USF Libraries
USF Digital Collections

James Gallagher oral history interview

CLICK HERE FOR SYNCRONIZED AUDIO & FULL-TEXT TRANSCRIPT VIA THE OHPI PLAYER ( Related URL )
MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
James Gallagher oral history interview
Series Title:
Oculina Bank oral history project
Physical Description:
1 sound file (32 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;
Language:
English
Creator:
Gallagher, James, 1968-
Howard, Terry Lee, 1949-
Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Development Foundation
University of South Florida Libraries -- Florida Studies Center. -- Oral History Program
University of South Florida -- Tampa Library
Publisher:
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Charter boat fishing -- Florida -- Fort Pierce   ( lcsh )
Charter boat captains -- Interviews -- Florida -- Fort Pierce   ( lcsh )
Fisheries -- Florida -- Fort Pierce   ( lcsh )
Fishery closures -- Florida -- Fort Pierce   ( lcsh )
Fishery management -- Florida -- Fort Pierce   ( lcsh )
Fishers -- Interviews -- Florida -- Fort Pierce   ( lcsh )
Fishing -- Florida -- Fort Pierce   ( lcsh )
Fort Pierce (Fla.)   ( lcsh )
Saint Lucie County (Fla.)   ( lcsh )
Genre:
Oral history   ( local )
Online audio   ( local )
Oral history.   ( local )
Online audio.   ( local )
interview   ( marcgt )

Notes

Summary:
Oral history interview with charter boat captain James Gallagher. Gallagher moved to Fort Pierce in 1989 and has been running charter or party boats since his arrival. He is somewhat familiar with the Oculina Bank but never fished there much since it is too deep for his method of fishing. Gallagher does not think much of closed areas to fishing, including the Oculina Bank protected area, because he does not believe they improve the fish stock. Enforcement of closed areas is also a problem. He favors bag limits or quotas, which curtail the human desire to take as many fish as possible, but his preferred fishery management tool is restriction to hook and line fishing, as this method gives the fish the choice to bite or not to bite. In this interview, Gallagher also discusses his fishing history and the way his charter business works.
Venue:
Interview conducted September 1, 2010.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Terry Howard.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 027444647
oclc - 706092795
usfldc doi - O06-00046
usfldc handle - o6.46
System ID:
SFS0022061:00001


This item is only available as the following downloads:


Full Text
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 standalone no
record xmlns http:www.loc.govMARC21slim xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.loc.govstandardsmarcxmlschemaMARC21slim.xsd
leader nim 2200529Ia 4500
controlfield tag 001 027444647
005 20140204115238.0
006 m u
m d
007 sz zunnnnnzned
cr nna||||||||
008 110308s2010 flunnnn sd t n eng d
datafield ind1 8 ind2 024
subfield code a O06-00046
0 033
20100901
b 3934
035
(OCoLC)706092795
040
FHM
c FHM
041
eng
d eng
043
n-us-fl
090
SH222.F6
1 100
Gallagher, James,
1968-
245
James Gallagher oral history interview
h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Terry Howard.
260
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
2010.
300
1 sound file (32 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (24 p.)
490
Oculina Bank oral history project
5 FTS
518
Interview conducted September 1, 2010.
FTS
520
Oral history interview with charter boat captain James Gallagher. Gallagher moved to Fort Pierce in 1989 and has been running charter or party boats since his arrival. He is somewhat familiar with the Oculina Bank but never fished there much since it is too deep for his method of fishing. Gallagher does not think much of closed areas to fishing, including the Oculina Bank protected area, because he does not believe they improve the fish stock. Enforcement of closed areas is also a problem. He favors bag limits or quotas, which curtail the human desire to take as many fish as possible, but his preferred fishery management tool is restriction to hook and line fishing, as this method gives the fish the choice to bite or not to bite. In this interview, Gallagher also discusses his fishing history and the way his charter business works.
600
Gallagher, James,
1968-
650
Charter boat fishing
z Florida
Fort Pierce.
Charter boat captains
Florida
Fort Pierce
v Interviews.
Fisheries
Florida
Fort Pierce.
Fishery closures
Florida
Fort Pierce.
Fishery management
Florida
Fort Pierce.
Fishers
Florida
Fort Pierce
Interviews.
Fishing
Florida
Fort Pierce.
651
Fort Pierce (Fla.)
Saint Lucie County (Fla.)
7 655
Oral history.
2 local
Online audio.
local
700
Howard, Terry Lee,
1949-
710
Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Development Foundation.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
Tampa Library.
830
Oculina Bank oral history project.
4 856
u http://digital.lib.usf.edu/?o6.46
y USF ONLINE ACCESS
FTS
951
10
SFU01:002417545;
FTS


xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 transcript
segment
idx 0
time 00:00:0.0
text Terry Howard: Good afternoon, this is Terry Howard. Today is September 1, 2010.  Im at the Fort Pierce City Marina on the vessel the Captain Lew, conducting an oral history with James Gallagher for the Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundations project with the Fort Pierce fishermen on the Oculina Bank HAPC [Habitat Area of Particular Concern].  Welcome, Jim.  Please state your name, spell your name, your place of birth, and your date of birth.
