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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The certification assessment being conducted by Intertek Moody Marine (Moody) has apparently fallen on hard times and DNR is trying to hide the details. Numerous inquiries by Sport Fisheries Advisory Commissioners have been ignored and even the Public Information Act (PIA) has failed to uncover even a trace of the “transparency” DNR is so fond of touting.

If we could get a status, it might read like this:

1. The fishery probably failed the certification with one of the lowest scores in history. It didn’t help its chances for DNR to proclaim the fishery as unsustainable before the certification even started. DNR’s core management goals mirror some key elements of the certification scoring process and, while DNR has publicly argued that they have a comprehensive get well plan in place, they don’t and Moody probably knows it by now.

2. Moody choked on just “selling” a certification for one of the most corrupt fisheries on the East Coast without some conditions.

3. The draft report (due in May 2012 – not sure when it was delivered to DNR) was not what DNR hoped for and they tried to snow Moody with fables about industry accountability and hailing requirements.

4. Moody tried to humor their client and got into a debate with DNR about the negative aspects of their report.

5. I contacted Moody to ask about the status and they told me they were still working with DNR to resolve some “aspects” of the report and an action plan.

6. I submitted a PIA request to DNR for the draft report and “negotiations” with Moody.

7. Five days later, Moody had a new timeline and the next draft report isn’t due until November.

8. DNR indicated that they weren’t going to give me the “negotiations” part, citing a statutory exemption for “internal executive predecisional” data.

9. I asked if they were at least going to send me the report since it was all Moody’s work product based on THEIR decision process, and we paid for it with public money.

10. I’m still waiting for an answer to that one 10 days after the PIA response window expired but not holding my breath.

I understand that DNR doesn’t want their dirty laundry aired in full daylight, but secrecy breeds mistrust and we have plenty of that already. Also, I’m not disappointed that they violated almost every administrative aspect of the PIA law and stretched the hell out of some other aspects to hide what they are doing. In order to be disappointed, you need high expectations going in. I got over the tooth fairy when I was five.

Ken Hastings
 

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You know, I have to agree with you on this one Ken. Unlike you, I actually think this DNR administration has tried to do a good job considering the General Assembly's hostile attitude toward recreational fishing and bias toward the commercial industry. But your point is well made, if even Moody hesitates on a rubber stamp sustainable fishery certification, this had to be a completely ill-advised idea. It's not like they weren't warned. Who is paying?

Not to change the subject, but we have to watch very closely now since DNR is putting together a plan for the commercial industry to pay for the mess it's making. Did you notice how they buried the press release about the latest illegal gill net recovery beneath a long list of violations by the non-english speaking community? Will DNR step up to the plate this time? Who is paying?

Speaking of paying, I hope they're paying attention to their emails because, when even your friends are critical, it's time for change.
 

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The massive organized poaching sting on the western shore had to factor into this sustainability certification.

Now - if we only could blow the cover on the eastern shore operations...

Who does this certification benefit? I would assume those who are in the business of selling rockfish. How did industry come up for the money for this project?
 

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Ken, I have been following your threads for a while now.LOVE your approach to protecting the fishery.Thanks so much.If there is anything I can do to help please let me know.
 

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The new Transparancy? Get used to it. If they have to really spend money to clean up the Bay they probably won't be able to afford free phones or Pensions.

It will all work out in the end.
 

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I've heard a few different amounts but all are over one hundred thousand dollars.

Like to find out the true amount.
 

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I've heard a few different amounts but all are over one hundred thousand dollars.

Like to find out the true amount.
I would think its quite a bit more than that....Glad you're feeling better, if you can get over your allergies, you can come to InterBike in Vegas next year if you'd like...(Its a business expense):yes:
 

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What is DNR negotiating? I want to know the findings of Moody's before the "negotiations"! That is not to much to ask from an entity that serves the public. They should easily be able to issue preliminary findings.

With that said, Keep in mind that these "certifications" like MSC are backed by money making organizations that are in business to issue the certifications. Even such a certification doesnt mean much. Afterall, how can they certify MDs take is sustainable on a migratory fish without looking at a complete stock assessment and other regions take? Answer: They cant. but Walmart, target, whole foods, etc. can slap a label on it in a store in order to attempt to charge more for it and make some consumers feel better about their purchase.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Shawn - we aren't as far apart as you might imagine. I agree with just about every point you made. I too think this DNR administration has tried more than past ones but, in reality, the bar wasn't all that high and they keep forcing true hero status to elude them. The W-B revelation by Tom was real hero material until he got all defensive and launched that fable about buying commercial tags being ok because FWS approved it. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that FWS didn't even know about the tags, much less approve them. At first, I swallowed that BS hook, line, and sinker and asked what other diversions might FWS approve. I just stumbled onto the truth by accident and now my trust bucket has a large hole in it. Then, someone doctored that email string (at least twice) to support the fable that was never true. If DNR told me the sun would rise in the east tomorrow, I would need a second opinion.

Others have asked about how much the certification cost and who paid for it. I am still collecting data and sources from others but I hope to be able to provide reasonable answers in a few days. We will never know for sure and I am trying to match up little pieces of the puzzle to arrive at the best story the evidence is telling. Normally, public statements are a good guide and help to pull the pieces together but now I have to check everything to filter out the BS.

Thanks.

Ken Hastings
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The certification benefits three groups of people.
1. The fish are more valuable to a limited group of people who want to feel good about eating fish and feeling that they aren't eating the last one, so the catch is also more valuable to the people catching and distributing fish. However, there is an overhead issue there since each time the certification seal is used, it costs someone.
2. The people doing the certification get paid to do it and also for periodic re-certifications, catch audits to ensure only fish from a certified fishery get the seal, plus a share of the revenue each time the seal is stuck on a carcass.
3. The regulators, regardless of how messed up their management plan is, get to crow that their fishery is so well-managed that they have been certified as sustainable.

