The Ga Red Fish “Crisis” returns for a third attempt

Note: this was an article I wrote in 2010 concerning Game Fish Statutes for the Redfish in my home state. The Bill Failed. and now is brought back again in 2013 with the same fears and strawmen. it is very much like the current Gun Control issue, create more law to protect against (in this case perceived) threats and unlawful people…like that works  ( think gun control). Here, as then it is a mechanism for a money stream and when combined w/ the Ga State Legislature surrendering their control of saltwater in 2012 to career bureaucrats, it further strengthens control of resources over the will of the citizen.

Before I learned to hunt, I learned to fish, .We were members of a community dock on the Skidaway River and before I learned to swim off that dock I was catching fish with my mother. We still have those old pictures. Me with a string of fish and a Mickey Mouse fishing rod, Mom pregnant with my brother and a bandanna in her hair.
We did not catch a lot of redfish in those days. We didn’t know it but you had to get away from the dock and the redfish stocks were not like they are today. Over the years I became familiar with these fish and it was a slow process. I was always limited by something. Lack of tackle, lack of skill, lack of a boat was all factors impeding my catching ability. I never knew I was also working in an environment that was also lacking in Red Fish.
Those days are gone. I now have tackle, I have skill, and thanks to conservation grounded in science, I have plenty of Red Fish to hone my skills on. And in the Wassaw sound that arguably gets the most pressure from fishermen in the state, there are days now that I must return most of my fish to the water as they exceed the 23 inch limits. Returning over-sized fish to the water is fine with me. That’s how Georgia has managed to maintain its stock. By collecting data and adjusting creel and slot limits over the years we have seen a surge in catches. Add in the Federal ban and State release of hatchlings and we really have gone along way from the early years.
But there seems to be some concern among other Georgia fishermen that the current laws are not enough. A group known as Georgia Red Fish .Org has a petition drive to gather signatures to compel the state legislature to give the red fish the status of Game Fish. When I was alerted to this I was a bit confused as I had always thought that they were a game fish because in the DNR regulations they are listed as such. So I went looking for answers.
The first place I looked was their web site. There was their petition seeking to address issues that are already covered by current law: Commercial sale of red fish, the methods of catching red fish, and some fluff about “boosting confidence in the management of the species”.
First, the commercial harvest of red fish in state waters is already regulated.
There is no Federal harvest. The web site had no data on the state commercial harvest of red fish.
Second, the methods used to catch red fish are regulated as well. These are methods the lobby group did not like, but there was no data on the harvest rates of them.
Their third point…” boosting confidence in the management of the species”, I do not understand at all unless it is some contrived attempt to enable politicians to feel better about themselves and voting for the change.

(Note to self: when asking for legislation always include something that allows lawmakers to pat themselves on the back)
Faced with no data supporting Georgia Red Fish.Org’s fears I searched elsewhere and found an article in Georgia Outdoor News. This article was written by GON staff and heavily quotes Spud Woodward, head of marine fisheries management for DNR’s Coastal Resources Division and a member of Georgia Red Fish.Org. In the article Mr. Woodward mentions hearing of possible violations of the red fish regulations, but he provides no data which is a reoccurring theme throughout my search. He does lament the lack of funding to boat more officers to patrol for violations. He suspects that there are fishermen selling unreported catches of red fish from their trucks, but has no data to support it. Mike Duckworth of Brunswick also mentions in this article that the law enforcement section needs to be fully funded and game fish status would be a valuable tool towards that end. What does that mean? To my ears, it sounds like a tax to fund those wants. In this same article, there is the notation that CCA of Ga pursued this status once and failed due to lack of data to show it was warranted.

The next article I found was in TIDES. This article was written by Mr. Woodward and is filled with data on the history of the species, the recovery of the species, and changes in the regulations that brought about that recovery. However when it came to his and Georgia Red Fish.Org’s “concerns”, there was no data provided.
I was becoming increasingly frustrated by the continuing lack of data to support this effort so I registered to Georgia Red Fish.Org and blogged my questions. They remained posted for a few days, and then my questions were scrubbed from the site. I reposted my request for data to support their claims of regulatory abuse…and I was banned from the site. Faced with this I emailed one of their members Captain Greg Hildreth my questions…and got no reply. I called another member Scott Wagner and left a message and have had no reply. So I decided to go to the true authority on the issue, Mr. Woodward.
Mr. Woodward returned my call and answered my questions…and left me with no doubt there was something fishy going on. He specifically told me two times that the DNR was neutral in this lobby effort. He told me there was no data to support the fears of the lobby group either in the alternative methods of harvest or in the perceived abuse of state commercial regulations. This I found disturbing. He did say there was a new study due out this year. I asked if by writing so glowingly of the lobby’s efforts he was giving credibility to their cause. He said “I can see where it could look like that”. He then gave me a line that I had read in one of the articles…”this game fish status would be an important tool for conservation”. I asked if that tool would provide leverage to make it easier to regulate/reduce creel and slot sizes. He said again, “I can see where it could look like that”. I asked if it would be easier to implement a Tax to fund the DNR’s needs with the new status.
He replied, “a tax?”
“Yes, a redfish Stamp to harvest the fish.”
“I can see where it could look like that”.
While not a definitive yes or no, knowing the way government works, and years of parsing political speak, I took that as a yes. It would be easier to enact an additional tax to harvest a fish. That is on top of the tax already charged to fish in state water.
Mr. Woodward was very polite and I do not know if it was his deep voice or not, but he certainly sounded resigned in answering my questions.
( I discovered later via an errant CC on an email the gang at CRD and their friends in Savannah and the State were very disturbed about my inquires and subsequent relaying of information to member of the GA and were pondering what do about me.)

