Count Your Blessings

It is important to occasionally take some time to reflect on how incredibly blessed we truly are. Here are a few of the blessing I am thankful for.

I am thankful God sent His only Son to give His life for me. There is no greater love than that.

I am thankful for my health and senses that allow me to enjoy God’s gifts.

I am thankful for my wonderful family and the home we share.

I am thankful for the talents God gave me that allow me to earn a living.

I am thankful for this great Nation I was blessed to be born in.

I am thankful for the freedom God gave me and the ability to peacefully defend it with nothing more than words.

I am thankful for the simple things like toilet paper, air conditioning, and electricity that allow us to live better than most kings from any other point in time.

Dear gracious and heavenly Father, thank You for all the many blessing You bestow upon us each and every day. Please help my light so shine before men that they may see my good works so You may be glorified through them. Please help me to love others as You have loved us. Please help me to forgive others as I ask You to forgive me. Please bless all of Your children in the way You know they need it. I pray these things in the name of Jesus, Amen.

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Ode to Joy

Somebody sent me the link to this song and it reminded me of how I would to listen to the full version of Ode to Joy while taking a long shower after a successful fishing trip. I miss the soaring highs and even the crushing lows of being a fisherman. I can’t wait to start fishing again as soon as we win this fight. http://www.youtube.com/watch_popupv=GBaHPND2QJg&feature=youtu.be

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Travel Summary

This is a summary of what my wife and I were blessed to see on the trip cross country.

We saw colorful century old fishing boats with seasoned crews of old salts along coastal California. We saw Sea Lions and Elephant Seals sunning on rocky beaches with patches of sea fog obscuring the bright blue sky. We saw the results of last year’s tsunami that unleashed its awesome power on Crescent City. We saw velvet antlered Elk grazing among the majestic Redwoods. We saw winding mountain roads with dark lightning storms in the distance as the setting sun lit up the landscape with brilliant light. We saw California mountain summits covered with freshly fallen snow in June. We saw the salt flats in Nevada where an ancient ocean once flooded the barren landscape. We saw graceful Antelope in Wyoming with their young fawns. We saw fertile fields of grain and corn through the heartland of Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas. We saw the mighty Mississippi River rushing south as we traveled east. We saw the lush Appalachian Mountians rise from flat lands to peaks with every hue of green blending seamlessly. We finally arrived on the east coast at Baltimore Harbor where Francis Scott Key wrote our beautiful National Anthem as he watched Old Glory flying high over Fort McHenry during the war of 1812. God Bless America.

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Fishing For Freedom Across America

We won a great victory on May 10, 2012 when we got back our freedom to fish on the majority of our South Atlantic seafloor. We lost that freedom based on the lack of data on two fish using the Precautionary Principal from Agenda 21. We can make our public servants listen to us if enough concerned citizens speak with a united voice. I will be traveling across America for the next two weeks giving speeches, doing interviews, and talking to anyone willing to listen about how we can have a much more responsible harvest of our Nation’s seafood. I will be selling calendars and giving out postcards supporting several fishery issues for people to send their members of Congress. You can see the calendar at this link. http://www.freefish7.com/natural-art.html I will include a postcard with every purchase or send you one for free if you do not want a calendar. Send postcard requests and any questions to Chris at. freefish7@hotmail.com Thank you.

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Comprehensive Fishery Management Plan for Feeding People and Limiting Waste