1
00:00:31.3
James Gallagher: James Gallagher, J-a-m-e-s G-a-l-l-a-g-h-e-r.  Place of birth, Neptune, New Jersey.  Date of birth is 3-27-1968 [March 27, 1968].
2
00:00:49.8
TH: Three?
3
00:00:52.0
JG: Twenty-seven. Nineteen sixty-eight.
4
00:00:55.6
TH: Okay, then did you move to Fort Pierce?
5
00:00:57.3
JG: Nineteen eighty-nine.
6
00:00:59.7
TH: What brought you to Fort Pierce?
7
00:01:1.3
JG: There was a party boat out in New Jersey that came down here to fish, and I came down to work on it, and I stayed.
8
00:01:10.2
TH: Now, what year was that?
9
00:01:13.5
JG: Nineteen eighty-nine.
10
00:01:14.2
TH: Nineteen eighty-nine.
11
00:01:15.4
JG: Winter of 1989.
12
00:01:16.6
TH: What party boat was that?
13
00:01:20.5
JG: It was called the Capt. Kern.
14
00:01:21.9
TH: That was here?
15
00:01:24.3
JG: In Fort Pierce, yeah.
16
00:01:25.3
TH: The City Marina?
17
00:01:26.1
JG: No.  It was over in Turning Basin.
18
00:01:27.5
TH: All right.  Are you married?
19
00:01:30.6
JG: Yes.
20
00:01:31.5
TH: Okay.  How old were you when you got married?
21
00:01:34.2
JG: (laughs) Thats 1996.
22
00:01:42.0
TH: Ninety-six [1996], aught-six [2006]it would be fourteen years?  Thirteen years.
23
00:01:50.3
JG: Actually, Im forty-two.  Shes now as old as I was when I got married.  So, 1998 would make me thirty, so I was twenty-eight.
24
00:02:0.1
TH: Twenty-eight, okay.  Do you have children?
25
00:02:2.5
JG: No.
26
00:02:3.2
TH: How much schooling do you have?
27
00:02:6.4
JG: Some college.
28
00:02:7.8
TH: Okay.  Where?
29
00:02:10.2
JG: New Jersey, Jacksonville Univactually in Florida here, Jacksonville University, and Brookdale Community College.
30
00:02:16.9
TH: Do you have another job besides charter boat?
31
00:02:20.2
JG: Yes.  I work for the City of Vero Beach.
32
00:02:22.2
TH: Oh, okay.  What do you do for the City of Vero Beach?
33
00:02:25.9
JG: I work in the environmental control laboratory for the Water and Sewer Department.  We test the water, drinking water and wastewater.
34
00:02:33.0
TH: Interesting.  Do you currently own a boat?
35
00:02:37.6
JG: No.
36
00:02:38.3
TH: Id like to ask questions about the Oculina Bank.  How familiar are you with the Oculina Bank?
37
00:02:44.7
JG: Semi-familiar.  I never fished it a lot.
38
00:02:50.3
TH: Okay.
39
00:02:53.3
JG: Its too deep for what we do.
40
00:02:54.2
TH: Why was the Oculina Bank designated as an area to protect?
41
00:02:58.0
JG: For the coral.
42
00:03:0.1
TH: Can you
43
00:03:2.1
JG: Oh, for the staghorn coral, the Oculina coral.  I guesswell, they say because its a nursery for grouper and snapper.
44
00:03:16.1
TH: Is there anything else you can tell me about the Bank?  What do you know about the coral, or the peaks, or anything like that?
45
00:03:22.5
JG: Well, like I said, I have not fished there much.  I just know its protected because of the coral and the fish.  Other than that
46
00:03:31.1
TH: Okay, what do you think about the closure to the Oculina Bank to anchoring and bottom fishing?
47
00:03:37.0
JG: Well, I think thats a ruse for the public, because anchoringits too deep to anchor, and anybody that fishes out here knows that when youre out that deep, youre not doing a lot of anchor fishing for bottom fish; youre pretty much power drifting and drift fishing.  So anchoring doesnt bother it, and the occasional sinker getting stuck on the bottom doesnt do anything for the coral, or to the bottom, to the habitat.
48
00:04:5.0
TH: Has the closure of the Oculina Bank affected your fishing?
49
00:04:9.1
JG: No, not so much, because like I said, its too deep for what we do, day-tripping and stuff like that, carrying semi-tourists and stuff like that.
50
00:04:16.7
TH: If anchoring and bottom fishing in the Oculina Bank was not prohibitedin other words, if you could fish therewould you fish there?
