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      Surfcaster's 2016 Reboot!   09/21/2016

      Howdy, folks. I know this is way overdue, and the damage is probably already done, but after weeks of working with the database I've finally wiped out all of the spam posts and topics. This was no easy task, considering there were three-quarters of a million bogus posts and nearly three hundred thousand bogus topics. Once a hacker/spammer network finds a vulnerability, they send out automated programs that basically destroy a database like this. Over the past couple weeks I've migrated all of the good data into a more current, secure platform with the hopes that we can somehow rebuild. New member registration is tightened way up, and a third-party spam monitoring service is in place. I've also invested in an awesome new gallery extension,  allowing members to create, manage, and share image galleries. Please give it a try, and let me know if there are any issues. I'm still testing and working out the bugs. Surfcaster's forums were once an amazing resource for everyone to enjoy, and we're hoping it can once again build back up. The main site (non-forums) is pretty banged up, but once the forums are complete my next task is to re-invent that as well. Spread the word. Hope to see a lot of you back! Cheers, Andrew
flatts1

Help defend your freedom to fish!

17 posts in this topic

Dear Fellow Fishermen,

I am writing to inform you about a cause that is worth everyone's time. It is the Massachusetts Freedom to Fish Act (F2F). As you may or may not know, The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) and The Massachusetts Striped Bass Association (MSBA), along with a growing number of other local organizations, have been working very hard behind the scenes to make F2F into law in Massachusetts. We now need your help!

We have a tentative hearing date set at the Massachusetts State House for Thursday, November 13th and we need as many anglers as possible to fill the room - and that means you!

Why do you need to go?

There are extremist environmentalist groups seeking to close vast areas of the ocean permanently to fishing. For example, The Ocean Conservancy (TOC) is currently championing a campaign calling for a "network" of marine reserves (permanent no fishing / no take zones) in the Gulf of Maine that are at least 100 square miles. They have already succeeded in imposing such closures in California. Also, The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) is actively calling for the creation of "fully protected ocean wildlife and habitat areas at Stellwagen Bank, where all extractive and otherwise harmful activities would be prohibited." They have their sites set on Stellwagen Bank and they promise there will be a closure there. In fact, reliable sources tell us they have the votes now on the Stellwagen Advisory Panel to do so!

These closures are arbitrary and the science cited by these organizations crumbles under minimal scrutiny. That is exactly why they are against F2F. When F2F is enacted, it will require scientific justification and tangible goals before a closure is implemented. More importantly, it will require that the closure is reevaluated over time to see if the closure's goals have been met. If not then it stays closed. If so, then F2F requires the closure will be removed. Does this sound reasonable to you? I thought so.

Folks, organizations like CLF and TOC have key people on the panels that manage your favorite fishing spot. In fact the former head of CLF, Douglas Foy, now heads the Massachusetts Department of Environment! The bottom line here is that it doesn't matter if you fish with a rod and reel or with a gill net - these groups discount us all the same. Indeed, if you take a fish home for dinner then these extremist groups consider it to be a "harmful extractive" activity. It is for reasons like this that we all need to make sure that they don't succeed in permanently taking away our access to our prime historic fishing grounds.

MSBA President, Patrick Paquette, summed it up best when he said "For years we (Recs vs. Commercials) have been arguing over the rules of the game. In this one case, what is at stake is the whole playing field."

While the Massachusetts Freedom to Fish Act will only apply to state waters (within 3 miles of the coast), do not under estimate the need for it's passage. These environmentalist groups are presently working very hard to create closures within the Commonwealth's waters and passing F2F in individual states will help pave the way for the national version of the bill that will apply to federal waters.

It is often said that most fishermen are conservation minded. I think that this is very true. All we ever ask for are reasonable regulations so that we can pursue our favorite past time while ensuring the sustainability of fish stocks. Indeed, when species are found to be in trouble, fishermen are usually the first ones to call for tighter regs. F2F is simply a legal formalization of our conservation ethic and WE NEED YOUR HELP TO SEE THAT IT BECOMES THE LAW.