Comprehensive Fishery Management Plan for Feeding People and Limiting Waste

My name is Chris McCaffity. I am a commercial fisherman who has been offering simple solutions that would mitigate many of the severe negative impacts associated with fishery laws that do not follow most of the mandates in the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA). The MSA is a law dictating how America’s fisheries are to be managed and contains requirements like limiting waste, making efficient use of our resources, and promoting fishermen’s safety at sea. Most of the fishery laws that have been rushed through since the reauthorization of the MSA have not followed those three requirements. This has caused tons of perfectly edible seafood to be discarded and wasted while financially devastating fishermen. The financial devastation has caused fishermen to risk life and limb in foul weather trying to make one more trip before a fishery is closed early due to mismanagement of the quotas. This has caused at least one man I know to lose his life. Alan Nelson was out trying to support his 19 month old baby. His death was the event that forced me to do something. I did not want to come home one trip without my deckhand and have to inform his wife and three kids that I lost their father and husband at sea. I am responsible for the safety of my crew regardless of the laws we must follow. It also broke my heart to be forced to throw back so much of our catch even though most of the Regulatory Discards were obviously going to die. The fishery managers seem to feel absolved of any personal responsibility for their actions because they are just doing what they are paid to do.

Please keep an open heart and mind as you consider this comprehensive fishery management plan that I offer as an alternative to HB-353, catch shares, and derby fisheries. This plan could show other nations by example how they can limit waste while feeding more people and allowing stocks to achieve Optimum Yield. It is really not that hard if we simply use sound science, common sense, and remember the Golden rule. We should be focusing on enhancing our resources rather than just restricting access to them. Earth’s oceans and waterways have the potential to always feed many more people than they do now if we properly manage them.

I would like to point out that the vast majority of people involved in fishery management are good people. Most of them have good intentions and just want to earn a paycheck. There are a few public servants in the leadership with other motives. They seem to maliciously mismanage our fisheries in an attempt to advance other agendas like catch shares and area closures. If their actions are not malicious, the only other option is gross incompetence. One example of this is that they refuse to properly manage the lower quotas with possession limits that are adjusted throughout the year to levels that would fill the quotas without any long closures. This creates dangerous derby fisheries like the one that cost Mr. Nelson his life. The fishery manager’s only answer to end this is a catch share scheme that destroys many of the small businesses in every fishery they “help”. Catch shares are not so much a management tool as they are an allocation tool. Big corporations will in time own our fisheries and control your access to local seafood.

Some environmental “charities” have been aggressively advancing Agenda 21 mandates in fishery policy while most of the rest passively support these efforts. Fleet consolidation through catch shares and massive area closures using the Precautionary Principal seem to be the two biggest threats at this time. Some environmentalists even want to ban fishing. I have learned these things the hard way as I initially reached out to the “charities” that showed up at fishery meetings. I did not think they would want countless dead and dying fish to be discarded and wasted. I thought they would have a little compassion for their fellow man and support actions to promote our safety at sea. My blissful ignorance was shattered as one “charity” after another told me things like fishermen are liars and deserve what we are getting. They did not even care about the fish. The Regulatory Discards and compromised safety helped them advance Agenda 21. I have challenged several environmental “charities” to a televised public debate about how we should be managing our fisheries. They have all refused! They should be willing to defend what they are paid to believe. I will state my case and defend it!

There are three key things we need to do to properly manage almost any fishery. Permit holders in individual fisheries should come up with specific management plans for their fishery that follows all of MSA mandates. Fishermen should have final approval of any plan with a 2/3 majority vote of permit holders in the affected fishery.

1. Establish a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for each targeted species and a by-catch allowance for non-target species.

2. Remove all size limits. They have proven to be a government mandated waste of our resources. The fishery managers currently allocate up to 100% of a TAC to Regulatory Discards that are mostly associated with size limits. An average of 30% of a TAC is allocated to dead discards of undersized fish. This adds up to millions of pounds of perfectly edible seafood that is discarded and wasted in the name of conservation.

3. The final part of this simple management plan is to properly manage the quotas with split seasons and possession limits that are adjusted to levels that fill the quotas without any long closure. Here is an example for the approximate Vermilion Snapper TAC.

