Tuesday, June 3, 2014


In a recent Roll Call commentary (The Magnuson Act: It's a Keeper), former NOAA Fisheries staffers Eric Schwaab and Dr. William Hogarth boast of their accomplishments while employed by the federal government.  As to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson Act) introduced in 1976 and reauthorized again in 1996 and 2006, Mr. Scwaab and Mr. Hogarth proudly praise their own work in implementing key changes in the federal fisheries law.

“As former directors of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service, we were both fortunate to have been present and helped implement these key bipartisan reforms to the Magnuson Act,” noted Mr. Schwaab and Mr. Hogarth collectively, adding “these reforms have demonstrably improved the health of our oceans, sustainability of our fish stocks and the viability of many local fishing economies.”

Sadly, since the 2006 reauthorization of the Magnuson Act, coastal communities have been anything by economically viable.  A recent NOAA Fisheries socioeconomic study showed the number of saltwater fishing trips has gone down every year since 2008, due in part to debilitating cutbacks to recreational fishing seasons because of a broken federal fisheries law; yet in a rather staggering government revelation, while fewer Americans are legally allowed to access coastal fisheries, their data shows job growth in the recreational fishing sector skyrocketed 18% from 2008 to 2011. 

This of course is especially surprising when one considers that our federal unemployment rate during the same timeframe jumped from 5.1% to 9.1%.  While NOAA Fisheries and U.S. Department of Commerce statistics show that income and sales growth in the recreational fishing industry somehow managed to spike 40% between 2010 and 2011 with fewer actual customers, reports from actual business owners show a stark reality that’s much more in line with our recessed national economic numbers. 

That is of course why members of Congress have convened numerous hearings in Washington DC since the last reauthorization of the Magnuson Act in 2006, hearing first-hand how fish populations are improving while the overall state of the fishing community is in economic disarray.  Individual anglers and recreational fishing industry leaders are appealing to Congress for assistance, despite the double-talk from some double-dipping former bureaucrats. 

The collapse of the American recreational fishing industry was no surprise. As Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries in September of 2007, Dr. Hogarth himself sent a widely circulated memo about the Magnuson Act in which he warned that “based on the language included in the most recent reauthorization, 2010 will be a train wreck.”  He was right. 

And under direct questioning by Congress a year earlier, Dr. Hogarth told members of the House Subcommittee on Fisheries and Oceans that certain rebuilding requirements in the law were “arbitrary,” and asked for some “flexibility” in meeting some of deadlines.  However, instead of helping steer the fishing industry clear of the “train wreck” and ensuing economic devastation, Dr. Hogarth left NOAA Fisheries in 2009 to take over as Director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography. 

In addition to the restrictive regulatory controls written into the federal law at the behest of environmental non-government organizations (ENGO’s), a comprehensive data collection overhaul was mandated by Congress which called upon NOAA Fisheries to implement a saltwater angler registry while making use of existing data regularly compiled by the for-hire sector captains who run charter and party boats.  Specific language in the Magnuson Act relied upon a key 2006 study from the National Academy of Sciences by calling upon NOAA Fisheries to implement a robust new recreational data collection methodology as of January 1, 2009.

After Dr. Hogarth left this project in limbo, Mr. Schwaab took over as Assistant Administrator of NOAA Fisheries in 2010.  In reporting on the delayed data collection rollout, Mr. Schwaab told a national sportfishing publication in 2011, “while we would certainly have liked to make this transition to the new approach more quickly, the process of new survey design, angler registry development and transition to new methods required more time.” Later in 2011, under questioning by the House Natural Resources Committee, Mr. Schwaab described his agency’s handling of this particular project as “suboptimal.” 

Of course, “suboptimal” data collection is in turn what the Department of Commerce uses today to measure the socioeconomics of the sportfishing industry, hence their rose-colored view of recreational fishing as a ‘growth industry’ while anglers are continually forced off the water due to draconian federal restrictions.  Perhaps the most quotable commentary ever given by Mr. Schwaab though was in 2011 in a video interview produced by the NOAA Ocean Media Center and posted at You Tube in which the Acting Administrator explains “we will be judged not by our words but by our actions.”

Like Dr. Hogarth, Mr. Schwaab skipped out of NOAA Fisheries before completing his pledged tasks, taking over as Chief Conservation Officer at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD just last year.  The new recreational data collection methodologies have still not been implemented, with current NOAA Fisheries staffers readily acknowledging that neither the national private angler registry nor coastwide vessel trip reports are being actively integrated into the federal data collection efforts.  In 2006, the National Academy of Sciences referred to this data specifically as “fatally flawed” – regrettably, it is just as “flawed” today as it was during the tenures of Dr. Hogarth and Mr. Schwaab. 

In addition to leaving projects incomplete and in total disarray, Mr. Schwaab and Dr. Hogarth share another similar distinction with regard to their present employers; both the Florida Institute of Oceanography and the National Aquarium in Baltimore are heavily funded by philanthropic endowments, charitable donations and ENGO grants. While neither of these former bureaucrats has to answer to coastal anglers or industry leaders ever again, they do have to be mindful of the wants and wishes of their wealthy benefactors in their new roles as non-profit mercenaries.  

Sadly, many of these financial gift-givers are the same ones trying to influence Congress away from listening to the pleas from the recreational fishing community regarding federal fisheries reform. 