Please visit the following link to learn more about The Massachusetts Freedom To Fish Act.

http://www.msba.net/f2f

Then schedule November 13th off with your employer and come to the Massachusetts State House on that day. By all means spread this message on every fishing website that you visit. Feel free to paste it whole or in part. However, keep in mind that all of the discussion in the world of this topic on internet message boards won't make nearly as much difference as actually showing up and demonstrating to our elected officials in that we will not stand by idly and let these out of touch conservation groups decide our fate. Ladies and gentlemen, fishermen of all types are the largest stakeholders in this debate. Let's show our elected officials just how large we are!

If you have any further questions or are interested in car pooling to the state house on November 13th, then please send email to f2f@basspond.com

We hope to see you there.

Sincerely,

Mike Flaherty

MSBA Political Committee Chairman

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I don't have the time to address everything in your post, but I would have a couple questions and comments, and would urge everyone to try and look at both sides of the issue here.

Firstly, what effect would closures on the bank have to recreational striper fishermen? If I'm not mistaken, proposed closures target groundfish habitat, would have zero impact on surf fishing, and little if any on boat fishermen targeting stripers.

Second - I would urge people to examine the efficacy of Marine Protected Areas, and of No-take zones within them - there are success stories ranging from california to florida to New Zealand that have proven the concepts benefits to fish and fishers alike.

The CLF and Ocean conservancy are hardly "extremist environmentalist groups", and attemps to lump them in with the likes of PETA or ELF are misleading. Likewise, phrases like "vast areas of the ocean" do not stand up to scrutiny - the ocean is the least protected resource on the planet. While the science behind such legislation is not perfect, to say that it doesn't stand up to the slightest scrutiny, trawlgate or no trawlgate, misses the danger in doing nothing.

For anyone interested in these issues, I simply urge you to look at them from more than one angle before making up your mind. It is entirely possible to be an active recreational fisher, seafood consumer, etc, and also be an environmentalist - and pro-MPA. There are, believe it or not, pro-MPA commercial fisherman. I do not know the new england scene well enough yet to specifically debate the merits of this particular initiative, but I will endeavor to do so, and would suggest that anyone concerned do the same - from all sides - before going off and fighting against the very same types of programs that saved our stripers.

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For the record, I just read the F2F act on the website provided, and can't say that I see anything objectionable - the only problem I see is that all of those points are open to debate - I look at things and think that MPA closures meet those criteria, but I know many of you do not.

In any case - good luck - and I hope all of us are able to keep an open mind - 'tis very easy to let one political stance draw you into others that may or may not stand up to your own personal scrutiny. ("environmentalists" haven't helped themselves by excluding the hunting, fishing, and religious communities in favor of preaching to their own choir and promoting themselves as outsider weirdos, for lack of time to think of a better term, B) )

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any idea on what time the public hearing will be?

I go to school right across the street from the State House and would probably be able to attend.

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loper wrote:

Firstly, what effect would closures on the bank have to recreational striper fishermen? If I'm not mistaken, proposed closures target groundfish habitat, would have zero impact on surf fishing, and little if any on boat fishermen targeting stripers.

Don't get trapped into the "us vs them" argument. This is what these groups are counting on. It doesn't matter if you want to fish from shore for stripers or on Stellwagen bank for bluefish or cod. The closures that these groups are calling for are for 100% no fishing (never mind no take) - even with a rod and a reel.

Furthermore, their arguments for such closures do not rest on the best available science.

For example, this is a quote from TOC's website:

"We seek to establish a new ocean ethic, which cherishes all forms of life in our seas, not only for their economic or ecological value, but also for their intrinsic and spiritual value."

http://www.oceanconservancy.org/dynamic/ge...ved/owc/owc.htm

The bottom line is that there is nothing that marine reserves accomplish that other traditional/less drastic measures can do just as well (ie seasons, bag/size limits, etc). There are few exceptions such as spawning areas or coral reefs.

In the coming days, do not be fooled when folks mention the term Marine Protected Area (MPA). There are several types of MPAs that have wide support from all different types of fishermen. However, these environmentalist groups are calling for the most severe type (marine reserves) in the name of " intrinsic and spiritual value" and not the best science.