51
00:04:23.1
JG: Im gonna say, not every day, but on a day where theres not a lot of tide, cause you know, theres a lot of tide the deeper you get out here, there would probably be a possibility.
52
00:04:35.7
TH: How and for what?
53
00:04:36.8
JG: How would we fish?
54
00:04:39.3
TH: How and for what?
55
00:04:40.3
JG: Possibly anchoring, if the tide was not bad, but for grouper and snapper.
56
00:04:44.3
TH: Okay, and you power fish with this boat?
57
00:04:47.3
JG: We can.  We dont do it regularly, because with the way this boats set up you cant see the back of the boat, and thats what you really kind of want to see.  Its difficult, but Ive done it.  Its difficult for me.
58
00:05:0.8
TH: Overall, how has fishing changed since you began fishing in Fort Pierce?
59
00:05:5.2
JG: Oh, God.  Fishing is cycles.  Fish run in cyclesfish stocks run in cycles.  Everybody knows that.  Ive seen the highs and the lows.  Right now, were kind of in a low period, thanks to the government and the cold water that we get in the summertime.  I remember back in the early nineties [1990s], we used to catch so much yellowtail wed have to move off thewed have to move, because they would just surround the boat and you couldnt get another bait past them.  Youd have to move because of the yellowtail, and now you never see them. So, and the muttons, the muttons come and go.  We used to catch them years ago.  Wed catch them up to twenty-four pounds offshore here.  Now, you rarely see one thats over, I guess, twenty inches.
60
00:05:53.4
TH: Mutton snapper.
61
00:05:54.9
JG: Right.  And mangrove snappers seem to have disappeared almost completely.  I mean, you get them occasionally, but theyre very thin.
62
00:06:1.5
TH: So, you think fishing goes in cycles, and were kind of in a low cycle right now?
63
00:06:6.7
JG: I think so, yeah.  I think; and also, I believe theres a closed area down off of St. Lucie for sea bass.  Im not sure, but our bottom is just covered with sea bass.  I mean, that affects our fishing, too, cause you cant get a bait past, you know, without the sea bass tearing it up.  So whatever is going on with the sea bass, its working, cause theyre everywhere. (laughs)
64
00:06:29.2
TH: Have you had any experience with law enforcement within or regarding the Oculina Bank?
65
00:06:34.5
JG: No.
66
00:06:35.2
TH: Okay.  Now, I want to talk about your fishing, your personal fishing history, specifically.  Whats your earliest memory of fishing, and how old were you?
67
00:06:42.3
JG: I guess about eight, fishing with the old man in a rented rowboat.
68
00:06:46.1
TH: Your father?
69
00:06:47.2
JG: Mm-hm.
70
00:06:47.9
TH: Okay, in a rented rowboat?
71
00:06:49.2
JG: Mm-hm.
72
00:06:49.5
TH: Where?
73
00:06:49.2
JG: Up in New Jersey in the Navesink River.
74
00:06:51.9
TH: Freshwater fishing?
75
00:06:53.8
JG: No, its saltwater.
76
00:06:54.9
TH: Saltwater.
77
00:06:55.7
JG: Its a tributary to the Sandy Hook Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
78
00:07:0.4
TH: How did you fish and what did you fish for?
79
00:07:4.1
JG: We were fishing for fluke, flounder, and blue crabs.
80
00:07:8.7
TH: Using blue crabs?
81
00:07:11.2
JG: No, no, and blue crabs.  We went crabbing.  That was my earliest memories.
82
00:07:16.0
TH: About eight years old?
83
00:07:17.9
JG: Yeah.
84
00:07:19.0
TH: How did you learn how to fish?  Who taught you?
85
00:07:21.9
JG: He taught me what he knew, and then we had a friend who was really into fishing and had his own boat.  He taught us to the point where my father ended up getting his own boat.
86
00:07:32.6
TH: What kind of boat?
87
00:07:34.0
JG: It was a twenty-foot aluminum boat, and we did all kind of fishing, from tuna fishing to blue fishing, striper fishing, fluke fishing.
88
00:07:41.8
TH: Did you fish, like, close to shore, or offshore, or just in the bay, or everywhere?
89
00:07:49.6
JG: Everywhere: offshore, inshore.
90
00:07:52.9
TH: How far offshore did you go with it?
91
00:07:54.7
JG: Maximum would probably be about twenty-five miles.
92
00:07:56.6
TH: Thats pretty far.  How did you decide to become a charter boat captain?
93
00:08:1.5
JG: Just something Ive always wanted to do.  I mean, its in my blood; its what Im good at.
94
00:08:11.3
TH: Did you grow up near, like was your home near the water?
95
00:08:15.5
JG: Oh, yeah.  Not right on the water.  We were aboutprobably about four miles as the crow flies; but yeah, we were close to the shore.
96
00:08:23.1
TH: So, you just always had
97
00:08:24.9
JG: Right, the marinathe boat basin was close by and the party boats were always there: a natural progression.