I find this behavior very disturbing. One on the part of special interest lobby groups who seek government action to make it easier for agencies to increase regulation and tax citizens for their programs based on nothing more than concerns.
Second, the actions of Mr. Woodward lend credibility to the lobbies cause. I have a degree in Biology, and somehow I thought that conservation should utilize science as a mechanism to plan and set goals…but here is a “neutral” state agency appearing to work with a private lobby to base conservation planning on speculation and hearsay.

The proponents of this status use words like limit, release, and “redfish are too valuable to catch just once”. As much as it costs to spend a day on the water fishing, I value and want to keep my creel limits. Some fly fishermen love just catching the fish, I take much more enjoyment. Not only do I enjoy catching red fish, I enjoy sharing the meal with my family. I do not want to be reduced to 2 trips to accumulate that meal if there is no data to show that stocks are in decline and require a reduction in creel limits. I do not want an added cost in the form of a red fish stamp.

There is a disturbing trend in the world right now. It is the Management and Art of the Crisis. Everywhere we look the sky is falling and people are telling us rapid action is required and we must be proactive. Action is taxes and new laws to arrest the crisis, proactive in this case means doing something before the facts are found. That is what I see in the Red Fish Crisis. Much like Global warming, the data is incomplete yet there is a clear path to redemption. And along the way the money will flow to those making a living pointing at the sky. Like the anti gun crowd, more law will soothe their concerns but not affect anyone breaking the law. Only those of us that follow the law will be affected.
I take great offence in special interests presuming to know what is best for me and my remaining liberties. I am further appalled by the glossy manner they use to side step facts and utilize fear to aid their cause. Governments tend not to increase freedom. I think great care should be taken before yielding any more to them, especially at the urging of special interests and not the citizens in mass.


Chris Weaver for D2 BOCC

statism [ˈsteɪtɪzəm]

(Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the theory or practice of concentrating economic and political power in the state, resulting in a weak position for the individual or community with respect to the government
Example: look at the European Union

I’m a bit slow in remarking on this, but in reading Indy Weeks Candidate Endorsements I was struck by this from Penny Rich:

“She identifies as a progressive liberal, and she isn’t afraid to take controversial but necessary stands. Case in point: she wants to keep Orange County trash in Orange by siting small landfills across the county. Rich also wants the county to build a homeless shelter and quit depending on the generosity of the Inter-Faith Council and the religious community.”

Small landfills? Locations please? Are we to expect the same promises made to the RENA community? As a History refresher…which  political party made those promises? the same…

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Kris Anne Hall to teach a seminar on the Constitution

Kris Anne Hall to teach a seminar on the Constitution and founding of the country. With her amazing credentials and testimonials we welcome her to Hillsborough March 24. Feel free to look over her bio at

This five hour seminar, appropriate for high school and older, will be held at the Big Barn in Daniel Boone Village from 10-3 on March 24. A $15 charge will be collected at the door to help cover the rental and pizza delivered for a break. Any excess money will be donated to KrisAnne Hall to help cover her expenses; she is traveling from Florida. google map of Big Barn

We are truly excited to meet her and do hope you will be able to attend.

Gov Loss of Faith

Concerned gun owners stopped the Board from passing an arbitrary ban on weapons. The BOCC faced with saturation emails and a short list of speakers pulled off the consent agenda where it was headed for a stamp vote of passage. After hearing from the County Attorney about pending lawsuits in other counties addressing similar bans, the floor was opened for public comments. Three Citizens spoke for possibly 15-20 people there for the same concern, and induced enough pause in the minds of the Board to have them table the ban for time to review the nature of the county properties and gather more public comment.
In listening to the Board, it was interesting to note that the initial pull from consent agenda was due to the inclusion of knives in the ban. Board members expressed concern as knives are common tools and many carried them to board meetings. The strange part is, had concerned citizens not spoken up, even knives would have gone under the radar. More importantly, this shows the compulsion of the BOCC to react to Freedoms Gained by the citizens of the State via HB650, the Castle Law. This was mentioned by the County Attorney and the ban was called a return of “Balance” in light of the passage of HB650. In the rush to pass a ban by placing it on a consent agenda, the BOCC was ready to rubber stamp a ban that lumped knives with weapons of mass destruction….AND AS CURRENTLY WRITTEN oversteps the State code section they utilize to regulate areas…by including OPEN CARRY in their Ban under the pretense of  Section 14.415.23 of HB 650…that authorizes a County’s leeway on CONCEALED ONLY.

