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News Letter - January 2006

Feb. 17 8:30 a.m. sharp! Room B-118
Continental Breakfast Compliments Pescador Apparel

Hello to Fishermen Near and Far!

I'd like to share my fishing thoughts with you on this New Year's Day. I'm also announcing an important sports fishing conference that will be held during the 2006 Big Game Room showing at the Miami International Boat Show (Feb. 16-20). Meeting date is Feb. 17th. at 8:30 a.m.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has donated a conference room to encourage a meeting on the subject of managing the world's billfish populations. This is a hot button issue lately and the gathering of thousands of sports fishermen for the upcoming Big Game Room affords our fisheries managers (NMFS) and their foreign counterparts the opportunity to provide us with an annual report on the "State of Health" of the various billfish populations. As well, the representatives of the privately funded organizations (RFA, IGFA, TBF, etc.) are also invited to report on their individual efforts to protect the resources. If there is any duplication of effort by the groups, maybe this meeting will help to point that out. After this meeting, we (sports fishermen) should come out in agreement of the goals set by the "collective group" and we should set out immediately to accomplish them. Meeting time is 8:30 a.m. and we have the room until 12 noon. I envision the initial reporting/goals setting meeting to last until 10:30 (many of us have to man our booths). Afterwards, the fisheries managers and the various conservation minded organizations can hold their own "workshop" until noon. The meeting room can handle 50 people. Enter room B118/119 via the Washington Avenue entrance. Go to the show's website at Big Game Room to learn about the Big Game Room and the boat show activities.

The Big Game Room was created for the enjoyment of sports fishermen. A spin off benefit is that we've also developed a platform from which to launch new ideas and to promote billfish conservation. We "sports" fishermen can no longer sit back saying "I release all my billfish" (meaning, I do my part) because the time has come to admit that our "sport" is a significant part of the problem. We are fish-a-holics and its time we openly admit that we have an image problem. I've listened to the pros who like to say "we are a miniscule part of the problem" (compared to the commercial fishing guys) but face it, collectively the "sport" kills and maims hundreds (want to admit to thousands?) of billfish the world over. We hurt many of these fish during the normal fight when we hook them in the eye, we hook them deep, we exhaust them during a long fight, we slow them down and feed them to the sharks, and we often leave our double hook sets in them. We know all this and still we say the problems are caused by the other guy. Let's wake up and become a little more humane - it's year 2006 and we've figured out how to catch them. It's time now that we get together to decide on the universal "sporting" methods of catching them. Do we sports fishermen want to be invited to sit at the world table on conservation matters and be recognized? We'd better come into the room with cleaner hands.

I've taken the liberty of setting the agenda - because time is of essence and someone needs to get the ball rolling before the planned meeting. The items I've listed for discussion are limited because the subjects are of such importance. They are as follows:

1. Let's lobby as a united group to stop the importation of foreign caught billfish into the US markets. This would include swordfish - even those caught by US fishermen in foreign waters. I think we should also halt the export of US caught swordfish to other countries. We should prove that we can can supply the US demand, and we should attempt this without taking the Pacific and Atlantic stocks (within 200 miles) down while doing it. Additionally, I believe our government needs to set the "Swordfish Standard" (like gold) on the value of swordfish meat. When the inventory goes down, the price of the meat goes up or the sale is halted all together. Consumers will be forced to switch to other products until the swordfish stocks are rebuilt. When the breeders rejuvenate, the longliners can have at them again. Remember this, when the longliners are tied to the dock, the bi-catch clock is stopped. Some will say this is "protectionism" and that it's unfair to regulate food prices - nonsense, we have a legitimate right to protect the resources found within our 200 mile fisheries zone. Billfish stocks (or any others including baitfish) are not corn or soy beans that come out of the earth and can be seen growing - we've got to take control of our fishery zone and be assured that we have a handle on the various inventories. Remember this lesson - we created dust bowls and almost ruined our productive earth until the farmers learned to till their soil and rotate their crops. The market price for the meat must be tied to known supply levels in order to protect both the commercial fisherman and the species. Let's prove that we have a handle on our fish stocks - if that works, other countries may choose to follow our example. Most will continue their carnage - but at least we can make an effort to slow things down by halting the importation of billfish (all types) into the US.

2. Let's stop the needless and unnecessary "sport" killing of billfish by sport fishermen. I suggest that we agree to accomplish this by the end of 2006. That will give us one full year to get the word out around the world. To minimize the expected storm of protest, I suggest that three exceptions be agreed upon: 1. We continue the boating of potential IGFA World Records (few are caught anymore). 2. We continue to sanction the July 4th. World Cup which enjoys global participation and boats few fish each year (sets a good minimum). 3. Let's agree to the usage of a single, circle hook (non-offset) in natural baits. If you don't see us going to barbless J hooks in lures (my choice), I suggest we go to a single J hook. 4. Let's allow swordfish caught by "sports" fishermen to be boated for personal consumption with an annual bag limit set. Furthermore, I think we should voluntarily agree to raise the minimum weight above that which is now set by the US Government. I suggest it be raised to at least the breeding weight of the species and "personal consumption" should not include feeding the neighborhood and all the restaurants near it. Sports fishermen should decide, commercial or "sport' - which is it? If the answer is "sport" then lets behave like one - this is about cleaning up our image.