98
00:08:32.8
TH: Did you mate for a while?
99
00:08:35.0
JG: Sure.  I worked my way up from scrubbing buckets to driving.
100
00:08:40.7
TH: When did you start fishing in the Fort Pierce area?  Again, age and year; we got 1989, youre about
101
00:08:46.6
JG: Twenty-one.
102
00:08:47.4
TH: Twenty-one?
103
00:08:48.1
JG: Mm-hm.
104
00:08:48.7
TH: Okay, and were you fishing commercially, recreationally, or working on charter boat sector?
105
00:08:55.5
JG: It was a party boat.
106
00:08:58.5
TH: So you went right to party boats.
107
00:09:0.5
JG: Yeah.  I was down here personal fishing for recreational as well.  See, party boats gotta be considered recreational.
108
00:09:6.1
TH: But, youre a charter captain.
109
00:09:8.2
JG: Yeah.  Thats ayoure splitting hairs when you say charter boat captain, party boat captain, because its the same business but a little bit different.
110
00:09:16.5
TH: I understand.  So what did you fish for, mostly, when you first came in?
111
00:09:22.7
JG: Snapper and grouper.
112
00:09:23.5
TH: How do you fish for these, gear and bait?
113
00:09:26.5
JG: With lead sinkers and leader and a hook, and catch grunts and sometimes cigar minnows, beeliners, whatever, pinfish.  Usually the majority of the baitguys use the cut up grunts.
114
00:09:46.4
TH: Now, do you stop on the way out to catch live bait?
115
00:09:50.3
JG: In the summertime, when the oceans lit and you can see the bait pods, yeah.  If I have the right crowd to do it, Ill stop and well catch cigar minnows or greenies, whatever.  But 99 percent of the time we just catch bait out on the reef.
116
00:10:6.2
TH: When you get out there?
117
00:10:8.1
JG: Yeah.  When we take her up on the first drop, I mean, you know, thats how we get our bait.  Most of the guys will spend five, ten, fifteen minutes catching bait.
118
00:10:15.9
TH: Okay.  Do you take frozen bait?  You have frozen bait?
119
00:10:19.9
JG: We supply squid on the boat; frozen squid, actually, and the mates cut it up.  Some guys bring their own frozen cigar minnows or sardines or whatever.
120
00:10:28.9
TH: How big a weights do you use?
121
00:10:33.1
JG: Depends on the fisherman.  The beginners, we tend to give them a little heavier lines.  They dont know how to control it so well.  Ill fish a four or five ounce, personally.  Theres some guys, current permitting, you know, weather permitting
122
00:10:48.4
TH: It varies on the current?
123
00:10:50.5
JG: It varies with the current.  The current dictates pretty much what youre gonna do that day.
124
00:10:56.1
TH: Who did you fish with, and who owned the boat when you first started fishing down in Fort Pierce?
125
00:11:2.3
JG: The boats name was the Capt. Kern.  They were only here for one season.  C-a-p-t K-e-r-n, and I believe theyre out of business now.  They were from Belmar, New Jersey.
126
00:11:15.9
TH: Okay.  Belmar?
127
00:11:17.8
JG: B-e-l-m-a-r.
128
00:11:19.5
TH: Okay, and after that?
129
00:11:24.8
JG: What did I do after that?  Right, then the fishing boat called the Fish Connection.  That was a thirty-foot, twelve passenger boat that they built here in Fort Pierce.  It was an island hopper.
130
00:11:41.2
TH: Okay, and you bottom fished mostly?
131
00:11:45.2
JG: Yeah.  That was it.  The ownerthe guy who built the boatthat was his dream, to build the boat and take other people fishing.  Pretty much I was being paid to take him fishing, but he didnt have a license to run the boat and I did.  I knew him from the Capt. Kern, and we just got involved, and I ran that boat.  It was that (inaudible) right here off the Tiki Bar, actually, one of the first ones when the Tiki Bar, or when this marina was still privately owned.
132
00:12:12.4
TH: Okay.  Thats here at the City Marina.
133
00:12:14.5
JG: Mm-hm.
134
00:12:15.0
TH: Okay, and then after that?
135
00:12:17.2
JG: A boat called the Fish Stalker.
136
00:12:20.8
TH: Fish Stalker?  Okay.
137
00:12:21.7
JG: Mm-hm.
138
00:12:22.7
TH: Okay.
139
00:12:24.3
JG: That was here at the City Marina, and that was a sixty-five foot party boat.  That was here for five years.
140
00:12:29.3
TH: All right, and then?
141
00:12:33.0
Unidentified Woman: Two boats.  Sebastian.
142
00:12:34.3
JG: Oh, thats right!  I ran them in Sebastian for a year.
143
00:12:36.9
Unidentified Woman: Captain Kidd.
144
00:12:37.3
JG: Yeah, and in Sebastian we had Captain Kidd, when we were up in Sebastian.