This topic was discussed in the past on this forum and more information may be found at...

http://www.surfcaster.com/forums/index.php...t=ST&f=2&t=1333

and

http://www.surfcaster.com/forums/index.php...t=ST&f=3&t=1623

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The argument on intrinsic value (I think using the word "spiritual" brings more problems than it is worth - everyone thinks of something different) goes something like this: We have established National Parks and other such protected areas on land simply because we recognize that there are some areas that are worth protecting. That you cannot hunt, harvest, etc... in these areas has little to do with the areas "value" in strict economic terms, and everything to do with the american people's desire to have these lands protected for future generations. That the ocean seems to be a vast expanse of water makes it harder to conceptualize, but we have set almost none of it aside for protection. 100 square mile (10 miles by 10 miles) is TINY!

I agree that it isn't good to get caught up in the us vs. them - Personally, I'd love to see groundfish continue to recover by whatever means necessary - as it is, I will not buy atlantic cod, monkfish, haddock, etc... and would love to feel comfortable doing so some day. The successes in the striper population make me feel perfectly fine, even as an "environmentalist" in pulling out a keeper, bashing it on the head (no PETA member here lol), and eating it. If these areas come at the expense of losing gear restrictions, etc. in other areas, then that's not so good - but a little groundfish habitat here and there that is left 100% alone doesn't strike me as a bad idea - maybe we can offer submarine tours B) .

All I know is, being in the position to have to try and protect the last animals that humans actively hunt for food on a large scale, when there is so little known and such difficulty in getting good information, is an unenviable task, and I just happen to fall a little on the "let's play it safe" side of the issue when it comes to fish for our future.

http://www.mbayaq.org/cr/seafoodwatch.asp

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loper wrote:

We have established National Parks and other such protected areas on land simply because we recognize that there are some areas that are worth protecting. That you cannot hunt, harvest, etc... in these areas has little to do with the areas "value" in strict economic terms, and everything to do with the american people's desire to have these lands protected for future generations. That the ocean seems to be a vast expanse of water makes it harder to conceptualize, but we have set almost none of it aside for protection. 100 square mile (10 miles by 10 miles) is TINY!

Loper, with all due respect, you seem to be a genuinely concerned sportsmen. However, I think you have bought into one of The Ocean Conservancy's biggest myths. Please read the links that I posted above and pay particular attention to the following

I found the following quote by the Ocean Conservancy to be the most interesting...

"In terrestrial management, 5 percent of our land is in wilderness. We don't have the equivalent in the oceans."

Don't be fooled when environmentalist groups make this claim. The truth is that the Ocean Conservancy has no interest in the TRUE "equivalent" of the land based model used for National parks and wilderness. Why? Because land based wilderness and national parks do in fact allow fishing.

There is a fellow named Ted Williams who has written extensively on this subject. He is quoted in this NY Times article and in the past he has been gracious enough to allow me to reprint some of his work. This is a quote from his piece called "Marketing MPAs" where Ted clarifies the matter of fishing in national parks and wilderness...

===================================================================================

Ted Williams wrote:

It's hard to educate people in a miasma of white noise. And now comes the Ocean Conservancy.

"Ocean wilderness will allow fishing, won't it?" I asked the Conservancy's Greg Helms, who is heading an initiative to convert almost 25 percent of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary off Los Angeles to ocean wilderness.

"Oh no," he said. "You won't be able to fish." I inquired about no-kill fishing for pelagics that don't stay in MPAs anyway. "Not that either," he said. "You can dive it; you can surf it; but there's no catch-and-release fishing. You can't do that with native fish in national parks or wilderness areas." "You can't?" I intoned, scarcely believing my ears.

"No," he said. "Generally speaking, you can fish for fish that are placed there using user fees for the specific purpose of fishing them. But you can't harm an indigenous natural resource." That, of course, is incorrect. Non-indigenous fish are not stocked in national parks or wilderness areas, and catch-and-release fishing as well as catch-and-kill fishing is legal in both.