Those who attend the meeting and who are in support of the above goals can become an effective voice in reaching out to the sports fishing community. I believe we can muster enough support to impose a stigma on the "sport' killing of billfish by "sports" fishermen around the world. Why not? If we feel obligated to boycott restaurant owners who serve marlin - why can't we stand up to our fellow "sports" fisherman who are needlessly killing billfish for tournament $$$ and ego? Want an ego trip? Win a tournament on releases or catch a nice world record. If our lobbying effort works, the sports fishing industry will be viewed as a proactive group - one taking steps on its own to help conserve the billfish population. Don't want the sport to be regulated by the Feds? We'd best become proactive.

I feel that its important to help maintain the health of the US Commercial Fishing Industry. But protecting the commercial guy ultimately means that we must protect the supply of fish. To do that, we must take hold of our 200 mile fisheries zone and manage it. I envision a time when the global alarms of ocean depletion are sounded. Fish will dry up in the markets and a universal craving for fresh fish will take place. Small countries may even go to war with each other over the resources of their neighbors. Examples of that have happened many times in the past.

If you would like to be included in the meeting at the Big Game Room, please send me an email email to attend to confirm your intentions. Our tournament website doesn't lend itself to becoming a talk forum, but these are important matters and I will post your thoughts (like I do the fish reports) if you'll send them in. I will also be listing the names of those who confirm their intention to attend the meeting on our "Boy Scout" website at www.abmt.vi. If anyone wants to help sponsor this event (cover the cost of continental breakfast and juices for 50+ fishermen) please let me know. If no sponsor(s) are found, please expect that there will be a small charge at the door - regardless if you partake in the food and juices or not.

Thank you for listening to my suggestions and please understand that I'm just trying to nudge our sport in a direction that proves we care. Hope to see you at the Big Game Room. The new addition this year is the "Flats Room" for the backwater and flats fishermen.

Happy New Year from the Virgin Islands!

Jimmy Loveland

NEWS - Frankie Marion of PESCADOR APPERAL called immediately and agreed to sponsor the breakfast. Be sure to visit Frankie's BGR booth #2239. Thanks!

Stan Ecklund Jr.(1) Frankie Marion (1) Capt. Ron Hamlin (1) Capt. Pat Ross (1) Phillip LeBoutillier (1) Enos "Barr" Gardiner (2) Diana Udel (1) Capt. Ernie Stallings (1) Capt. Peter Bristow (1) Crystal Watters and Rebecca Stimpson (2) Ralph Christiansen (1) Capt. Doug Covin (1) Charlie Levine (1) Tony DiGiulian (1) Bouncer Smith (1) Dr. David Conkle (1) Chris Fischer (1) Rick Alvarez (1) Jim Hardie (1) Paul Hirchman (1) IGFA - Rob Kramer, Jason Schratwieser (2) ASA - Bill Shedd (2) Mike Leech (1) Jorge Torruella (5) Davis Clapp (1) Paco and Javier Sala (2) Paul Hirschman (1) John Tierney (1) Joan Vernon (1) NMFS - Eric Prince, Derke Snodgrass, Michael Bailey, Kim Amendola (4) TBF - Ellen Peel, Dr Nelson (2) Jan Fogt (1) Tom Petty (1)

I've decided not to post much of the feedback. It takes up too much time and I think everyone will assume that I'm only posting the positive responses. Keep the emails coming. JL


Thanks for your letter and brilliant input. I am 1000% behind your proposal. Lets hope that IGFA will look and listen at last. That is the biggest hurdle we have to get over. That is the bottom line. They will have to take a vote from all members. I am sure the result will be positive and surprise a few old stick in the muds.

Maybe a resolution from this gathering and participation from IGFA (a must) will do something at last. I sincerely hope so. All the Best for 2006.

See you at the boat Show.

Peter Bristow


I applaud your initiative and would like to assist any way I can. I would like to attend the meeting and videotape it if possible for future update to the billfish documentary I produced for PBS.

I echo your sentiments and noticed the perception problem with Sports fishermen you pointed out during the five year journey while making the documentary. All sides need to work together, the resource has value to all, not just recreational and not just commercial. The rec. sector creates mortality, especially when you have thousands of in-experienced or not so gifted anglers on the waters everyday. Not everybody is a seasoned angler who has honed their skills over the years...

Many NOAA and university level marine biologists told me that to a great extent, the recreational interactions with Billfish was virtually an unknown and not part of the data base used to project sustainable billfish levels. Commercial fishing is part of the American colonial heritage - many great towns were spawned out of commercial fishing and sadly, that part of our American heritage is slipping away. What was once marina waterfronts with colorful fishing activities are being sold off to real estate developers that in turn damage the essential nursery habitat and coastal zones. It should be about balance and getting the parties to work towards balance. I welcome your further thoughts and want to attend your meeting. I want to continue to bring forth both sides of the issue in hopes that the appropriate parties can put aside the riff and work for the fish. Nonetheless, I applaud you for your leadership and willingness to move the issue in the right direction. I also would like to discuss with you an idea I have for a targeted media campaign to better educate novice and weekend warrior anglers in seaboard states.

Well done, Jimmy - it takes great courage to step out and try a fresh approach. Count me in.


Diana Udel

Producer - Billfish: A Challenge for Survival

Hi Jimmy,

I shall be there to support your efforts . I agree with your thoughts as to the course that our bow should be pointing. My best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year.

Ralph Christiansen