145
00:12:40.8
TH: Captain?
146
00:12:43.4
JG: Kidd, K-i-d-d.  And then this boat.
147
00:12:52.4
TH: And then after that, the Captain Lew?
148
00:12:55.0
JG: Yeah.
149
00:12:55.8
TH: Who did you fish with?  Did you have any partners that you fished with along the way, or did you mostlydid they let you captain the boats?
150
00:13:8.8
JG: Right.  Yeah, I was pretty much for hire.
151
00:13:10.3
TH: Okay.  You were not related to any of these people?
152
00:13:13.6
JG: No.
153
00:13:14.3
TH: Where did you go to fish when you began fishing here?
154
00:13:19.2
JG: Began fishing here?
155
00:13:20.2
TH: Yeah.
156
00:13:21.1
JG: Northeast grounds.
157
00:13:24.8
TH: Northeast grounds.
158
00:13:25.9
JG: Right.  Bethel Shoal.  Didnt quite get out to Oculina Bank too much.  Just the twenty-seven fathom drops, and thats about it.
159
00:13:39.7
TH: Did you go south to any of the wrecks?
160
00:13:41.2
JG: No, didnt go to the wrecks, cause by the time the (inaudible) boats that got there, they were covered up, so it really is not beneficially to take a party for us to get there.  By the time we get there, its ten oclock in the morning and theyre already covered up.  We dont go south too much.
161
00:13:54.9
TH: Mostly go north to northeast grounds?
162
00:14:0.3
JG: Correct.
163
00:14:0.9
TH: Lots of rocks out there?
164
00:14:2.1
JG: Right, and thats the beneficial part is that youre not traveling a long distance between drops, because, you know, the rocks are pretty close together.  The reefs run like a tree branch offshore there, and dictating on what the current dictates whats going on and where youre gonna fish; try to get out of the tide.
165
00:14:22.1
TH: Now, during what months of the year do you fish for what fish?  Like, lets start with grouper.
166
00:14:31.0
JG: Year round.
167
00:14:32.8
TH: Okay.  Snapper?
168
00:14:34.6
JG: Year round.
169
00:14:35.7
TH: Sea bass?  (laughs)
170
00:14:37.3
JG: We fish for everythingwe fish year round, some times of the yearwe fish year round for snapper and grouper.  Thats mainly what were chasing; but if we should catch a kingfish or a dolphin or a cobia, thats good, too.
171
00:14:55.2
TH: Okay, but you dont really target those.
172
00:14:57.6
JG: No.  Were not gonna go, Were gonna go sea bass fishing today, and then justalthough you can do that today.  You cant run a grouper special here, because its just not going to happen.
173
00:15:9.0
TH: So, really, whatever shows up.
174
00:15:13.3
JG: Pretty much, pretty much.
175
00:15:18.0
TH: How long does a fishing trip last?
176
00:15:19.3
JG: Our all-day trips go from 8:30 to 4:30, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
177
00:15:26.1
TH: And you have partial days, three-quarter days?
178
00:15:29.1
JG: Were going to start half-days here in November.
179
00:15:30.8
TH: Okay, and half days go?
180
00:15:32.7
JG: Theyre going to be from eight to twelve, and from one to five.
181
00:15:36.1
TH: How much was an average trip catch?  I mean, like, how many head in a count?  I know its a tough question.  An average.
182
00:15:50.3
JG: Well, Im going toIll give you a good day, what I consider a good day.   A good day is twenty head of snapper.  Thats a day Im not gonna complain about.  Can it be better, yeah, but if I have, say twenty, twenty-five people and I have twenty head of snapper, being a mixture of mangroves and muttons and, at the time, genuines, to me thats a good day.  Im not gonna complain about that.  Now, thats the middle of the road.  You have super days with over forty head of snapper, and weve had
183
00:16:19.7
Unidentified Woman: When?
184
00:16:20.6
JG: Back in the Fish Stalker days.
185
00:16:22.4
Unidentified Woman: Well, that was a long time ago.
186
00:16:24.3
JG: Well, heIm trying to establish an average.
187
00:16:29.6
Unidentified Woman: Oh, okay.
188
00:16:31.2
JG: So, that goes down to zero.  Like now in the summertime, I mean, were really pickin.  Its just pretty much the sea bass and the triggerfish because of the cold water.
189
00:16:40.5
TH: Now, are you catching a lot of triggerfish?
190
00:16:43.7
JG: Yeah.  Best eating fish out there.
191
00:16:48.9
TH: Okay, so how many years do you fish for grouper?
192
00:16:55.4
JG: Nineteen eighty-nine, 2009, so thats twenty, twenty-one years?
193
00:17:1.0
TH: Actually, I guess you can say twenty-one years for everything, snapper
194
00:17:4.2
JG: Ever since Ive been in Florida, yes, twenty-one years.