===================================================================================

The full text of the "Marketing MPAs" article may be found at the link below. It is a good primer for anyone interested in learning more about Marine Protected Areas. However, Ted's style takes some getting used to. He covers a lot of different angles and he offers many opinions that you may or may not agree with. So don't be surprised when you read phrases like "America has about 300 MPAs, and we're desperately in need of more..." You need to read the whole article to get where he is coming from (not all MPAs are permanently closed to fishing). I may not agree with everything that Ted expresses, but I do respect his writings because he really does his homework. Please note that Ted's article was written before the Channel Islands marine reserve in California was written into law (now permanently closed to fishing).

http://www.basspond.com/articles/general/a...bout_mpas.shtml

Also, you may think that 10 square miles is "tiny". We will have to agree to disagree on that. However, even if you think they are "tiny", TOC is calling for more than just 1 and they will add up.

From TOC literature:

"2. The Gulf of Maine MPA network should include a spectrum of types of MPAs, including at least one area of Ocean Wilderness . Ocean Wilderness areas should be at least 100 square miles."

And guess what? Expect these "tiny" 100 sq mile sections of ocean to include some of the most prime fishing grounds.

Finally, if you really would like to see a marine reserve placed inside the waters of Massachusetts then you can certainly advocate for one since F2F does not prohibit them, it only seeks scientific reasoning for them and not spiritual guidence.

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I won't beat this to death since we both want the same thing in the end - to be able to continue fishing successfully into the future. Just want to say that by saying the "MPA network should include a spectrum of types of MPAs", the idea is that some or most would allow certain kinds of fishing on some level, as in the national park system. I think the issue of recreational fishing within some MPA's is one where concerned and level-headed sportsmen/women could certainly make some headway if they get their voices heard, I just wouldn't want us to advocate throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

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I will see you guys next thursday @ 10 am.

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PLEASE REPLY ASAP TO f2f@basspond.com IF YOU LIVE IN ANY OF THE FOLLOWING TOWNS!!!

City of Lynn, and the towns of Marblehead and Swampscott, all in the county of Essex.

The town of Falmouth, in the county of Barnstable; and the towns of Chilmark, Edgartown, Aquinnah, Gosnold, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury and West Tisbury, all in the county of Dukes County; and the town of Nantucket, in the county of Nantucket.

Thanks in Advance,

Mike Flaherty

MSBA Political Committee Chairman

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

This message applies to anyone interested in attending the F2F hearing on the state house this Thursday November 13th. This includes MSBA members and non members alike. Please reply to f2f@basspond.com if you plan on going so we have a rough idea on how many folks will be coming.

Here is what to expect...

- The hearing starts at 10:00am

- It will be a public hearing and anyone can testify.

- There may be a sign up sheet at the door (used for order of testifying) but they will call for anyone else wanting to testify.

- They do not want people to read prepared testimony, but appreciate if it is turned in. Testimony should summarize written info or just making a point(s).

- Those attending the hearing should dress neatly (jacket & tie NOT required).

- There are metal detectors at the entrance to the State House, so no firearms, knives, etc. Be prepared for a line if large turnout or another "popular" issue being considered. Arriving early? - visit senators and/or representatives.

Directions follow and I hope to see you there.

Mike Flaherty

MSBA Political Committee Chairman

************************************************************************

DIRECTIONS:

I suggest taking the "T". The best T-stop is Park street and it it accessible from the red or green lines. Get off at Park St and walk up the hill. Govt Ctr is a "long" up hill walk if weather is bad and "not so bad" up hill walk in good weather to the State House.

The following is from: http://www.state.ma.us/sec/trs/trsdir/diridx.htm and it will be helpful if you decide to drive in.

Coming from

North of Boston:

Route 93 South to Central Artery.

Take Exit 23 at Haymarket.

Bear right at the bottom of ramp on to New Chardon St.

Haymarket MBTA Station will be on the left.

Keeping to the left, go through the set of lights.

Take a left into the parking garage. ( Safe Harbor Garage, 50 New Sudbury Street)

On foot, exit garage by turning left on to New Chardon St Cross over Cambridge St. Now walk up the hill on Bowdoin St. You will see the back of the State House in front of you.

There are entrances to the State House on Bowdoin Street (Handicapped Entrance), Mount Vernon Street, Derne Street and of course the main entrance on Beacon Street.

