What Happened to Our Fish?

Thwart Fisheries Management Corruption!

Early this year, Fox 8 News in New Orleans blew wide open the corruption in our Gulf of Mexico fisheries management. They broadcast a five-part investigative report by Sr Investigative Reporter Lee Zurik entitled “Hooked Up”. You can watch all five episodes by searching “fox8live.com/category/322517/hooked-up-a-lee-zurik-investigation”. If you haven’t seen these videos, be prepared to be enlightened to the facts of the corruption and influence on our politicians by major donors in the commercial fish harvesting business, and the organizations that fund them.

When large, well-funded organizations with “all about profit” incentives, such as the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), want something – they throw never-ending dollars and litigation at anything and anybody to get it. Recreational fishermen are in the cross hairs of their sights in their pursuit of the multi-million dollar profits from harvesting the public’s fisheries resources. Squelching ordinary citizen’s rights (and often Public Trusts) is perceived simply as ‘collateral damage’. This time the EDF is aiming for your fishing rights. While you may know who they are – they will never know you exist. They perceive you have no rights, and no legitimacy to disagree with their pursuit of profits at the public’s expense. They will never know (nor care) how many fisher-families are no longer on the water – because your loss simply means their mission was successful.

The only people with the power to update legislation to meet our needs are your Congressmen and Senators. There are millions of dollars out there chasing the campaigns of our Congressmen and Senators. Have you checked lately to see who contributes to your officials’ election campaigns? (http://classic.fec.gov/finance/disclosure/candcmte-info.shtml)

The objective of the EDF, working directly as well as through its surrogates (Charter Fisherman’s Associatioin, Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders Alliance, etc.) is to financially “support” the federal politicians who actively fight for uneven splits of our publicly-owned fisheries, gifting the resource to the financial benefit of major fish harvesting corporations. Those beneficiaries, in turn, then provide tremendous campaign funding to those politicians. With the “support” of their financially-supported “friendly” politicians, the Gulf “Sea Lords” have taken personal ownership of the majority of the public’s Gulf fishery resource – generating a cash windfall for them – all at your expense.

Our fisheries have fallen prey to staggering amounts money being tossed into political pockets. Politicians right in our own backyard have received tens of thousands from single sources (often through multiple related entities) to keep, or bring into power, politicians who are “friendly” to a group’s for-profit purpose.

Organizations committed to fisheries conservation and recreational fishing are working to protect your rights. There are several of these groups and they each have missions that, all or in part, are aimed at exposing the corruption and driving legitimacy back into both the political arena and our fisheries management. They are actively lobbying with influential contacts throughout Washington. (Check their websites to see how you can contribute to their initiatives.)

Some of these groups include:

  • American Sportfishing Association
  • Center for Sportfishing Policy
  • Coastal Conservation Association
  • Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
  • International Gamefish Association
  • Recreational Fishing Alliance
  • The Billfish Foundation
  • Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership


Your greatest opportunity to influence our fisheries management is rapidly approaching. Party primary elections will be held in Texas on May 6th with early voting beginning on February 20th. Vote in the Primary – chose who you want to represent your rights!

Register to vote in Texas by February 5th 2018 and vote in your party’s primary – this is critical where your incumbent Senate or Congressional candidate doesn’t actively support your fishing rights (a.k.a. does not support the “Modern Fish Act”).

In districts where the same party will likely stay in power (but where the incumbent has proven to be “friendly” to the wrong side of the recreational fishing issue), the party’s Primary Election is THE PLACE you can “fix” the mess for fishermen. By voting for the challenger on the party’s ticket you can oust the incumbent, long before the general election in November. With respect to fisheries management, there are a few” good guys” we need to support and a bunch whose intentions are opposite of the public’s interest. Still others have never stepped up – they are politically “riding both sides of the fence” rather than supporting recreational fishermen.

Fishermen: if there was ever a time when we need to unite, this is it! The March 2018 primaries are where we can “drain the swamp”. Let’s replace all incumbents who are either against recreational fishermen’s interests or who have failed to step up and demonstrate support.

Be sure you are registered to vote and have affiliated with the party where you want to cast a deciding primary vote. Then mark your calendar and VOTE IN THE PRIMARY!!!!!

Learn more or join the conversation on our Facebook page “WhatHappenedToOurFish?” or email us at RecreationalFishermen@gmail.com