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David Jolly Joins Pinellas County Fishing Community Representatives to Discuss Key Local Fishing Issues
Clearwater, Fla. – David Jolly, Republican candidate for Florida Congressional District 13, today joined members of the Pinellas County fishing community and Mayor Travis Palladeno of Madeira Beach at Sculley’s Restaurant at John’s Pass to discuss key local issues important to the commercial and recreational fishing communities in Pinellas County.
In addition to Mayor Palladeno, Jolly was joined by Denny O’Hern, head of the Fishing Rights Alliance (FRA), Bob Spaeth, executive director of the Southern Offshore Fishing Association, Mark Hubbard, president of Hubbard’s Marina, Dr. Heyward Mathews, an oceanographer who started the Clearwater Artificial Reef Program, and numerous local commercial and recreational fishermen.
“This race is about Pinellas County,” said Jolly. “Recreational and commercial fishing have been critical to our quality of life and our economy here in Pinellas for generations. We must do more to responsibly reduce the number of fishery closures and to invest in responsible stock enhancement. After meeting jointly with members of the FRA, the Southern Offshore Fishing Association, Mayor Palladeno and marine scientists, we agree that it is time to improve how we manage fishery closures that hurt our economy and our way of life. We’ve agreed on four broad principles to pursue:
1. move the decision making process on fishery closures from the National Marine Fisheries Service in Washington to the regional council level closest to the local stakeholders in our state and community – in our case, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council;
2. remove the Department of Commerce’s ability to veto gubernatorial appointments to the regional councils;
3. redirect current funding to further invest in enhanced fish habitats; and,
4. redirect current funding to improve research related to survivability of juvenile fish stocks.”
“We don’t need decisions made in D.C. that adversely impact us locally,” said Mayor Travis Palladeno of Madeira Beach. “Closures and regulatory decisions should be overseen by someone who is here and knows the local issues and the impact that those decisions have on our area. We need to elect members of Congress who are local and care about and understand local issues that impact our local fishing communities – commercial and recreational.”
“The FRA’s mission is to protect anglers’ fishing rights, advocate for sound management and conservation of marine resources and maximize the opportunity to fish. Unfortunately, increased regulations and bureaucrats in Washington have stifled our industry,” said Denny O’Hern, head of the FRA. “From the first time we met with David, we knew we had a local candidate who knows about our needs and cares about our industry. Flawed fisheries data causes unnecessary and damaging closures for certain species. The National Marine Fisheries Services only measures what goes out and consistently fails to take into consideration what comes in, resulting in flawed counts and in turn – failed policies.”
“Fishing laws should be reasonable and backed by peer-reviewed data, but as it stands right now in Pinellas County, they are not,” said Bob Spaeth, executive director of the Southern Offshore Fishing Association. “When local fishing laws are arbitrary and made by those who are not directly impacted, you have laws that stifle the economy and, in this case, hurt local jobs and small businesses. We know that David will fight for local jobs and is deeply rooted in this industry. David Jolly wants to help us establish a sorely-needed balance between fishing and the consumer, and we need to send him to Congress to do good work for our local community.”
“I have lived here my entire life and I know what restrictive regulations do to commercial and recreational fishermen and boat captains for hire who rely on this industry for their way of life,” said Captain Mark Hubbard, president of Hubbard’s Marina. “I take customers, recreational residents and visitors out on charter trips to fish, so I want our fish population managed correctly. As a charter boat captain, I know the damage poor regulations and programs have on my business and those in the Pinellas charter boat industry. We need to work together and elect David Jolly to Congress.”
“Having worked on artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico off of Pinellas for nearly 50 years now, I know the environmental and economic impacts these DC-based decisions have on our fishing population and the commercial and recreational fishing industry,” said Dr. Mathews, a well-known local oceanographer, scuba diving instructor and professor emeritus at St. Petersburg College. “I could not be more proud today to stand beside my nephew, David Jolly, as he pledges to fight for our local community and our vital fishing industry. Local input and fact-based decision making is crucial, and without it, we are not only damaging the environment but also crippling our local economy. I have spent nearly five decades working on issues important to our marine industry and I know that David Jolly will be our champion in Washington if we work together to get him there.”
“One third of the grouper caught in the entire Gulf of Mexico comes through John’s Pass. This is a big part of our local economy and fisheries management issues are vital to both our commercial and sport fishermen,” added Jolly. “I support our local fishermen and these organizations advocating to move the decision-making process from Washington to the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council, whose members are appointed by the five Governors of the region.”
For more information on the FRA, please visit www.thefra.org. For more information on the Southern Offshore Fishing Association, please visit www.southernoffshorefishingassociation.com. For more information on Hubbard’s Marina, please visit www.hubbardsmarina.com.