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This quarrel between the RFA and JCAA is a seriously troubling thing, not just in a striper sense but also in a solidarity sense.

I do not like the aggression with which JCAA has gone after RFA for daring to think independently. Such intolerance is near lethally divisive and, for me, strikes a familiar cord.

I?m a nature writer and editor. I was close to JCAA and Tom Fote from the get-go. And it was good relationship. However, it ended almost overnight, unnecessarily by my way of thinking.

What happened: I dared to disagree on one single issue. And just like that I was ostracized. I kid you not.

As I recall, I just couldn?t concur with plans by JCAA to fight for Sunday clamming; not only wasn?t it a fishing issue, but it was dangerously close to a blind obsession by Fote to go after commercial fishermen and baymen.

Sure, I came on strongly against Sunday clamming, primarily because the stocks were already reeling. But, out of the blue, Fote labeled me as a ?commercial baymen? because, like all kids growing up along the coast, I clammed for a living.

Here I had agreed with 99 percent of what JCAA was doing and I was suddenly just this side of Satan because I wouldn?t bite at Sunday clamming. I have been unable to fully affiliate with the group every since.

I am not anti-JCAA. I feel they do profoundly good things for the sport and I often rain praises upon their ongoing effort. However, I?m not the only person ? or group ? that has felt this hair trigger response on the part of JCAA toward dissenters.

While JCAA can easily afford to sever relationships with smalltime players like me, it CANNOT afford to alienate the likes of the RFA. Conversely, the RFA loses tremendous leverage without a sound backing by JCAA.

This is not to say cooler heads won?t prevail but even a lingering doubt between these two premier fishing organizations could politically devastate recreational fishing, which already has a brutal time fighting for its rights.
 

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Well, I said in another post somewhere that I was taken back by the strongly worded denouncement of the RFA in the most recent JCAA newsletter. It's my opinion that the JCAA position on striped bass regs was a weak one. Furthermore, the denouncement of the RFA is based on assumptions that simply haven't come to pass ie: that the trophy bass program would be exhausted of fish. (the quota used up)

At any rate, I agree that a dispute between these two organizations is bad for us all.

Phil
 

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This dispute has been going on for a long time, and the description above is accurate for how many people have been alienated from said organization. The trophy program running out once these regs have been in place for a full year (they aren't even in place yet) is a very real possibility, but other than that most of JCAA's reasons were unsupportable in my opinion. While I did not want what RFA did, and neither did my members, once the decision was made I did not try to submarine the process because I did not get my way, JCAA did. I guess all that talk about just set the regs this way for the rest of the year and then change them next year was only if it was what they wanted. Had the regs been 2 @28", and the slot fish proponents had made comments like JCAA and contacted public officials to not vote for the bill (and advocate as much right in their newsletter like JCAA) the JCAA and others would have screamed bloddy murder. Of course since the shoe is on the other foot it's OK. I was and still am very disappointed in the way JCAA has handled this. While I neither work for nor get paid by RFA, they were up front and open about this the minute they took an official position, just like JCAA did. The animosity and arguing has little to do with stripers, or any other fish for that matter, it's about other things.

RFA does not weaken it's position one iota without JCAA support. While on a state level (and rightfully so) all groups from NJ have a say and an impact, JCAA is non-existent at the ASMFC level except for Tom's seat on the commission itself and they are also no shows at the Federal level, again other than Tom being involved whenever and wherever he can...the man dedicates alot of time to these issues, hats off to him for sure.

However, RFA and JCAA are not on the same playing field (and that's not a knock on either of them, it's just the truth) RFA is a semi-national organization, with chapters in many states, a political lobbying arm, etc. JCAA is a local representative group (which is also very important, again I'm not knocking them) so while it would be nice to have everyone agree on local state topics, reality is you will never get everyone to agree on anything. You can only hope the majority will agree.

[ 07-05-2004, 10:20 AM: Message edited by: CaptTB ]
 

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One other thing, this statement was in the newsletter,

"you can blame the RFA if the trophy quota is used up" or words to that effect.

hmmmmm...who do they think I'll blame if the striper season is shut down in the fall?
 

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What quarrel? Each group had a different position.
One group decided to take a cheap shot at the other based on a very weak argument.
 

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This kind of stuff between 2 fishing friendly organizations is a disgrace to the sport i love! here is a novel idea.

can't we all just figure a way to get along and pool our resources to save (or make better) our fisheries for future generations.

i would think that the minute we stop fighting with each other and focus on the task at hand (even if we don't agree on every aspect), the better off we all are.

why can't we put these energies to better use.
 

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I don't Know, But Everyone in this State
better get their acts together over the next
two months or its going to be a Very Long
FALL & WINTER Around here if we Cannot
Fish For Stripers In New Jersey..............
 

