Actually there is a LOT more to this than what the ESPN guy wrote-- While I really did not understand his article here are some of the things that ARE happening.
Jane Lubenchenco (I think I spelled it right) is Obamas new head of NOAA. She is the former vice chair of the EDF (Environmental Defense Fund) She has written several papers promoting a "Catch Share Plan " for recreational fisheries. Her thoughts are that the Government ( not the people of the country) owns all the fish in the sea. One of the plans is for the government to "sell" the rights to catch a fish to large corporations/investment firms etc. These groups would then be able to sell a tag for an individual to catch 1 of that species for each tag they purchased. In short-- if you wanted to go catch 3 Red Snapper,a grouper and two Triggerfish you would first have to go to (say) Wal-Mart and buy a permit from them for each fish before you could go fishing. The claim is this would eliminate "seasons" and you could catch your "share" (purchased of course) whenever you wanted.
To say I and all the fisher folks I know are against this would be like the Gieco commercial " Can Charlie Daniels play the fiddle ?"
There are already large areas of the Gulf , Atlantic and Pacific closed to fishing, just none along the shore. Some of the proposals mentioned by the ESPN writer do include massive closed ares that start at the shore in some places.
All this in addition to laws that have nothing to do with fishery "management"- the current Red Snapper debacle is a prime example.
For all those wanting to blame "commercial fisheries" for any and all problems-- do your homework. The U..S. has regulated just about all the "mom and pop" commercial fisherfamilies out of existence and given it to a few bigger companies and boats. Even their catch is counted down to the last pound and it is very rare for the commercial quota of any species to be exceeded. If you are commercial fishing in the Gulf or Atlantic your vessel has to be equipped with a monitoring device that broadcasts its location to a satellite every 15 minutes- when you come in to unload you have to make an "appointment " with enforcement so they can verify the weight and take it against your share of the quota-- and yes- you have to unload during regular business hours at an approved location-- if the monitoring system shows you coming in without notice you are out of the game- permits pulled.
This is not just a party thing (Dems/Repubs) It started under Bush senior when some of the environmental groups were able to vilify ALL commercial fisheries and split the fisheries into (very) divided factions. While all the various user groups were feuding people like our current head of NOAA were getting their plan into place.
Sorry to be so cynical but I have been going to fishery management meetings for over 25 years and for a long time was one of the few voices trying to raise concerns . Do we need size and bag limits ?-- Most assuredly! We also need stiffer penalties for those who would "steal" a fish from the rest of us by not going by these laws ---- Keeping that 30" Redfish you caught in the Surf is illegal-- no different than somebody running an illegal net around a mullet---
We need laws that reflect actual fish populations-- not laws for a few folks to get to make big bucks off a public resource.
I'll go back to just writing a fish report every 10 days-------
Capt Larry Pentel