- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 9, 2003

Why on God’s green Earth does the United States bother participating in world-wide organizations — to wit, the U.N. — that do nothing more than bash Uncle Sam? Have we become such masochists that we need to be trashed by every Jacques, Sean and Olaf?

For example, Herb Moore, the government affairs director for the Recreational Fishing Alliance, a political action organization representing recreational fishermen and the recreational fishing industry, let us know that his group recently observed the U.S. delegation to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). It happened during the 18th meeting of the commission in Dublin. What occurred at the meeting would have been laughable had it not presented potentially serious problems for recreational anglers.

For starters, ICCAT is an international fishery management organization with 37 contracting nations (mostly European) that fish the Atlantic Ocean. ICCAT tries to set quotas and management measures to maintain the populations of marlin, swordfish and tuna species that migrate across the Atlantic, but the truth be known, violations by commercial boats are rampant.

However, this year’s meeting topics included the possible imposition of further restrictions on recreational fishing. The nerve of those people is astonishing.

The RFA said the European Union (EU) once again proved to be the dominant player at ICCAT. John Spencer, the EU’s chief negotiator, weighed in strongly on every major proposal and frequently controlled the floor during the week. Midway through the meeting, Spencer and the EU delegation fired a shot across the bow of the U.S. recreational fishing sector in the form of a resolution titled, “Recommendation to Adopt Measures Concerning Recreational Fishing.”

The EU thinks it’s time to regulate sport fishing to “ensure that this activity does not interfere with commercial fishing activities or does not undermine the sustainable exploitation of the stocks.”

Wow. The Europeans want sport anglers to get out of the way so the commercial netters and long-liners can rob the Atlantic of what little is left of its fish stocks. Not only that, they want the recreational fishermen to watch their step. They might be interfering with the commercials’ overall take.

And how silly can you get? The Europeans think the sport anglers should be prohibited from using nets, dredges or longlines to fish for marlin, swordfish or tuna.

Duh, you silly ICCAT. Sport anglers don’t do any of that — at least not American sport fishermen.

The proposal eventually was taken off the table, but it goes to show how far some people will go to stick a nose into our business.

I’m for getting out of all that and telling the EU to go soak its head. We don’t need the EU. We should quit the ICCAT and let them know that if we find them or anyone else from a foreign land fishing in our waters — the fish-richest in the world — we’ll arrest them and burn their boats to the waterline.

Uncle Sam needs to stop being Mr. Nice Guy.

Good hunters don’t break laws — Decent hunters everywhere should be happy to hear that West Virginia Division of Natural Resources conservation officers have arrested a Grant County man and charged him with various counts of illegally killing and possessing deer. Lawrence Keplinger of Thorn Run was arrested last month following a year-long investigation of complaints that Keplinger had been killing bucks out of season. During the arrest the officers went to a local taxidermist and seized one trophy head which was still in velvet, and also removed 11 sets of antlers from Keplinger’s home, eight of which also had been taken while the deer were still in the velvet phase.


Anglers Waterfowl Weekend — Friday and Saturday, Angler’s sporting goods store off of Route 50 east in Annapolis, presents a free workshop with Jeff Foiles who will offer tips on new duck or goose calls, tune calls and give calling instruction. Foiles is from Foiles Migrators, manufacturers of championship duck and goose calls. Information: 410/757-3442, 410/974-4013.

Saltwater fishing lecture series — Jan. 5 and subsequent Mondays, Jan. 12 and 26; Feb. 2, 9, and 23; March 1 and 8; 7:30 to 9:30. p.m. at the Maplewood-Alta Vista Rec Center, 5209 Alta Vista Road, Bethesda. $85 for Montgomery County residents ($95 for non-residents). Charter fishing captains Kerry Muse, Chuck Fisher, George Prenant, Drew Payne, and fishing guides Richie Gaines and Pete Dahlberg will present the lectures. Subjects include trolling, chumming, bottom fishing, jigging, depth finder use, outfitting a boat, best times to fish. Pre-register with the Montgomery County Department of Recreation, 240/777-6870; mcrd.net.

Virginia-Carolina Bass & Boat Show — Feb. 6-8, Golden Leaf Warehouse, South Hill, Va. The Hawg Trough, a tank filled with trophy bass, will be on display. Seminars are led by experts who will highlight fishing on nearby Kerr Reservoir and Lake Gaston. Other features include a Brunswick stew cook-off, fire trucks, a bluegrass band, tackle and boat displays. Information: bassandboatshow.com; 866/219-4544.

CCA/Southern Maryland Winter BBQ — Feb. 21, 6 p.m., the Izaak Walton League Hall, 4200 Gardiner Road, Waldorf, Md. The Southern Maryland chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association invites the public to its annual fund-raiser. Cost: $30 a person (includes an annual membership in the CCA, a $25 value). Food, open bar, raffles, silent and open auctions. Information: Donald Gardiner, 301/645-3323, 301/843-3719.

• Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday, and his Fishing Report every Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]

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