“Balance” implies that the State provided/returned liberty to the Citizen that the BOCC wishes to take away. As we stand now, the BOCC has not specifically identified who they are restraining and who they seek to protect. The answer would seem to be one and the same, Lawful Citizens. The real effect is protecting criminals. The BOCC doesn’t trust the citizen, and fails to grasp the unintended consequences.

As parks and situations were discussed, it was distressing to hear Commissioners mix the actions and behaviors of criminals with lawful citizens. There seemed to be zero faith in the lawful citizen. One commissioner seemed to have no problem with the proper possession of a weapon to a citizen for personal security on a walking trail, but not if that citizen walks over to a picnic area. She trusted the citizen on a trail, but not in the presence of a picnic table. This complete lack of faith in the lawful citizen over some arbitrary boundary was evident in much of the dialog of the BOCC.
It is this loss of faith that is most disturbing. This board placed an item on the consent agenda to rubber stamp adding more control (than even the state will allow: see above) and regulation to lawful citizens because they lack faith in the citizen to control themselves.
This paternal characteristic is not the role of government and indicates the position of the BOCC is greater than those who elected them. Yes, they paused when confronted. But had no one noticed and spread the word of the board’s intent, we would be under this new rule today.
The Citizens of Orange have but a short time to review the law and gather like minded opinions. Many will understand laws are created to control the lawful and criminals will disregard weapons free zones except for the ease of targets. Many will favor limiting the rights of lawful citizens as they too have little faith in a persons not employed by the Law from caring a weapon for protection as a Paternal Government is favored for that role.
In the forthcoming discussions it is important to remember that lawful citizens are regulated and controlled already as to how and where they can possess their lawful weapon. It will be important to not allow the mixing of the habits of criminals with them, nor the habits of Terrorists utilizing weapons of mass destruction.

When the predator looks down upon the sheep it will not choose the sheep wearing a dog. Some sheep choose to hide their dog and blend in with prey. That is their choice. But when the government places a ban on all dogs and posts a sign declaring such, the only thing the predator reads is “open season”.

On Third Party/write-ins on the Presidential election

From a post at NC Hunt And Fish:

The primary is where you vote your ideals.
Seems a lesson should have been learned from Perot.
Anyone that votes 3rd party or write in the general…well lets just say I have a hard time seeing them as a team player in the red zone.
If they cannot be counted on there, where else may allegiances be suspect?

In a matter of paramount importance on the course of the nation, to apply convictions so resolutely as to enable the continued demise of the union is tantamount abusive narcissism. To stand in the conflagration and denounce water as an affront to a puritan ideal is admirable, if you are the only one subjected to the flame.

Weapons Ban in Orange

Weapons Ban in Orange.

Good luck to Dwight Basset

This is a comment in regards to a blog about the  Economic Development Officer for Chapel Hill

Sustainable community…. Well there is 50% of what stifles development; the other half from what I can tell is taxation. The county and CH partnerships w/ ICLEI and thus the UN Agenda 21, have combined w/ the overt progressive eco mentality to create barriers to Development.  The list of large companies and developments opting to build just outside of the county line screams to be addressed. These counties recoup all the revenue. Not….that Orange County or CH would be frugal with the proceeds…No, that course is for the lightheaded. The tail that wags the dog has a penchant for spending. If 3 Walmarts, a Cabelas, and a Factory outlet mall landed in Orange overnight the odds are there would be a revenue shortage in short order and prior to that there certainly would be no relief to the property owner. Bankruptcies have increased and well as foreclosures on Orange. Things are not looking good and the slight of hand gang may be angling to place another Giddy Agenda 21 derived Transit tax on the May ballots (to once again bank on the low turn outs).

Orange will not become stabilized until the Tail (CH/BOCC) comes out of it’s eco stupor and starts embracing American values instead of the UN’s and their eco plans to limit American growth.

Good luck to Dwight Basset….but he must realize that where he lives is symptomatic of the Orange conundrum. Interestingly as Alamance becomes more economically stronger by embracing development…His home value will increase. The job he has is to essentially increase the value of Orange/CH…but if the history of liberalism remains true…it will not matter what he tries…his house in Alamance will increase in value and he soon be able afford a larger house in Orange as citizens flee taxes and devaluation and regulation. Think of his reduced carbon foot print not driving 27 miles one way….makes you warm and fuzzy right?

March 5th ,12

Good News for Mr Basset. He has left his position at Chapel Hill to be the Economics Director of Raleigh. He leave behind 2x the poverty rate and a 32% increase in county tax rates alone. This sea of opportunity lying just across Orange should make his drive  from Alamance that much easier.

I hope for CH and Orange the next Economics Director for CH has taste for big challenges.

Chris Weaver

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