195
00:17:6.7
TH: Okay.  Why did you stop fishing for grouper recently?
196
00:17:13.7
JG: We stopped fishing for grouper between January and April because the government does not let us keep them.  Well probably never ever catch anotherbe able to keep another red snapper.  So, thats why we stopped fishing.
197
00:17:33.1
TH: So, what do you do next?  The answer there would be?
198
00:17:41.0
JG: What to do next after I stop fishing?
199
00:17:42.8
TH: For grouper, then you fish mainly for sea bass?
200
00:17:46.6
JG: We dont change our operation, because the grouper and snapper live in the same areas.  Pretty much what we do differently is you lighten up your tackle.  Should you hook a grouper during those times and he breaks you off, you couldnt keep him anyway.
201
00:18:1.1
Unidentified Woman: Theres a lot more caves in Sebastian.
202
00:18:5.3
JG: Yeah.  This is Sebastian; off the bottom of Sebastian is different than it is here.
203
00:18:11.2
TH: When did you start working as a charter boat captain in the Fort Pierce area?  We already asked that.  Who you fished for, who do you work with?  Its a lot of repetitiveness, here.  Ill get down here.  On average, how offshore do you go?
204
00:18:24.3
JG: About twelve miles.
205
00:18:25.1
TH: Twelve miles, okay.  How do you decide where to go on the mornings when you head out?
206
00:18:30.2
JG: Based on what they mightve done the day before, what they did or did not do the day before.  Pretty muchwhen I was doing it every day, I could findit was a pattern.  When I do it now, once, twice a week, its a little harder.  I got to depend on what the other guys are doing.  Like, somebody went here yesterday and Im not going to go there and they didnt do anything, Im not going to go there today.  The big indicatora big factor where we go is the tide, the current.
207
00:19:0.6
TH: Can you elaborate a little?
208
00:19:2.4
JG: With a hard north tide, we got to stay inshore a little bit, a little shallower.  If the tide is not as hard, we can get out deeper.
209
00:19:11.3
TH: Okay.  We already talked about how long is a fish[ing trip], average catch; we just discussed that.  How many years have you been charter captain?
210
00:19:22.7
JG: Its the same, twenty-one years.
211
00:19:24.9
TH: Twenty-one years, okay.  Finally, Id like to talk about how your fishing has changed over time in regards to the Oculina Bank.  Since 1984, several changes have been made in the regulations of the Oculina Bank.  Id like to know if any of these regulations affected your fishing, and if so, how?  The Oculina Bank was initially closed to trawling, dredging, and bottom longlining in 1984.  Did this affect your fishing, and if so, how?
212
00:19:54.2
JG: I wasnt here then.
213
00:19:55.8
TH: So, the answer would be no.
214
00:19:58.9
JG: No. (laughs)
215
00:19:59.8
TH: In 1994, ten years later, the Oculina Bank was designated an experimental closed area for fishing for and retention of snapper [and] grouper species was prohibited.  Snapper [and] grouper fishing boats were also prohibited from anchoring.  Was your fishing impacted by this regulation?
216
00:20:17.9
JG: Yes.
217
00:20:18.7
TH: How?
218
00:20:19.3
JG: Well, we cant fish there.   If you cant anchor and if you cant fish there at all, then thats really another place you cant go, you cant ever get to.  Thats how it affects the fishermen.  Me specifically?
219
00:20:35.6
TH: It hasnt improved anything.
220
00:20:39.4
JG: Yeah, Im gonna say.  (laughs)  Yeah, it has not improved anything, as far as Im concerned, because I dont think the closing of the fishing area has anything to do with the fish.  The fish run in cycles, you know.  Closing the area for fishing, I dont think it helps anything.
221
00:21:3.9
TH: Okay.
222
00:21:5.0
JG: Hook and line fishing.  Hook and line fishing does nothing to decimate the fish stock.
223
00:21:9.3
TH: Then, in 1996, all anchoring was prohibited within the Oculina Bank.  Did this impact your fishing, and if so, how?
224
00:21:18.7
JG: Not really.  The same way.
225
00:21:22.8
TH: Being impacted was when you were shut off from catching snapper and grouper in that area.
226
00:21:26.6
JG: Sure.  I mean, yeah.  I mean, I said we didnt fish there often, but you know, the impact would be that we couldnt.  We could not go there if we wanted to.
227
00:21:34.7
TH: It was like another resource for you?
228
00:21:39.7
JG: Sure.  Itd be another area to fish that we couldnt get to and could not go to.
229
00:21:43.9
TH: Okay.  Nineteen ninety-six [1996], trawling for rock shrimp was prohibited in the area east and north, as I showed you on the map, of the designated Oculina Bank.  In 1998, this area was incorporated into the Oculina Bank HAPC.  Fishing with a bottom longline, trawl, or dredge was prohibited in this expanded area, as was anchoring by any vessel.  Was your fishing impacted by this regulation?
