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It's time to end longline fishing

It's time to end longline fishing

For the last couple of weeks I have been reading articles about the plight of longline fishermen. The latest was published Feb. 1 (Long- liners say rule endangers livelihood). I feel I must speak out. I am the captain of a local party fishing boat.

For years recreational and commercial bandit fishermen have been trying to get longline fishing abolished in the gulf. Let me tell you why.

Vertical fishermen, like recreational or bandit fishing, is done by anchoring over either structure or hard bottom. One, two or three hook rigs are then dropped down. When they get a bite, they reel up and boat their catch. Unwanted species, or undersize fish, are then quickly released, ensuring a high percentage of survival. This type of fishing does very little damage to the fishery or habitat.

On the other hand, longline fishing uses miles of line, with thousands of hooks laid across the bottom and left to soak for hours or days. When the line is retrieved, it is pulled by hydraulic motors very quickly to the top. Less than 10 percent of what is caught survives, regardless of species. As the cable is pulled up, it drags across coral, doing damage to the habitat.

Fishing is simply hunting underwater. Longline fishing is like hunting with a machine gun. Shoot at anything that moves and keep only what you want. It's high time it was ended.

For the longline crews that are impacted, for every longline vessel taken out of service, two or three bandit boats will be needed to replace them. People will still want grouper. This will create more jobs while protecting the fishery.

Longline boats are easily converted to bandit boats by replacing line spools with bandit rods. All other equipment is virtually the same.

Recreational and commercial bandit fishing has paid the price for longliners for years with bag limit reductions, size limit increases and seasonal closures. We have had to adapt. It's now the longliners' turn. If longliners truly believe themselves to be fishermen, they must realize that by eliminating the practice of longline fishing, they will improve the entire fishery for both commercial and recreational fishermen.

In short, abolishing longline fishing saves a lot more than "flipping reptiles."

Rob Coykendall, New Port Richey

Teaching the medical industry how to shut up | Feb. 6, story

Medical pitfalls

I am a retired nurse. Yes, we did go to seminars and workshops to teach us how to avoid pitfalls in charting and dealing with medical records. It was not because we had done anything wrong, but to circumvent attorneys who will do anything and say anything to win.

The medical profession has so many hard-working, caring people and they shouldn't have to be looking over their shoulders constantly over a misspeak.

As far as the Vioxx suits are concerned, I was somebody who took that drug for pain as long as I could get it. It was the only drug that was being given for arthritis that actually relieved my pain (I tried several others that the doctor prescribed and no others helped). If I could get it today, I would take it. There are a lot of people like me. Several years ago I had a very difficult project to deal with. I would never have been able to make it through the year and a half that it took if it had not been for Vioxx.

There are a lot of drugs that have side effects that are potentially life-threatening, but one has to weigh the benefits against the potential hazards.

The problem with informing patients about side effects reminds me of when I was in nursing school and taking a course called "Medical Diseases." It was amazing as the course progressed how many of us had symptoms of each of the diseases we were studying. Get the picture?

Shirley M. Day, St. Petersburg

Addiction grips mother | Jan. 31

Put the children first

After reading the article written by Molly Moorhead, I was moved to comment from the vantage point of a foster parent who is in it purely for the love of children.

Children bond between the ages of birth and 9 months. While these parents take their time getting the help they need and continue to act in irresponsible and self-destructive ways, the children are growing up with other people, who often are more loving and more "parental" than the biological parents. All extenuating circumstances aside, there is personal responsibility involved in getting pregnant and bringing children into the world!

I am absolutely opposed to these innocent, helpless little ones being returned to neglectful, dangerous and often hostile environments. The number of abuse and homicide cases involving little ones has grown exponentially in recent years, and this should be proof enough that adoption into caring homes should be the goal after one year in foster care if the parent(s) do not complete case plan goals.

Diane Rinaldi, New Port Richey

Contraception has a place

The Bush administration, for religious reasons, fought every form of contraception for the past eight years.

It's time to stop coercing men and women to be parents if they aren't ready for/don't want children. The cost to raise a child to the age of 17 is estimated to be $250,000. Parents who can't afford to take care of their children become dependent on the taxpayer for this $250,000. Providing affordable contraception now will cause decreasing taxpayer costs within nine months. Let's turn our attention and care toward the thousands of abused and abandoned children currently in foster care.

Sara Robertson, St. Petersburg

Lyons wants to lead again | Feb. 5, story

Beware his return

Dr. Henry Lyons acknowledged breaking at least two of the Ten Commandments. He was a thief and he committed adultery. It appears his past misdeeds are not enough to deter members of the National Baptist Convention USA. If the "troops" rally around him and vote him in as convention president, then they will get just what they deserve.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Gail Randle, Clearwater

Fix to unfair credit card rules past due | Feb. 6, Miami Herald editorial

An odor of usury

I recently became an example of why the credit card rules discussed in this editorial are necessary, now! Last year I bit on a 2.9 percent teaser with Advanta. The rate was scheduled to expire in December 2008. I foolishly failed to make a note to myself to satisfy the balance in that month.

The January statement arrived and I went into shock, then into anger mode. The interest rate had soared to 37.18 percent, which smells of usury. An enhanced interest rate would be expected, but this?

In my 40-plus years of the use of credit, I have never been delinquent. My payments on this account were always timely.

The banks and the rest of the credit world whine, "Oh woe is me, please give me billions," and this is how they pass our government's unrestricted beneficence on to the taxpayers.

Arthur N. Eggers, Tampa

Tough inquiry needed now | Feb. 5, editorial

Welcome pressure

Kudos to the Times editorials for the continued pressure to start a criminal investigation of Buddy Johnson's expenditures during his tenure as supervisor of elections for Hillsborough County. It seems as though the officials who should be concerned about his conduct were not inclined to take action.

I do not understand this, but I feel there is a great need to have Florida law enforcement begin an immediate and thorough investigation.

W.C. Rogers, Tampa

Bush kept us safe?

I don't understand those who honor President Bush. They claim he kept us safe.

Were the thousands killed or wounded in a needless war kept safe? Are the millions of people who lost their jobs and homes safe? Do those who are losing their nest eggs in a failed economy feel safe?

Did Bush really keep us safe? I don't think so.

Sol Helfand, New Port Richey

Consider it lip synch, live | Feb. 4, story

Do we care?

Is a long article and large photo about lip synching the national anthem the best use of your front page? Does anyone really care?

Come on guys, you're beginning to act like that "newspaper" on the other side of Tampa Bay.

Dan Powers, Tampa

It's time to end longline fishing 02/08/09 [Last modified: Sunday, February 8, 2009 3:30am]
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