The Vermilion Snapper TAC is about 1,000,000 pounds. The tragic waste associated with size limits requires about 300,000 pounds be allocated to dead Regulatory Discards. This leaves an Annual Catch Limit (ACL) of 700,000. The ACL should be split into two seasonal quotas that begin with the best times of year to catch them. The first 350,000 pound seasonal quota should begin in March with a Trip Poundage Limit (TPL) of 1,000 pounds for each vessel. The TPL should be adjusted to a level that fills the quota without a long closure after approximately 75% of the seasonal quota has been filled. This is a breakdown of how the adjustments should go.

a. Keep the TPL at 1,000 pounds if there is only one month left in the season.

b. Adjust the TPL to 500 pounds if there are two months left in the season.

c. Adjust the TPL to 300 pounds if there are three months left in the season.

d. Adjust the TPL to 200 pounds if there are four months left in the season.

e. Adjust the TPL to 100 pounds if there are five months left in the season.

The next season would start in September with a 1,000 pound TPL. Any overages from the last quota could be deducted and any unused quota should be added to the next seasonal quota. Every species should be managed this way. We could target the species with high TPLs while still keeping those with lower TPLs. This would achieve any honorable goals of catch shares.

Removing size limits and properly managing the quotas would eliminate most of the waste in our fisheries. We could avoid even more waste with this additional action. Set aside ten percent of each TAC that should be greatly increased with the removal of size limits for the poor. This would create a cushion for both the fish and fishermen. Recreational fishermen could donate any fish they did not want to eat to the quota for the less fortunate. Commercial fishermen could bring in our entire catch and sell our possession limits. Any overages could be donated to the quota for the poor rather than discarding the seafood or facing heavy fines, seizure of our property, and even imprisonment. This would allow us to make wise use of everything that is being killed while collecting accurate date to use in credible stock assessments and for properly managing quotas. This would provide consumers with a dependable supply of safe American seafood throughout the entire year. It would also allow fishermen to work all year. It would follow the MSA mandates to limit waste, make efficient use of our resources, and promote our safety at sea. We should not be torturing fish to death and wasting them to “help” them. We should kill what we catch quickly and use it wisely. Everything landed should be counted against the possession limits and the quotas.

There are three key things needed to enhance a stock of fish in the water or wildlife on land.

1. Increase the amount of food available.

2. Increase the amount of shelter available.

3. Predatory stress invokes a reproductive response.

Keeping the fisheries open all year creates consistent predatory stress that causes fish to produce more offspring. Removing the size limits also allows more of the large breeders to continue replenishing the stock. Removing nothing but the large fish causes the gene pool to be polluted by runts and smaller fish. We are left with a glut of small, weak, slow-growing fish. This negatively impacts the overall health of the stock and the average size of the fish in it.

The amount of food and shelter could be increased with an aggressive Artificial Reef (AR) program. ARs are the perfect union of aquaculture and commercially or recreationally harvested wild fish. The ARs can be very cheap and effective. We can feed many more people than we do now if we enhance our resources rather than always restricting our access to them.

Inshore fisheries could be helped with portable aerators that could be moved to areas with low oxygen levels that cause millions of fish to suffocate every year. The aerators could also help to break down pollutants and keep Speckled Trout from freezing to death during cold-stun events.

One of the unintended consequences of the mismanagement of our fisheries is that we are losing many of the places on the water to unload our seafood. I would like to see some of the grant money for working waterfronts and funds from the Saltonstall-Kennedy tax on imported seafood be used to create Community Seafood Unloading and Processing Facilities (CSUPF). These waterfront facilities should be accessible to existing dealers and seafood markets. They could double as museums to preserve the fishing heritage of the area where they are built. Tourist and locals could visit the museums and also watch as local seafood is unloaded, inspected, and labeled as Wild Caught Seafood from the state the facility is located in. The CSUPFs would also be a great place for scientists and students to collect tissue samples and take measurements of many different kinds of seafood. Markets could be cultivated for underutilized species like the skates and rays that are eating most of the Bay Scallops in North Carolina before fishermen have a chance to harvest them for consumers. Marine patrol officers could watch as catches are unloaded. They could collect any seafood that exceeded possession limits for the quota set aside for the poor. The cleaned seafood could be shipped to soup kitchens and food pantries. This would feed many hungry people across America every day.