Dr. William Hogarth and Mr. Eric Schwaab had plenty of time to be judged by their actions while in position of authority within the Department of Commerce; respectfully, they gave up the relevancy of their words related to federal fisheries once they walked away from their shovels and axes along that unfinished stretch of railroad track, allowing the “train wreck” to occur while they were out searching for greener pastures. 

These are the actions that anglers will remember most when it comes to judging accountability inside our federal government; and the only words our recreational fishing industry care to hear right now are from members of Congress, in terms of honest pledges to fix a broken federal law and to hold NOAA Fisheries to a certain standard of responsibility to the fish, the fishermen and the recreational fishing industry. 

On May 29th, 2014, the House Natural Resources Committee voted 24-17 to move H.R. 4742, the aptly titled Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act” to the floor of the House for a vote.  In his opening statement on the need to reform the Magnuson Stevens Act in Congress, committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) said “One of the key messages the Committee has heard is that while the 2006/2007 amendments to the Act were good, those requirements have been hard to achieve in some regions without significant economic pain and that some level of flexibility is necessary.” 

“The goal of HR 4742 is to strengthen and improve the Act through common sense reforms that increase management flexibility based on science, ensure greater government transparency, promote responsible fishing and prevent overfishing, improve fish data collection, and provide predictability and certainty for American jobs and local communities whose economic livelihoods depend on fishing,” Chairman Hastings added.

Anyone who watched the hearing (click here to watch the archived version of the hearing) easily recognized the common theme among both democrats and republicans; that the abject failure by NOAA Fisheries and the Department of Commerce to meet certain statistical requirements under the present law was forcing undue socioeconomic hardship on coastal fishing communities.  Further, the wanton destruction of essential fish habitat by the Department of Interior outside of the Commerce Department’s jurisdiction had made a mockery of the government accountability process, forcing Congress to write new laws to get the government off its ass. 

In other words, without congressional intervention, government lifers like Mr. Schwaab and Dr. Hogarth would never get around to getting their work done. 

“It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions” – that concept should apply to current and former bureaucrats as well, pensioned or otherwise. 


  1. Hey Hutch -
    This isn't the way to stay on the good side of the ex NOAA/NMFS leadership cadre. Kiss two more Christmas cards goodbye!

    Keep on keeping on,


    I was not sure of getting a legit loan lender online But when i could not face my Debt any more, my son was on hospital bed for surgery that involve huge money and i also needed some money to refinance and get a good home then i have to seeks for Assistance from friends and when there was no hope any more i decide to go online to seek a loan and i find VICTORIA LAWSON Trust Loan Firm (marianlawson@outlook.com) with 2% interest Rate and applied immediately with my details as directed. Within seven Days of my application She wired my loan amount with No hidden charges and i could take care of my son medical bills, Renew my rent bill and pay off my debt. I will advice every loan seeker to contact VICTORIA LAWSON LOAN Company with marianlawson@outlook.com For easy and safe Transaction

    *Full Name:_________



    *loan amount:_________

    *Loan duration:_________


    *Purpose of loan:_________

    *Monthly Income:__________


    *Next of kins :_________

    *Email :_________

  3. Best Place To Get A Solution To Your Financial Problems (Lexieloancompany@yahoo.com)!!!

    My Name is Nicole Marie, I live in USA and life is worth living comfortably for me and my family now and i really have never seen goodness shown to me this much in my life, As i am a struggling mum with two kids and i have been going through a serious problem as my husband encountered a terrible accident last two weeks, and the doctors stated that he needs to undergo a delicate surgery for him to be able to walk again and i could not afford the bills for his surgery then i went to the bank for a loan and they turn me down stating that i have no credit card, from there i ran to my father and he was not able to help me, then when i was browsing through yahoo answers i came across a God fearing man (Mr Martinez Lexie) who provides loans at an affordable interest rate and i have been hearing about so many scams on the Internet mostly Africa, but at this my desperate situation, i had no choice than to give it an attempt due to the fact that the company is from United State of America, and surprisingly it was all like a dream, i received a loan of $82,000.00 USD and i payed for my husband surgery and thank GOD today he is ok and can walk, my family is happy and i said to myself that i will shout to the world the wonders this great and God fearing Man Mr Martinez Lexie did for me and my family; so if anyone is in genuine and serious need of a loan do contact this GOD fearing man via Email: ( Lexieloancompany@yahoo.com ) or through the Company website: http://lexieloans.bravesites.com OR text: +18168926958 thanks

  4. Testimony of financial breakthrough from GOD through the help of Funding Circle Loan INC. (fundingloanplc@yahoo.com OR Call/Text +14067326622)...

    Hi I'am Evelyn Russell resident at 808 NE 19th St Oklahoma City, I am a single mother blessed with 2 daughters. For a while now I have been searching for a genuine loan lender who could help me with a loan as I no longer have a job, all I got were hoodlums who made me trust them and at the end they took my money without giving me any loan, my hope was lost, I got confused and frustrated, it became difficult for my family to feed with a good meal, I never wanted to have anything to do with any loan lending companies on the internet again. Not until I met a Godsent loan lender that changed my life and that of my family Through the help of a fellowship member "a lender with the fear of God in him Mr JASON RAYMOND, he was the man God sent to elevate my family from suffering. At first I thought it wasn’t going to be possible due to my previous experience until I received my loan worth $135,000.00 USD in less then 24hours. So my advise to anyone out there genuinely in need of a loan is to contact Funding Circle Loan INC through this official email:- fundingloanplc@yahoo.com OR Call/Text +14067326622 and be financial lifted.