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Yep! A bunch of grown men acting like ******** over a fish. Don't get me wrong I love fishing as much or more than most and support the RFA and all who fight for our rights to fish but **** like this sickens me. I read everything and promised myself I'de stay put of "political" discussion so sorry for the rant but I believe it was a shot and unecessary. I want to resort to name calling but that would be on "others" level and it's wrong. The truth of the matter is UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL! Get UR heads out of UR arses!

You guys are so blinded by your beliefs you don't know you pizzer from you r Azzes. They are fish and we are man. The bloodsuckers are the politicians and we need to squash them before they infect all of us. They ned to fear our resolve, not laugh at our ignorance.

Freedom to fish is all I ask! My personal regulations are more conservative than the State's as are most!
AGHH!!

P.S.
Thanks to all that fight for us, I cannot help because I like to stay calm, If you didn't notice I cannot stand politics and the acting and phoney BS that gos on with it. I will send $$ when I can to those who can stomach it and look out for us.

Cheers to you guys

Proud RFA member

[ 07-07-2004, 10:57 AM: Message edited by: RodFather ]
 

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Having read all the post and been involved with both associations the real problem is turf and money. Sportsmen only have so many dollars to give to active associations that want to represent recreational fishermen. IGFA,RFA,JCCA, and then the local fishig clubs. Local fishing clubs represent individuals as one. All organizations look for their support. The one real thing for sure is that RFA is the only organization that is registered as a 501C4 politcal pack which allows all of operating expenses to go towards lobbying. The rest can not claim that right. JCCA can only spend 20 percent of its funds on politcal purpose and the IGFA can't do anything except keep records.
Tom and his group have never accepted the RFA because it formed up in his home state and having been on his bad side when I formed up I feel that he resents anyone forming some politcal force without his control. SO the long and short of it is that untill he retires to the side lines this fued will go on.
Spend your money where you think it will do best. Cause that's what its all about.
 

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From my view it is a case of some indivuals allowing their positions to go to their heads and lose sight of why they are there.
It is also the reason recreational voice doesn't have as much impact as commerical voice.
JCAA doesn't seem to have the land based fisherman in their sights when pushing to eliminate the slot.
Whatever the rules are it won't affect me but I do have concern that in this fight on stripers as well as summer flounder the land based fisherman is being forgotten
 

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Tom Fote has a blind obsession? I never would have thought that
I've never seen that from him before


I don't think it's any big deal. Not everyone's going to agree on everything. Different points of view are good for fish management.

I'm not 100% behind either position, but the RFA's is much more to my liking. The only thing I don't like is the bonus fish issue.
 

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It is sad to me that we (rec anglers) politicize our stripers as much as any other interest group when it comes to fisheries stuff - it was a sad day for me to see groups like the Salty Dogs disappear because I believe these organizations are a truer representation of average fishermen. And look what they were able to achieve. I have no doubt that ad hoc groups like the Salty Dogs could make a national presence and yet not go down the same path as the JCAA or the RFA - which are essentially groups that raise money and create a political base thru members to fund lobbyist in local and national politics. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with either the JCAA or the RFA's approach, in fact, they are a necessary component to the process. But, there is room in NJ and in any of the east coast states for grass roots groups outside of either the JCAA or RFA political spectrum. Policticians absolutely stand up and listen when silent majority/minority groups appear out of no where to present a unified and organized voice. Politicians worry and often re-think their political positions because these groups are wild cards and are not as predictable as voting blocks that are represented in the JCAA or RFA membership. Also, these groups often create more leverage for the traditional organizations to get things done

My point - I wouldn't worry much about these slight differences in opinion between the JCAA or RFA. What we need is a third group to stir up the pot, similar to the Dogs, and NJ is ripe for it.
 

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The recent meetings regarding the new regs are the perfect example. They were held for the PUBLIC (public comment) but most attendees either represented an organization or some interest group rec or commercial(and yes, rec charter and party boat owners or associations are in my opinion interest groups with goals sometimes contrary to many individual fisherman and should not be confused with representing the public - not that they are bad, just a different point of reference like livelyhood maybe, thats all).

There were very few individual fisherman at the Avalon meeting which was the most highly attended. How are the State people (and our congressmen)ever going to take us seriously if we never show up at the meetings and keep expecting to be represented by groups that don't ask the opinion of the majority of the people they represent? What should I think when there are two groups at the meeting representing ME (RFA and JCAA) with conflicting opinions of what is right for the individual rec fisherman? It doesn't send a good message. In fact, I think the State reps just confirm over and over that the individual is willing to let larger organizations speak for them. It sucks when you are sitting there and the State reps are calling on people in the room on a first name basis. It all seems a little too friendly to me.

We need individual participation and from what i've read the people on this site are just the ones to do it. I realize I'm new here but I have responded to many requests from the RFA for sending letters and attended many meetings in NJ and DE.

I don't know if we need another group, but organizing a few hundred individuals to show up at meetings where our interests are being considered would be a good start. It was tried on this site by nightstrikes and it didn't work. In fact, almost nobody responded to his polls. I don't get it.
 
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