC office phone numbers, but if you live in any of the states that the members represent and you want to call them or talk to them up close and in person, ( or at least to their staffers,) you can also find the addresses and telephone numbers of their local offices on their web pages. They also have fax numbers listed. If you choose to call them, ask for the staffer who deals with environmental issues, usually only found in the DC offices. If you want to fax material, it's best to let them know that you are sending it first.


Information re: the House of Representatives will follow later, I haven't gotten to that yet.

If I make this easy enough, will people do it?
 

TPOTH

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chrono_war01 said:
As long as the US goverment or any US indsutry is gainging benifit from bottom trawling, nobody would give a damn what the sea would look like, after all, fish don't vote.

Hear, hear!
(also valid for other countries)

TPOTH
 

um...

Architeuthis
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I think everybody in government should be forced to read Jared Diamond's Collapse.

(However, I suppose that would kill a lot of trees. Maybe they could share.)
 
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I have a call in to a staffer at NRDC who works on this issue. I'm trying to find out if there is any current legislation in the works. When I hear from her I'll let you know. I'll get the House subcommittee members info posted soon, I promise. We already have areas in US waters where bottom trawling is banned, I'm trying to find out all the particulars about that too.
 
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The Bottom Trawling and Deep Sea Coral Habitat Act of 2005

New Bi-Partisan Bill Introduced to Protect Deep-Sea Corals:
Bottom Trawling and Deep Sea Coral Habitat Act of 2005

The Bottom Trawling and Deep Sea Coral Habitat Act of 2005 would:

* Allow mobile bottom-tending fishing gear to be used in almost all areas where it has been used in the past three years for which records are available.
* Temporarily ban the use of mobile bottom-tending fishing gear in unstudied areas - any area in which records indicate that mobile bottom-tending fishing gears were not used - until research determines whether deep sea coral ecosystems are present. If no deep sea coral ecosystems are found in an area, that area would be opened for the use of bottom-tending fishing gears and desginated a Bottom Trawl Zone.
* Permanently ban the use of mobile bottom-tending fishing gear in Coral Habitat Conservation Zones where deep sea coral ecosystems are known to exist.
* Require monitoring of coral bycatch. Raised bycatch levels are an indicator of the presence of deep sea coral ecosystems. Areas that produce high bycatch levels would be designated Coral Habitat Conservation Zones under the authority of the Secretary of Commerce.
* Require deep-sea coral research on
o Locations and mapping of deep sea coral ecosystems;
o Natural history;
o Taxonomic classification;
o Ecological roles;
o Growth rate;
o Ecological indicators of coral habitat; and
o Benefits provided by these species and habitats.
* Provide for penalties and enforcement of the act.
* Provide $15,000,000 a year to carry out the provisions of the act.


This act has been introduced in previous years and not passed. It undoubtedly isn't perfect, but it's certainly better than nothing, which is what we have now.
I have a call into Congressman Gilchrest's Environmental aide to try to get more info.
 
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I just spoke with Congressman Gilchrest's environmental aide, at some length, actually. The House bill was not allowed to get out of the House Resource Committee. It's dead for this year. She said that writing individual letters to congressmen was exactly what we should be doing, that they paid much more attention to one letter than they do to all the mass mailings in the world. Although we were in disagreement about some issues, she is, after all, used to dealing in the world of compromise and deal making, not in the world of activism, she agreed in principle that bottom trawling of coral reefs and seamonts were destructive and counterproductive in the long run. She also said that only through citizen participation were we likely to get anywhere, because the fishing industry was very active, and without hearing from the other side (us) no one in Congress was likely to do anything. I asked her about the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition UN initiative, and she said that the White House was totally opposed to it and that it would have to wait for a new administration for the US to get involved. No surprise there She said that Senator Barbara Boxer had introduced legislation, so I looked that up. Here's the summary:

SUMMARY OF THE NATIONAL OCEANS PROTECTION ACT
by Senator Barbara Boxer

Purpose:

Senator Boxer’s National Oceans Protection Act of 2005 addresses some of the most serious challenges facing national oceans resources and provides a comprehensive approach to ocean and habitat protection. The legislation implements recommendations from two high level national commissions, the congressionally established U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, and the independent Pew Ocean Commission, both of which found the world’s oceans to be in severe distress.

