Waterfront Times E Edition Page 3

3 September 2015 WATERFRONTTIMES.COM Waterfront Times (954) 763-8743 1900 SE 15th St., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 24-Hour Emergency Hauling Boat Repairing & Painting Travelift Service to 60 Ft. Fiberglass, Gelcoat & Painting Mechanical Repairs Survey Haulouts Bottom Painting 5 minutes to Inlet yachtpaint.com ARNOLD MARKOWITZ Waterfront Times Columnist The time was nigh for a public telling-off of the National Park Service, and Jessica McCawley did it where it was most likely to get atten- tion - at an oversight hearing by five members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Now comes the wait to see if she made a difference. Don't run away. This isn't about politics. It's about Biscayne National Park's plan to close off 10,502 acres of ocean and reef to fishing. It's about nature and it's about broken trust. McCawley is director of the division of marine fish- eries management for Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC) Commission. FWC objects to im- posing the no-fishing zone (also called a marine reserve zone or MRZ) without first trying other ways to recover the park's depleted reef fishery. The National Park Service agreed last year to try, but instead went ahead with the marine reserve in a general management plan (GMP) that's been completed and is pending enactment. Because of the oversight committee's reaction to the Homestead testimony, es- pecially McCawley's, the NPS's southeast regional di- rector has delayed enacting the plan pending a review. "FWC cannot support this plan for many reasons," McCawley told five Congressional reps including Rob Bishop (R-Utah), who is chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, at an oversight hearing in Homestead on Aug. 3. Rep. Don Beyer (R-Va) of the same committee was there too, along with three local Congressional reps. "First, the Park's refusal to explore alternatives to a no-fishing marine reserve zone early in the GMP plan- ning process ultimately contributed to a failed attempt to find a workable compromise," McCawley testified. "Second, FWC views the implementation of a no- fishing zoneas a breach of the partnership agree- mentThird, the proposed fishery closure is being based on an inappropriate application of scientific analysis. Fourth, the closure would unnecessarily re- strict public access and negatively impact the south Florida economy." There was more: McCawley criticized the NPS for reliance on the science used in creating marine re- serves (supported by FWC) near Dry Tortugas National Park, where the marine habitat and other environ- ments are different. She scoffed at the NPS claim that the planned Biscayne reserve doesn't violate the mutual inter-agency partnership understanding because it's being done for purposes other than fishery management. There's no crock with enough capacity for that load of bunkum. Give it a name like one-hour dry cleaning or extra virgin olive oil if you like, but if a no-fishing zone isn't fishery management, you're Hamlet, crown prince of Denmark. I'll be Shakespeare. McCawley's testimony appeared effective. Biscayne Superintendent Brian Carlstrom and others made their cases in favor of the marine reserve zone, but didn't at- tempt to defend breaking the agreement to try other methods first. Didn't they realize that's what inspired the hearing in the first place? They may be right about a no-fishing zone being DIRTY FUEL IS THE #1 CAUSE OF DIESEL ENGINE TROUBLE Impurities in your tanks rob engines of valuable horsepower and can, at the worst possible time, leave your vessel "DEAD IN THE WATER" Removing the fuel from the tank is useless. Sludge and water remain on the interior surfaces and at the very bottom of your tanks. 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See page8 for the Galley recipe! the best way, or even the only way, to restore the reef fishery, but the right way to prove or disprove it is to create doable rules for the designated territory, enforce them pro-actively and monitor progress scientifically over a period of time. That's what the Park Service and FWC agreed to last year. In hindsight, their plan could not have been made to work because of faulty details, not the concept. That's the "failed attempt to find a workable compro- mise" that McCawley mentioned. When it became evident, NPS imposed the marine reserve rather than go back to work with the FWC. Don't invoke impatience to justify it. Sure, Biscayne's been trying for 14 years to make a general management plan. That's crazy anyplace else but the National Park Service, which has the speed and agility of a snail pad- dling a turtle into a headwind. When elected politicians who haven't been paying much attention suddenly come to life and denounce the hard work of professional staff who've just finished such a tough assignment, it's usually a prompt to stand up and sneer, jeer, kick 'em in the rear, anything but cheer. Not this time. For once, fishing-doers should be grateful and feel encouraged. To us, it's welcome inter- vention by our elected reps, better late than never. To those who favor the marine reserve so much they don't mind the perfidy, it's political interference. Take your pick. The National Park Service hasn't entirely backed off, but regional director Stanley Austin in Atlanta or- dered another review of the plan. No predictions here, but hooray for that. Until early August, the only Congressional rep that had publicly taken an interest in the dispute was Ileana FISHING SEE PARK PLANS PAGE 4 Captain's License Courses USCG Approved... Get Your Six-Pack or Get Your Master All Levels of Training... 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