These common sense solutions are based on a deep love of the sea as well as input from fellow fishermen, fishery managers, environmentalists, and concerned citizens. I tried to come up with ideas that are easy to implement and enforce while benefiting all user groups and our marine resources. We could actually increase the amount of seafood available for recreational and commercial harvest while feeding many more people and allowing stocks to rebuild from decades of mismanagement. We could do this without causing hard-working American fishermen to be forced out of their chosen profession or compromising our safety at sea. We could also stop wasting tons of perfectly good seafood. We simply need to use sound science, the slightest bit of common sense, and remember the Golden Rule.

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly challenge PEW, ED, CCA, and any other charity involved in fishery issues to an online typed debate that anyone interested can view. I also extend this debate challenge to Roy Crabtree, Gregg Waugh, David Cupka, Tom Burgess, or any member of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Please contact me if you will accept my debate challenge or want to observe it. freefish7@hotmail.com I will be happy answer any questions about things like removing size limits or how Artificial Reefs can be the perfect union of aquaculture and commercially harvested wild fish. I want to have an honest discussion about how we can always have a responsible harvest of healthy fisheries with very little or no waste.

Please take a few minutes to send a copy of my plan to your politicians and these people.

This is a link to members of the U.S. Senate: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
This is a link to members of the U.S. House of Representatives: http://www.house.gov/representatives/
This is a link to members of the N.C. Legislature: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/
This is an e-mail address for the N.C. Maritime Strategy Committee: info@ncmaritimestudy.com
This is an e-mail address for N.C. Governor Perdue: governor.office@nc.gov
This is an e-mail address for PEW: info@pewenvironment.org
This is an e-mail address for Environmental Defense: contact@environmentaldefense.org
This is an e-mail address for the Coastal Conservation Association: stephen@ccanc.org
This is an e-mail address for Roy Crabtree: roy.crabtree@noaa.gov
This is an e-mail address for Gregg Waugh: waugh@safmc.net
This is an e-mail address for David Cupka: palmettobooks@bellsouth.net
This is an e-mail address for Tom Burgess: tburgess@embarqmail.com

I know this is a lot of people to contact. Please just send a copy of the plan or a link to it to at least one person whenever you can spare a minute of internet time. You will be helping to feed the hungry and stop the waste of our resources. Think of it like the games many people play online, but one that actually benefits society and does more than pass time. Please help me defend this freedom and resource that I love the way you would like me to help you if the roles were reveresed. This is a great way to practice the Golden Rule. The only way any of this plan will be implemented is if enough concerned citizens show their support for it. Thank you!

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Our united front stopped a loss of Liberty

We the People stopped government bureaucrats from taking our freedom to recreationally and commercially bottom fish on over 4,800 square miles of our seafloor. Our united voice was loud enough that they could not ignore it. We can defend Liberty and make our government listen to us if we stand united against any attack on our GOD given freedom.  

The area closure we stopped was the one in Amendment 17A. We still need to stop the much larger area closure in Amendment 17B. That closure will take our freedom to fish our seafloor from 240′ of water out to the end of the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone from Virginia to Key West. The bureaucrats will not even calculate how many square miles this is. They want to take this freedom to fish based on the lack of data on two fish. They will destroy our jobs and take your freedom to access safe American seafood from those waters because their ignorance. The Warsaw Grouper and Speckled Hind have never been species with high numbers in the U.S. South Atlantic. Some fish are naturally more abundant than others. We can have healthy populations of those species without the loss of Liberty.