230
00:22:12.7
JG: Not really.  What really impacted was Dixie Crossroads up in Titusville.  Rock shrimp became very expensive.  I dont know if youve ever been there, but
231
00:22:24.1
TH: Because they couldnt catch rock shrimp?
232
00:22:25.5
JG: Well, you couldnt go there to catch the rock shrimp.
233
00:22:27.7
TH: Where was that place, again?
234
00:22:31.1
JG: Titusville.  Dixie Crossroads.
235
00:22:33.1
TH: Thats a place?  A restaurant?
236
00:22:34.8
JG: Yeah.  Rock shrimp; they used to be delicious and cheap.
237
00:22:38.9
TH: The designationand this is the essence.  The designation of marine areas that are closed to fishing has been used more frequently as a fishery management tool.  What do you think of the use of closed areas to fishing compared to other types of management regulations, such as quotas, closed seasons, trip limits, et cetera?
238
00:23:1.9
JG: I think that closed areas are ridiculous for hook and line, because hook and line fishing, like I said before, doesnt do anything to a fish stock.  Because if youre just hook and line fishing, as compared to the net or spearfishing, or any other type, the fish is not going to eat; hes not going to bite that hook, you know?  It just doesnt do anything to the fish stock.
239
00:23:27.0
TH: You mean, if theyre not biting, theyre conserv
240
00:23:29.5
JG: Theyre conserving on their own.  You know, fish dont bite every day.  You know that from being a fisherman.
241
00:23:34.8
TH: Quotas?
242
00:23:38.1
JG: Bag limits, yes, because I think that actually what youre doing there is curtailing human nature.  Oh, theyre biting today, Im gonna fill the boat with them.  You know, leave some for tomorrow, but I like to keep what I catch as well.  You know what I mean.  Quotas are for the people, theyre notI mean, they do protect the fish from being wasted, because Ive seen tons of fish wasted that shouldnt.
243
00:24:6.5
TH: Slot limits?
244
00:24:7.3
JG: I like slot limits.  I think thats what should have been done with the red snapper, because you just completely shut off the fishery out there.  And I could take this boat right now, and anchor it up in ninety feet of water, and we could be knee-deep in red snapper in a couple of hours.  I mean, they are thick.  And everybody knows that red snappers grow up to thirty pounds.  So, I cant keep any.  But if I can keep one between sixteen and twenty-four inches, thats perfect for my customers, and let the little ones go, let them mature, and let the big egg-layers go.  Take a picture and throw it back.
245
00:24:42.4
TH: Okay.
246
00:24:43.3
JG: Not to mention that these fishthey dont survive the trip up.  Let them go.  Thats a whole other thing.
247
00:24:51.9
TH: Thats the problem with the slot limits.
248
00:24:53.5
JG: Thats the problem with any kind of catch and release fishing out of deep water.  Slot limit coming out of the river is great.
249
00:24:59.6
TH: Bottom fishing in deep water.
250
00:25:2.0
JG: Right.  You reel that fish up in less than a minute out of 90, 110 foot of water and some deeper, 240 foot of water, that fishs brain explodes.  You can send him back down and somethings gonna eat him, if he even makes the trip back down.
251
00:25:13.9
TH: So hed be bait if he goes down?
252
00:25:16.0
JG: Yeah.  Hes going to vibrate and someones gonna get him.
253
00:25:18.9
TH: So which do you prefer?  What do you think is the best way, fairest, most equitable to both fishermen and fish, to manage the fisheries?
254
00:25:29.8
JG: Hook and line only.  No longlines, even though thats a hook and line fishery, but thats thirty miles of hook.  No nets, no spearfishing, no powerheading.  We got to protect the wildlife.  Oh, and that, too.  Enforcement.  We have no enforcement.  I mean, okay, its all about the Oculina Bank.  I could go out there now and we could anchor, we could fish, we could bottom fish or whatever, and come back in, and nobodys ever gonna say boo to us.  Thats the truth.  You could close the entire ocean, but if nobodys watching it, what difference does it make?
255
00:26:10.1
TH: So enforcement is a problem?
256
00:26:11.8
JG: Yeah.  Well, now it is.  I mean, now its a joke.  I mean, I dont want to be enforced, but I really dont like people telling me where I can or cannot fish, you know.
257
00:26:20.0
TH: As a charter captain, youre probably very careful.  Are you careful?
258
00:26:25.0
JG: Of course.  We have to be on here, because were a public boat and we follow the letter of the law.  You know, they come on the boat here, they study what were catching, they measure every type of fish that we catch, they count em.  I mean, Joe Blow on his boat herenobodys watching him.
259
00:26:42.2
TH: A private fishing boat.
260
00:26:43.6
JG: Exactly.  Nobodys watching him.  Hes out there being a pirate coming in with a cooler full of red snapper.  Theres nobody around.  Whos gonna stop him?  Somebody in the riverand half the time these guys in the river, whether its the Coast Guard or the FWC [Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission], they dont know what theyre looking at anyway.
