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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

NOAA paying some Massachusetts anglers not to fish this year

NOAA Fisheries is trying to persuade 1,900 Massachusetts recreational anglers not to fish this season, well maybe bribe is a better word.

The reasoning behind this experiment is to try and measure the value of sport fishing to anglers.  The payoffs go from $15 to $500 per angler and for the cash they have to surrender their saltwater fishing permit.  Federal officials claim the results will help them measure the potential loss to anglers in the case of environmental disasters like oil spills and the like.

Anglers who have registered for a 2012 saltwater fishing permit are being randomly selected to receive either a check, an offer or a survey asking how much they'd be willing to pay for a permit.  The idea is to compare the scenarios and come up with a dollar value of what anglers are willing to pay to go fishing.

Scott Steinback is the NOAA economist who came up with the idea. He feels that the survey and its cost are likely to result in puzzlement, or worse. So the question becomes why is NOAA spending the $145,000 the survey is expected to cost? 

Remember these are the same folks who wasted money on a pleasure boat in the Pacific Northwest, see: http://crosscurrentfishing.blogspot.com/2012/02/noaa-fisheries-booze-cruising.html Is it just a coincidence that NOAA chose Massachusetts for this experiment, the state that the senator who blew the whistle on the pleasure boat fiasco represents.

Many recreational fisherman are skeptical that the survey will be used to increase permit fees, something that NOAA and Massachusetts denies. Others have stated that if it were offered to them they'd take the money and fish anyway.

Even if the governments intentions are indeed noble, to me this whole survey is flawed from the start.  NOAA should scrap the whole thing and save the $145,000. 

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