Jim Hutchinson of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) recently went after respected leader Anthony Mauro of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance (NJOA).  His latest rant is a great example of something my mom used to tell me. She said “you can always tell who is loosing an argument. They are the loudest and always the first ones to attack on a personal level”
Like many Jersey anglers that have gladly cut up our RFA membership cards, I have watched the organization morph into a sorry example of smoke, mirrors and anger. Nothing bugs me more than leaders that say one thing in “the name of fisherman” and then do another behind the scenes. Hard to keep up with the weekly boatload of anti government rhetoric, misleading press releases, seafood industry biases, and politically motivated endorsements. All this has many conservation minded sportsmen distancing themselves from the RFA.
Hutches disdain for any form of regulation and government comes across loud and clear. He can’t make it thru a paragraph without labeling people and accusing others with his never ending rhetoric. Newsflash for you Hutch, all good anglers are environmentalists as it’s impossible to catch fish consistently without knowledge of the environment and the creatures around us.
I’m a lifelong angler & fisheries advocate and you bash me for taking a stand against commercial overfishing? You label me a “lobbyist” for going to congress and begging them to pay attention to midwater trawlers destroying what is left of the East Coasts River Herring? You attempt to discredit me for being part of a fisheries management solution because I’m not someone you can control with your tyrant-like tactics? It takes nerve to twist the efforts of people I’ve associated with to improve fisheries, habitat and the environment to portray them as impeding sportsmen from accessing the ocean and similarly inane statements. These are your opinions and yet you choose to spew them as fact. But, nothing could be further from the truth.
The biggest head scratch I got reading this piece was when Hutch brings up the fact that I signed a petition supporting Obama’s National Ocean Policy (NOP). But he has no problem supporting the NOPC, a coalition that allows them to partner up with big oil, like ExxonMobil, Chevron and the US Oil and Gas Assoc among others. And big oil wants to drill wherever possible, without interference.
Where he dug up this tidbit about me I will never know, but if he wants to spend hours using RFA dollars googling “Eidman”, go for it. Once again, we watch how he tows the company line, twists things into a neat little anti-everything ball, focusing on the negative, avoiding giving even a molecule of credit to the feds for undertaking this historic progressive effort to try and prevent conflict at sea between all interests. If a person spent even 5 minutes reading the NOP they would find that one of their main goals is to encourage participation and involvement by all user groups, especially fishing and boating. This is a bad thing?
This is one angler that wants to make sure that our angling voice is included when RFA’s bedmates want to drill off the Atlantic coastline, or where to put a new shipping lane or install giant wind turbines. Perhaps, Mr. Hutchinson would have more of a realistic view on all this if he spent less time behind his keyboard and more time at the helm – where RFA membership dollars are more wisely used.
The truth of the matter here is that a true leader like Mr. Anthony Mauro, the NJOA and affiliated clubs & organizations are just too positive, too progressive and way to sincere for Hutch and his dwindling membership to follow. Mr. Mauro has been deeply committed to the sustainable use of natural resources and a true advocate for sportsman’s stewardship. We all know what happens to leaders that don’t agree with the RFA.
This is a lot more than can be said about Hutch, as he makes it seem a crime to put the environment and the sport first, personally choosing instead to steer angler support towards the business end of things. “Reading into the details” as Mr. Mauro suggests, will show a concerted RFA effort to buy and insure political favors to help the commercial fisherman score a bigger net load of fish at the recreational anglers expense and in turn, continue to fund his own demonic position.
Hutch continues his moaning about things that only his fringe constituency believes. Hutch appears to get more satisfaction out of watching the NJDEP or NOAA screw-up than he does when our ASMFC commissioners make the landmark decision of moving towards a total catch limit in the Atlantic Menhaden fishery! Is Hutch really a fisherman??
For the record, the organizations that supported my candidacy for the at large Mid Atlantic council seat represent more than 100,000 Jersey anglers and hunters, a far greater majority than is claimed by the loud RFA mouthpieces. When Hutch comes out after Mr. Mauro’s NJOA, thousands of dedicated, conservation minded outdoorsman see right through his facade and know what’s really going on here.
Thanks again to everybody that helped me get through the political council process and even though I didn’t get the seat it, I am very proud to continue to be a voice for the quiet majority. Proud to be a steward of the waters that I fish and the woods that I retreat to for solitude. I am also proud to be focused on working to encourage anglers to get involved and help our dwindling forage base, move towards sustainability of all species and keep the sport of fishing alive.
Tight lines,
Paul

Read other related articles at Ammoland.com: http://www.ammoland.com/2012/08/07/re-turmoil-for-nj-saltwater-anglers-perspective-from-recreational-fishing-alliance/#ixzz25WmIurOo

Link to National Ocean Policy:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/files/documents/2010stewardship-eo.pdf