261
00:27:1.0
TH: Okay.  Anything else you want to add to that at all?
262
00:27:7.1
JG: I dont agree with closed areas.  I dont believe that any part of the ocean should be closed to any kind of hook and line fishing.  That does nothing to the fish stock.  And because the scientists say so, that doesnt hold any water with me.  I mean, scientists are wrong all the time, you know.  If they were tagging fish, and marking, Okay, this fish and he spent his life on the life on the reef, or whateverI mean, I just dont believe what the scientists say half the time.
263
00:27:37.5
TH: Okay.
264
00:27:38.4
JG: I think were ingrained in this country to believe Oh, the scientists must be right.
265
00:27:41.6
TH: Well, thinking ahead to the future, what do you think fishing in Fort Pierce will be like in ten years?
266
00:27:47.4
JG: Well, Ive always said since Ive been fishing here that Ive watched the ups and downs of fishing, and someday well be running half-day trips for grunts, so I dont know if that day is coming at all.  Our bottom fishing is kind of in a down slope right now.
267
00:28:1.7
TH: But you just said you could catch all the snapper you wanted.
268
00:28:3.7
JG: Yes, red snapper.  If we were allowed to keep red snapper, it would be great.  They can stand the cool water that we have right now.  You know, were catching keepers.  I had one up here fifteen pounds last week.  If we can go catch them, that would be a big boom for our businessif we could keep them.  The boats north of us in Sebastian, the Cape Canaveral, theyre killing those guys up there with that red snapper closure.  Killing them, because the past couple years theres been no mangroves or muttons north of Fort Pierce.  All the boats off of Sebastian have been red snappers and grouper, and mostly sea bass.  Now, they cant catch red snappers, so I dont know what those guys are gonna do up there.  And then, when you close the beeliners from November to March
269
00:28:48.0
TH: Beeliners?
270
00:28:48.8
JG: Vermillion snapper.  The boats up north of Sebastian, north of the Cape, out of Daytona and Jacksonville, thats their bread and butter.  They cant catch them four months out of the year?
271
00:28:59.2
TH: Youre saying the fishing closures
272
00:29:4.0
JG: Fish closures andthats not the wayits not gonna work with ocean fish.  It may work with redfish, or may work with snook, tributary fish.  But pelagic species, I dont see how.
273
00:29:17.6
TH: The ocean fish.
274
00:29:18.3
JG: Right.  The bottom fish.
275
00:29:19.3
TH: Okay.  Go back to my question: in ten years, what do you think fishing will be like in Fort Pierce?  Youve been here since 1989well, twenty years.
276
00:29:31.9
JG: Id like to think itll be better, but I knowits hard to say, cause fish are in cycles.  I dont think itllone of my fears is that the government has their foot in the door with the red snapper, and whats next?  So, its hard to say what its going be like in ten years.  Id like to say itd be better, but will it be better due to the closure of the Oculina Bank?  No way.
277
00:30:3.0
TH: Okay.
278
00:30:5.2
JG: That was donethe closure of the Oculina Bank was done to save the coral out there.  Some environmentalHarbor Branch or whatever got involved to save the deepwater coral.
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution at Florida Atlantic University conducted scientific research referenced in the Oculina Bank closure.  It is a non-profit oceanographic institution dedicated to marine and ocean research and education operated by Florida Atlantic University.
279
00:30:15.6
TH: From?
280
00:30:16.4
JG: From being broken, and fromour sinkers are tearing up the bottom and anchoring.  I mean, I dont know anybody who was anchoring up out there.
281
00:30:24.7
TH: I think it was originally closed to draggers.
282
00:30:28.0
JG: Originally, but then it went
283
00:30:30.5
TH: (inaudible)
284
00:30:33.2
JG: Well, look at the difference.  Im gonna bounce a ten-pound weight off the bottom, or an eighty-foot dragger is gonna drag his gear, and you know what?  The draggers arent dragging over Oculina Bank, because they know where it is, and theyre gonna snag their nets on it.  Nobodys draggin over Oculina Bank.  Those draggers and those trawlers, they know where every snag is, because you know what? They snag their gear on the rocks, theyre gonna lose everything.  So, they know where not to go.  So, thats a ruse to the public, too.  That doesnt make any sense.  I wish I wasin 1984 I was very young.  I was still in high school.
285
00:31:9.0
TH: Okay.  Anything else youd like to add?
286
00:31:15.5
JG: No.  I think I covered what was on my mind.
287
00:31:22.4
TH: Okay.  Thank you very much, Jim, Captain Jim, for sharing your fishing history with us.  With that, well wrap this up.
288
00:31:32.1
JG: Okay.



PAGE 1

COPYRIGHT NOTICE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 201, University of South Florida. All rights, reserved. This oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrighted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.