South of Boston:

93 North to Central Artery.

Take Chinatown/Kneeland St. exit. (21)

At bottom of ramp, take a left turn onto Kneeland St. Proceed on Kneeland St., which becomes Stuart St., go through several sets of lights. (4) When you come to Charles St. South, you must take a right turn.

Next intersection is at Boylston St. Continue straight on Charles St.

The Boston Common Underground Garage is entered from the right lane of Charles St.

On foot follow signs in the garage to Beacon St. /State House exits. You will end up on the Boston Common next to Beacon St. Walk up the hill on Beacon St. (a right turn from the garage exits) and the State House will be on the left at the top of the hill.

West of Boston:

Take the Mass. Pike East, once in Boston, keep right inside the tunnel, and take Exit 22, the Copley Square /Prudential Center exit. Inside the exit tunnel, keep to the right and follow signs for Copley Square. When you come out of the tunnel, the exit merges onto Stuart St. Continue straight on Stuart St through 4 sets of lights, keeping left. At the 5th set of lights, you must take a left turn onto Charles St. South. Go up Charles St. South to the next intersection, Boylston St. Go straight on Charles St., and keep right to enter the Boston Common Underground Garage, Follow directions on foot as above for "South of Boston".

From the Airport:

Follow exit signs to Sumner Tunnel

Go through tunnel and at end bear right onto Cross St.

You'll pass under the Expressway and come to a set of lights

Go straight and continue up New Chardon St. (Haymarket Bus Station and parking garage are on left)

Go thru 2 more sets of fights on New Chardon St and you'll cross over Cambridge St

After crossing Cambridge St you'll go up the hill on Bowdoin St. (Red Hat Restaurant on right)

You must take right onto Derne St just behind the State House

Take left onto Hancock St

Then you must go right on Mt. Vernon St

Take 1st left onto Joy St

Take next left onto Beacon St - you'll pass right in front of State House - to circle around again take first left onto Bowdoin St.

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The following was originally posted by Seawitch on the Amendment 13 thread in error and moved here by me today.

Bill H

____________________________I am not sure if MPSs are the same topic as the Freedom to Fish act or Amendment 13, I get confused. The best comments I have seen yet were on the MSBA email relay and was made by Rip Cunningham. I will copy it here for your comments, because I agree with Rip and it makes a lot of sense this way.

"MPA’s Revisited

By Rip Cunningham

The subject of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is not going to go away quietly. In fact, it’s not likely to go away at all. It most likely will be one of those in-your-face issues for a long while, but that does not have to be a bad thing.

We used to be scared as hell about MPAs. Today, we simply remain concerned. That’s a step in the right direction. Maybe we’re just getting used to the adrenalin-and-vitriol mix caused by this issue. Recent discussions we have been part of concerning MPAs made us think that it was time to revisit this issue.

First, let’s stir the pot by saying that we support MPAs. In fact, we would like to see the whole United States territorial sea be an MPA! Radical, right? Not really. We grew up around and learned to fish in what we guess to be the largest MPA on the Atlantic Coast — Massachusetts’ Buzzards Bay. Here, one could fish recreationally, fish commercially with hook and line, take a variety of shellfish, and set pots for lobster. There were no gillnets or mobile nets allowed. This body of water essentially provides the same resources that it did when we were in our youth (which is a lot longer ago than we’ll admit to), save for the normal fluctuations of individual species. The fact that Buzzards Bay is a MPA was not and is not bad for the resources, the habitat or the resource users. (To paraphrase Pogo from the comic strip, “We have seen the users and they are us.”)

Unfortunately, the term MPA now carries a negative connotation because people immediately associate it with a No-Take Reserve. While No-Take Reserves are a type of MPA, they are the most radical type. We generally do not support No-Take Reserves, and when this concept is adequately explained to the general public, we do not believe they support them either.

We do believe that MPAs should be used as one of many fisheries-management tools. In a perfect world, their use would restrict public access to public resources only as a last resort. What they should be used for is to restrict some of the most destructive and indiscriminate means of taking large quantities of fish or shellfish. And the single most destructive and indiscriminate means of fishing involves bottom-tending mobile gear, whether it is used to catch shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico, rockfish in the Pacific or groundfish in the Atlantic.