So, it seems that everyone involved benefits but not the fish. Who cares about them? All this does is spread the wealth derived from exploiting our natural resources to new players. Just what we need with the stocks collapsing - more exploitation.

Ken Hastings
 

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Federal game fish status just like the large mouth bass is for the freshwater guys. Take the money out take the poachers out
na·ive or na·ïve (n-v, nä-) also na·if or na·ïf (n-f, nä-)
adj.
1. Lacking worldly experience and understanding, especially:
a. Simple and guileless; artless: a child with a naive charm.
b. Unsuspecting or credulous: "Students, often bright but naive, betand losesubstantial sums of money on sporting events" (Tim Layden).
2. Showing or characterized by a lack of sophistication and critical judgment: "this extravagance of metaphors, with its naive bombast" (H.L. Mencken).
3.
a. Not previously subjected to experiments: testing naive mice.
b. Not having previously taken or received a particular drug: persons naive to marijuana.
n.
One who is artless, credulous, or uncritical.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Your observations are spot on. I wanted Moody's report before the spin-doctors at DNR get to change one word but I was too late so I asked for all the other correspondence between DNR and Moody - knowing that last part was going to be painful for DNR so they probably would find some sneaky way to keep me at bay. You are also correct about the migratory fish part and Moody has run into that problem before where they certified someone working on a fish stock that was also being exploited by others without certification. In MD, we can't even certify that fish were not caught in the Potomac or in VA so how are we supposed to ensure that only MD fish get the seal? You can bet that, if the seal increases profit margins, fishermen from other places will find a way to get in on the deal. MD annually certifies compliance with ASMFC catch quotas even though everyone knows that the catch data is fraudulent - we just don't know how bad it is. In fact, MD doesn't know how many fish are being caught, how many people are catching them, or how much gear is being used.

If Moody certifies the MD fishery and it crashes, it is their reputation at stake, not MD's. I hope they realize that and don't dring any cool-aide along the way.

Ken Hastings
 

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There is a Sport Fish Advisory Commission meeting next Tuesday Oct 9th from 2-5pm. I have not seen the agenda so I do not know if this item will be on there or not.

What I do know about this is that I asked in a past SFAC meeting who was paying for this certification (you can go to the transcripts to check this, I think it was around the middle of last year). At that time Steve E. from DNR, who was heading the certification process, replied that it came from a pool of money. When I asked if any of that money was rec money, the reply was yes. In subsequent meetings I have been told that it was not being paid for by any rec money, but when I asked for the account details of that pool of money I was told that does not exist. I am not going to get in to the whole thing here, but you can imagine my frustration and confusion when someone tells another that x money is not being used, but can not produce a document showing it. It raises a lot of questions.

In regards to where the certification is, I also have no idea other then what Ken is reporting in his research which seems to be more up to date then any other source I have heard. Two or three SFAC meetings ago Steve E. from DNR was going to give an update, but left and never returned to give that update. No follow up since that time was done to give an update.

I am not sure how a certification can be granted given that most all the net controls that were "proposed" never happened. The hail-in and hail-out never happened. I believe it was supposed to happen by the end of June. My gut told me it was never going to happen and that is why in a SFAC meeting earlier this year I asked three times in the same meeting if DNR was sure they had the money to pay for it, every time they said "yes" (check the transcripts for verification of this). I asked the question three times in a row because at the time DNR was touting this management instrument as the main thing that was going to help regulate the net poaching that we have going on and using it as one of the main reasons they opposed the net ban bill since it was going to help "fix" the issue.

As my gut suspected June came and went, July came and went, August came and went, September came and went and no hail in and hail out. If DNR allows the gill net season to take place, it will be a hugely irresponsible fisheries management decision in my opinion.

Further, the situation is even worse now then we knew at the beginning of the year because the commercial sector already finds itself in a deficit to begin with much less having to pay for a hail in and hail out system. Should I ask the "does DNR, or rather the commercial sector, have an answer for where to get the money not only for their deficit, but for the additional hail in and hail out?".
 

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I for one am impressed with the work Mr. Hastings is doing to protect the fishery from those who would or might exploit it for profit. Bravo. Obligado!
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Mr. Hastings apparently thinks that the agency should let the citizens know what they are doing with maryland money.
Jefferson also had some pesky ideas about government deriving it's authority from the people, and working for the people.
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Where does a maryland agency get the arrogance to "FAIL TO REPORT HONESTLY" to the people of Maryland.
Certainly the Governor would never tell them to be less than forthright. If the agency becomes a political liability, a housecleaning will happen.
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Mr Hastings might publish his "needs wants dreams" to the TF community. There might be a "daniel elsberg" somewhere, who also loves the bay.
Woodward and Bernstein had a source, deep in the DOD or somewhere valuable... I think they called that source by a name, maybe it was "sore throat".
We need a sore throat for the Bay!!
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If a statute is being bent twisted or ignored, that could be significant. Agencies are probably forbidden to ignore or bend statutes.
Public servants should not violate statutes. If there are rules about money being held for particular purposes...are the rules being followed?
Who Polices the Police in Maryland? Public servants should not lie to the public.
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Surely there are five places in Comar forbidding agencies to spread lies and fertilizer, to hide the truth of activities or wrongful activities by state employees.
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Who has the knowledge and information to help Mr. Hastings? Who has the courage to help Mr. Hastings?
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I have a small amount of legal ability, which is available to the cause. I am a good lawyer, and a weak fisherman...smiling...
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Again, Thank You Mr. Hastings, Your Persistance and Logic is noted! You make us all proud. ....Respectfully, TGB
 
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