Feds close Florida oceans: Florida Bay Charter owner says ‘they’re killing us’

October 5, 2013
“Just before the weekend,” Mike Flynn reported for Breitbart Saturday, “the National Park Service informed charter boat captains in Florida that the Florida Bay was “closed” due to the shutdown. Until government funding is restored, the fishing boats are prohibited from taking anglers into 1,100 square-miles of open ocean. Fishing is also prohibited at Biscayne National Park during the shutdown.”

The Park Service will also have rangers on duty to police the ban. Of access to an ocean. The government will probably use more personnel and spend more resources to attempt to close the ocean, than it would in its normal course of business.

The New York Daily News reported Friday that President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden “took a surprise stroll to Taylor Gourmet, where Obama criticized Republicans as the shutdown headed into the weekend.”

Obama also responded to a claim that the administration isn’t concerned about the shutdown, saying that ‘nobody’s winning’ when government employees are off the job.

Due to his administration’s decision to close access to Florida’s fishing waters, a lot of Florida residents may be losing their jobs as well.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC), “Florida is the ‘Fishing Capital of the World’ with more world record fish catches than any other state or country.

From an economic perspective, Florida also leads all states in economic impacts for its marine recreational fisheries and has one of the top producing commercial fisheries in the country.

Saltwater recreational fishing pumps $7.1 billion per year into Florida’s economy and supports 65,212 jobs.

Florida also leads the nation in saltwater anglers.

The Daytona Beach Journal reported Tuesday that “the Florida tourism industry is having a record year.”

While “Florida tourism had a record year in 2012″ — when 91 million tourists visited The Sunshine State — Visit Florida President and CEO Will Seccombe, said “roughly 49 million visitors came to Florida in the first half of 2013.”

Of the 2.4 million people who take to Florida oceans for saltwater fishing each year, FFWCC noted that — while 1,286,000 are residents — 716,000 of Florida’s saltwater anglers are tourists.

Seccombe “added that he expects strong tourism numbers for the third quarter as well.”

But that was before the Obama administration closed Florida’s fishing waters.

As Captain TW – Thomas Wayne — of Florida Bay Charter told Examiner Saturday, the closure is “killing” his business.

“This is what we call ‘Red October,” Wayne explained of the term coined 30 years ago, “because it’s the time when red fish move into the bay and fishermen want to come here and catch them.”

When it comes to yearly income, “Red October” is for charter fishing as November’s “Black Friday” is the holiday shopping kick-off for retail businesses.

“My phone starts ringing off the hook in the middle of September,” Wayne said, “and even more right now.”

Wayne said he usually receives so many calls to book charter fishing excursions on his boat that he books solid refers excess customers to other friends in the industry to fill their books.

But after the Obama administration announced the closing of Florida’s oceans, the bottom fell out of charter fishing’s “Red October” season.

“I have had 20 cancellations and turned down 10 other people,” because of the closing Wayne said.

“The problem with South Florida,” he explained with frustration, “we are completely surrounded by park waters.”

Everything we do is surrounded by Biscayne National Park, Everglades National Park, even all the way on the west coast. We can’t even get on the water. We’re done.

“We have one tiny little piece of water property called Barn Sound between Card Sound Bridge and the Two Fish Creek Bridge going down the stretch to the Florida Keys,” he explained.

I fished there this morning because I had to. It’s the only place I have. You can sit on Card Town Bridge and look across and see the other bridge on the other side of Barn Sound. If you put five boats on there, you’re crowded.

Wayne said he “got out of bed at 3:00 a.m. and hauled butt down there to be one of the first guys on the water” to do some personal fishing Saturday morning. But it was so crowded with “20 other boats,” he only caught a couple of fish.

I can’t take customers down there, because it’s over. We’re done.

Due to past success, Wayne said he just invested $20,000 in rebuilding a boat.

And now I’m just sitting here with bills coming out of my ears.

Wayne also noted that the thousands of tourists who head to Florida to go fishing each year stay at Florida hotels and eat at Florida restaurants.

According “Seafood Business,” two Florida companies — Miami’s Marine Harvest USA and Jacksonville’s Beaver Street Fisheries — are on North America’s top-10 list of suppliers for the nation’s restaurants, fish markets and grocery stores.

With his business already suffering from the closure, Wayne sent a letter to Republican U.S. Rep. Iliana Ros-Lehtinen, — who represents residents like Wayne in South Florida District 27 – begging her to “get back to work and help” us “go to work.”

Wayne has yet to hear from Ros-Lehtinen.

Meanwhile, the White House is encouraging Americans to share their personal stories.

On Oct. 3, White House Deputy Digital Director Nathaniel Lubin added a new post to the White House Blog:

Congress has two jobs to do: pass a budget and pay its bills. But earlier this week, Congress failed to pass legislation to fund the government, and now many vital services are shut down. So, we want to hear: How has the government shutdown affected you?

As Examiner noted Tuesday — day-one of the shutdown — the White House website loaded a new header on every page, which also greets visitors who want to submit their stories.

Due to Congress’s failure to pass legislation to fund the government, the information on this web site may not be up to date. Some submissions may not be processed, and we may not be able to respond to your inquiries.

According to the White House website – also bearing the new header – Lubin “previously served as Digital Director for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, overseeing digital communications and outreach for 2013 inaugural events and the National Day of Service.”

“Prior to the PIC, he served as Director of Digital Marketing for Obama for America,” Obama’s 2012 reelection fundraising team — which morphed into Obama’s agenda fundraising team, Organizing for Action, after his reelection – “and was responsible for all paid advertising.”

In that capacity, he quarterbacked the largest paid digital fundraising, persuasion, and field programs yet run in politics: in total, a budget of more than $112 million. Nathaniel also worked on President Obama’s 2008 campaign, focusing on email marketing. He subsequently helped launch Bully Pulpit Interactive, where he oversaw political accounts including the Democratic National Committee and non-profits including the USO.

According to an anonymous Park Service ranger, quoted Thursday by The Washington Times:

We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.

As Wayne told Examiner Saturday: “They’re killing us.”