Restricting large areas from the use of mobile gear would allow severely impacted benthic habitat to begin the long process of rebuilding, and ultimately allow the whole ecosystem to become more prolific. At the same time, this management regime should be designed to encourage less destructive and less harmful commercial catching methods. These would be very positive steps.

Are MPAs the bogeymen that many have come to believe they are? The real answer is “no.” Can some types of MPAs be unnecessarily restrictive? Yes. No-Take Reserves can be, and those are the MPAs we have to be concerned about. If we focus our attention and effort on these, then recreational fishing and the resources will both benefit."

_________________________________________

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Bonnie / Bill,

Thanks for posting that and I'll post an update later on how things went at the hearing (pretty good for us I think). One thing I want to point out though is that Mr. Cunningham uses the term "No-Take-Reserve". I think many folks have been lulled into using this term and it is a little misleading.

What we are fighting against here are arbitrary NO FISHING RESERVES. In other words, one could reasonably infer that a "No-Take-Reserve" would at least allow catch/release. However, the goal of organizations such as The Ocean Conservancy (TOC) and Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), is to close vast areas of the ocean to ALL fishing of ALL types.

Best,

Mike Flaherty

MSBA Political Committee Chairman

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The following is an excerpt of a letter by MSBA President, Patrick Paquette, to the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Agriculture. It was submitted by Mr. Paquette after his testimony at the Massachusetts State House on November 13, 2003

The full text may be found at

http://www.msba.net/f2f/msba_statehouse_letter.htm

Best,

Mike Flaherty

Proud Member of MSBA

...

Way back in February I learned of a few “Environmental” organizations that were able to get prime-fishing waters in the state of California permanently closed to all fishing. This closure was accomplished by using an extreme definition of the management tool known as a “Marine Protected Area”. More commonly known as “MPAs”, Marine Protected Areas have been used for years and in some cases have been supported by recreational and even commercial communities. A closer look at the California situation revealed a national strategy by some fringe or extreme environmental groups to do the same in the waters of each and every coastal state, including Massachusetts. Just in case you are not aware, the area in California that was closed is called the Channel Islands. The only fair comparison in Massachusetts would be the Elizabeth Islands. What would happen if the Elizabeth Islands were closed to all fishing? Representative Turkington could answer that question better than any of us standing in the audience today. After learning about this situation, MSBA in conjunction with our national affiliate, the Recreational Fishing Alliance, formed the Massachusetts Freedom to Fish Coalition. Our vision was to put together a group of both recreational and commercial organizations and bring forth a Bill in the MA Legislature that would both allow for the traditional use of a Marine Protected Area, and protect the rights of both recreational & commercial fishermen to do what we do, to fish. Standing here we have accomplished that goal. Our coalition is made up of Recreational Fishing Organizations including the Plum Island Surfcasters, The Marblehead Surfcasters, the Cape Cod Salties, the Green Harbor Tuna Club and the Massachusetts Striped Bass Assn. We also have groups with commercial interests as well, groups including the Cape Cod Charter Boat Assn, The Stellwagon Bank Charter Captains Assn, and The North East Charter Boat Assn. In addition, we have also been working with the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fisherman’s Assn, the Massachusetts Fisherman’s Partnership and the Massachusetts Seafood Coalition in order to bring forth a slightly amended version of the bill at hand. The fact that the recreational and commercial communities are working together should in and of itself prove that the need for this bill to go before the State Legislature is valid.

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It should be noted that the Massachusetts Beach Buggy Association (MBBA) is also a key member of the MA F2F coalition. I know that Patrick did mention MBBA in his verbal testimony but somehow it was missed in the letter to the committee. This letter was sent to me for printing at 2:36am the morning of the hearing and I apologize for not catching it then.

Indeed, MBBA has been very helpful since the beginning with MA F2F. Several MBBA members did attend the hearing on Nov 13 and MBBA President, Peter Murray, spoke passionately to the committee in support of bill S2043, the Freedom To Fish Act.

We are very grateful for MBBA's support and I apologize for not noticing that they were not included on the letter in the list of groups supporting MA F2F.

Best,

Mike Flaherty

MSBA Political Committee Chairman

P.S.

MBBA is also (and has always been) listed on the MA F2F website as an organization supporting MA F2F.

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