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Transcript of Nov. 22 meeting in DC, includes public comment and adjournment


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Public Comment Period and Adjournment 318 1 DR. KITSOS: Well, I think we have some 2 furniture to move. We will take 30 seconds, and then we 3 have two public commenters signed up, Eli Weissman and 4 Santi Roberts. 5 Mr. Roberts, are you here? 6 MS. NAUGHTEN: He is. 7 DR. KITSOS: Okay. Eli, you have been through 8 this before. You have five minutes. At four minutes, I 9 will start jumping up and down and ask you to finish up. 10 Please come forward and give us your statement. As you 11 know, this is not a question-and-answer session for the 12 commissioners; it is just your statement. Please 13 proceed. 14 Thank you. 15 PUBLIC COMMENT 16 MR. WEISSMAN: Hello. 17 Commissioners, it is a 18 pleasure to see you all again. My name is Eli Weissman 19 and I am with the Ocean Conservancy. I just would like 20 to provide a few comments on some of what I have heard 21 today. I am really quite impressed with the ...


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 Public Comment Period and Adjournment   318     1 DR. KITSOS: Well, I think we have some    2 furniture to move. We will take 30 seconds, and then we    3 have two public commenters signed up, Eli Weissman and    4 Santi Roberts.    5 Mr. Roberts, are you here?    6 MS. NAUGHTEN: He is.    7 DR. KITSOS: Okay. Eli, you have been through    8 this before. You have five minutes. At four minutes, I    9 will start jumping up and down and ask you to finish up.    10 Please come forward and give us your statement. As you    11 know, this is not a question-and-answer session for the    12 commissioners; it is just your statement. Please    13 proceed.   
 14 Thank you.    15 PUBLIC COMMENT    16 MR. WEISSMAN: Hello.    17 Commissioners, it is a    18 pleasure to see you all again. My name is Eli Weissman    19 and I am with the Ocean Conservancy. I just would like    20 to provide a few comments on some of what I have heard    21 today. I am really quite impressed with the amount of    22 progress. I am going to jump around a little bit, and I
   319     1 will just try to go fairly quickly, but just a handful    2 of comments here.    3 I know Lillian had to leave early, but she had    4 raised a question about the importance of Coast Guard to    5 work on education with recreational boaters. One thing    6 that I can certainly provide for the record, the Ocean    7 Conservancy through our Good Mate Program has been    8 working with the Coast Guard for quite some time    9 developing educational material, providing outreach to    10 recreational boaters. We can certainly provide that for    11 the record.    12 As far as guiding principles go, I really    13 would encourage you to keep the first one on    14 stewardship, that the ocean resources are held in public
   15 trust. That is something that we have been saying a    16 number of times, and I am really pleased that that is    17 something that the Commission is certainly seriously    18 considering. I really did appreciate that.    19 As far as the living marine resources    20 discussion, while I know that the emphasis was certainly    21 on fisheries management, I really would like to see more    22 discussion on other areas of living marine resources,
   320     1 particularly marine wildlife, that was not discussed at    2 all today; also coral reefs; national marine    3 sanctuaries; and moving beyond just fisheries    4 management, which was something that I know was the    5 emphasis today. There really are other areas that I    6 believe do need to be discussed and even within    7 fisheries management by catch and habitat destruction    8 was also, again, important issues that we believe need    9 to be addressed.    10 As far as the fisheries management goes, there    11 are a couple of comments specifically on dedicated    12 access privileges. There was some discussion on IFQs.    13 I believe Marc had asked if there had been discussion on    14 standards.
   15 One thing I certainly can provide, the Ocean    16 Conservancy is part of the Marine Fish Conservation    17 Network, and we have a set of standards that we have    18 been pushing for. They are mandatory standards as    19 opposed to guidelines, which was something that was    20 discussed today.    21 Also, I know that Senator Carey has a bill    22 that lists standards as well as Congressman Gilchrist
   321     1 had a bill on his Magnuson. Those are three things that    2 you can look at, at least for starters, on standards. I    3 can certainly help get the Marine Fish Conservation    4 Network standards, just to help move the discussion    5 along.    6 As far as the nominations, the council is one    7 thing that I think the Ocean Conservancy would    8 definitely like to see was instead of just having the    9 governors put two people from commercial, two from    10 recreational and two from just the general public on the    11 lists, we certainly believe that conservation interests    12 needs to have equal representation because we really do    13 believe that someone needs to be looking out for the    14 resource.
   15 The current structure really is the fox    16 guarding the hen house, and we do believe that    17 conservation interests do need to be represented on the    18 Council, so there are folks looking out for the resource    19 specifically.    20 As far as marine protected areas go, just    21 moving on quickly, one thing that again should be no    22 surprise to many of you that we have been pushing, is
   322     1 for ocean wilderness. We are certainly encouraged by a    2 lot of the discussions on MPAs today. One thing that I    3 believe would be important in Chapter III, which was    4 improving ocean health, something that I saw as an    5 omission was ocean wilderness.    6 Ocean health is broader, in my opinion, than    7 just water quality and human health and improving    8 coordination. I think there were a couple of areas that    9 were missing, ocean wilderness and certainly even marine    10 protected areas was something that could help fill in    11 some of that area.    12 How am I doing on time?    13 DR. KITSOS: You have one more minute.    14 MR. WEISSMAN: Okay. As far as education
   15 goes, I would like to second Marc's comment about the    16 need for in addition to ocean science, to open it up to    17 other social sciences including liberal arts,    18 conservation, other areas like that. We provided a    19 paper to the commissioners that had some suggestions on    20 that.    21 Lastly, the Coast Guard Commandant had talked    22 about vessel management systems. That is a very
   323     1 important priority for the Ocean Conservancy. Each year    2 we work on appropriations, and we specifically try to    3 get funding for VMS so that NMFS can conduct their    4 enforcement.    5 I was disheartened because Guard enforcement    6 even with their 20 percent growth is still going to be 5    7 to 7 percent low current below current enforcement, the    8 pre-9/11 enforcement levels, and we thought those were    9 inadequate. We would support what the Coast Guard    10 Commandant had said on VMS. Sorry I jumped around a    11 little bit, but there was a lot to cover. Nice to see    12 you all again, and a great job today.    13 DR. KITSOS: Thank you, Eli. We appreciate    14 your comments.
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