What the Bill Does:

Improves Oceans Governance:

• Establishes an independent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)


• Creates a Council on Ocean Stewardship that will annually review funding, policy recommendations, and programs for ocean protection

• Requires that all activities on the Outer Continental Shelf – such as wave energy projects, bioextraction by biotech companies, and wind energy projects – receive a federal permit in order to ensure that projects do not pose an adverse threat to the health of the oceans (current law only requires permits for oil and gas activities)

• Establishes a Trust Fund with federal money generated from these newly permitted activities, with funds to be used for ocean conservation, science and research, and assistance to displaced fishermen

• Increases biological and scientific monitoring of the oceans to ensure that accurate and updated information is available to implement policies protective of the oceans

Protects and Conserves Marine Wildlife and Habitat:


• Provides protection for ecologically-important coral areas by creating “Coral Management Areas”

• Authorizes $3 million per year for research on the effects of noise pollution (i.e. sonar) on marine mammals
• Prohibits almost all discharges of ballast water in U.S. waters and requires ships to install technology to capture invasive species in ballast water before discharge – and creates an early detection and rapid response system to provide assistance to states to protect against invasive species

• Authorizes $50 million per year in grants to local communities to restore fishery and coastal habitats

• Authorizes $500 million per year in grants to local communities to purchase lands that are vulnerable to development and are important to the protection and preservation of habitats

Strengthens Fisheries and Fish Habitat:


• Requires that, when determining the health of a fishery, the entire ecosystem be taken into account (not just the health of a particular fish species)

• Authorizes $115 million over five years for NOAA and the regional fishery councils to develop ecosystem-wide plans to protect and sustain fisheries

• Establishes standards for reducing bycatch and authorizes $55 million over five years to monitor compliance with those standards

• Creates Individual Fishing Quotas (IFQ) that are equitably allocated and that protect against bycatch, overfishing, and economic harm to local communities


Improves the Quality of Ocean Water:


• Requires the establishment of maximum amounts of nutrient runoff pollution that a body of water can hold and still be healthy, taking into account regional conditions and reasonable economic considerations

• Requires water utilities to establish water treatment standards to remove nutrient pollution

• Mandates best management practices for agriculture – requiring farmers, to the greatest extent practicable, to take steps to curtail runoff

• Expedites beach pollution testing and posting; requires public notification and testing of sewer overflows

• Authorizes $11.2 billion per year in funding for state and local governments to reduce stormwater pollution and to increase monitoring and testing

• Requires a survey and continuous monitoring of contaminated sediments that are threats to bodies of water, and establishes standards to protect sensitive aquatic species from contaminated sediments


So far I haven't found the Thomas "S" number. I'll keep working on that, but not today, I have other things I have to do.

Oh by the way, she (the aide) suggested that we write our congressmen with suggested legislation, and she also said that it was important for people in inland states to get involved too, because so few inland congressmen paid attention to these issues. By the way, you don't have to be of voting age to get involved, no one asks how old you are. It won't be that long before you will be voting, and no congressman or senator wants to alienate future voters.
 

Tintenfisch

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sorseress said:
Bottom Trawling and Deep Sea Coral Habitat Act of 2005

The Bottom Trawling and Deep Sea Coral Habitat Act of 2005 would:

*Permanently ban the use of mobile bottom-tending fishing gear in Coral Habitat Conservation Zones where deep sea coral ecosystems are known to exist.
* Require monitoring of coral bycatch. Raised bycatch levels are an indicator of the presence of deep sea coral ecosystems. Areas that produce high bycatch levels would be designated Coral Habitat Conservation Zones under the authority of the Secretary of Commerce.

Seems like they should build in a timeframe for how long coral can be taken at 'raised bycatch levels' before designating an area a CHCZ, given that any more than a couple trawls with high coral bycatch will effectively clean out that area...

Wonder if the Nebraskan congressmen know anything about this issue... time to get out the old pen. :twisted:
 
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How many trawls does it take?

Tintenfisch said:
Seems like they should build in a timeframe for how long coral can be taken at 'raised bycatch levels' before designating an area a CHCZ, given that any more than a couple trawls with high coral bycatch will effectively clean out that area...

:twisted:

That's a good point to raise in a letter....along with a number....or better yet, if it at all possible, pictures of what a coral reef looks like after one visit by a bottom trawler, 2 passes, 3 passes, etc. I think it's true that a picture is worth a thousand words, but getting those pictures might be unbelievably difficult. I have no idea of what might be involved, or it's cost.
 
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