The Sec. of Commerce, Gary Locke, is the man who will sign away this freedom to fish. We the People can stop him if enough Liberty loving Americans will ask him not to sign Amendment 17B. This is a very simple way for you to get involved and help pass a little more of our GOD given freedom on to the next generation. Please contact Sec. Locke at TheSec@doc.gov or (202) 482-2000.

Thank you so much for your help defending this freedom I love. We have won a great victory and I am confident we can stop the area closure in Amendment 17B. I also want to help you defend a Liberty you cherish if it is threatened. Please go to the United Front page of my website to learn how we can work together to defend all of our GOD given freedoms. www.freefish7.com

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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

Our government has given us much to complain about lately. I have spent the last year pointing out the “evils of bureaucracy” that are wasting our resources, destroying our businesses, hurting our families, taking our freedom, and compromising our safety at sea. I want to use this Thanksgiving to tell the world about the many blessings I am thankful for.

I would like to start by thanking GOD for our freedom and all of the many blessing HE has bestowed upon us. I would also like to thank the brave men and women in America’s military that allow us to keep some of our GOD given freedom. Without their sacrifice, where would we be? What language would we speak? What religion would we be forced to except under penalty of torture, imprisonment, or death? What foreign country would rule us like slaves? What comforts we enjoy would we still have? What GOD given freedom would remain?  

I am thankful to have been born in America at this time in history. Even the poor in this great Nation live like kings compared to almost any other place or time. For thousands of years even the kings did not have the simple comforts we enjoy today. They never had the pain killers we do for dentistry or surgery. They never had air conditioning or indoor plumbing. They did not even have toilet paper. The kings did not have access to the wide variety of food that we are blessed with. Our GOD given freedom that America has allowed us to enjoy for a brief moment in history has brought innovation like the world has never seen.

I am thankful for my wonderful family. My beautiful wife has stood by side through good times and bad. She gave me two extraordinary children that have made me rich beyond my wildest dreams. My daughter touched my heart the way that only Daddy’s little girl can. Some of the few words GOD said sum up my feelings for my son. “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” I have a special relationship with my Grandmothers. I treasure all of the wonderful memories we have made together and look forward to many more. My two brothers are great men that I respect and admire. My Dad is a kind and generous man that introduced GOD into my life. My Mom was young and could have aborted me. Thank you Mom, for letting me keep the life GOD gave me. She helped instill in me a love for America, respect for my elders, and compassion for my fellow man. I love all of my family and thank GOD for them.

These are some of the things that I sometimes take for granted. I am thankful for my job, for my home, and for my dog. I am thankful for the food on my plate. I am thankful for clean water to drink and shower with. I am thankful for all of the beauty that surrounds us in nature. I am thankful for the talents GOD gave me. I am thankful for the chance to see and photograph so many of HIS excellent creations. I am thankful for the chance to peacefully defend the freedom GOD gave us. I am thankful GOD sent his only SON to show us by example and HIS teachings how we should live. I am thankful that JESUS shed his blood and died on the cross to forgive my sins and give my soul everlasting life.

It is important to take the time every once in a while to appreciate the many blessing we receive each and every day. We risk losing those blessings if we do not even realize we have them. We are blessed with freedom few have ever known in human history. We should not take it for granted. The human spirit desires freedom. The spirit of some people also desires to rule their fellow man and restrict our GOD given freedom. We must teach our children the importance of freedom and just how fragile it is. We need to remember “the struggle, persecution, hardship, sacrifice, and death by which freedom of the individual was won.”  If we just sit by, full of apathy, and do nothing, the next generation will not know the freedom we have known.

This Thanksgiving, spend time with your families like you may never have another chance to. What would you give to have one more holiday with a loved one that is waiting for you in Heaven? On your death bed, the things you accumulated over your life will mean little and you will take none of it with you. The memories you made with your loved ones will be what you treasure most and will follow you into the next life. Go with GOD, love your family, hug your kids, enjoy America, and peacefully defend our freedom every day.

Thank you GOD for all of this and so much more. I am truly blessed.

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