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Still time for MDCE; Coast Guard attacks illegal fishing

I am always impressed by the dealers who attend the Marine Dealer Conference and Expo. It’s like a retailers’ who’s who. I see so many that are known to be highly successful — indeed, retail leaders. And there’s really no secret to their success.

Simply, these are dealers who recognize it’s critical to invest time and money to stay ahead of their competition. They subscribe to the idea that when you stop learning you’re going backward. So they take advantage of credible opportunities to advance their knowledge and they head for the MDCE in Orlando. It’s our industry’s largest annual event that is designed to bring marketing, sales and management expertise exclusively tailored for dealers.

The MDCE is coming up fast. It’s slated for Dec. 10-13 at the Orange County Convention Center. But there is still time to register.

“The No. 1 reason marine retailers come to MDCE is to participate in the more than 30 educational sessions and workshops offered,” says Liz Walz, vice president and director of education for the Marine Retailers Associations of the Americas. “MDCE offers an in-depth lineup of educational topics; a full-featured 100-exhibits expo hall; a series of fixed networking opportunities; all designed to help marine dealers connect with and learn from others who can foster their success. MDCE features educational tracks, pre-conference workshops, keynote presentations, roundtable discussions and learning labs.”

The MDCE is co-produced by MRAA and Boating Industry magazine. I have said it in the past, and it deserves repeating: Every dealer who sincerely wants to grow cannot afford to miss the MDCE. Why some don’t grab such an opportunity is beyond me.

A Mexican boat seized by the Coast Guard contained 878 pounds of red snapper, 35 pounds of amberjack and fishing gear.

A Mexican boat seized by the Coast Guard contained 878 pounds of red snapper, 35 pounds of amberjack and fishing gear.

Coast Guard fights pirate fishing

Its fancy name is “illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.” But let’s call it what it is — illegal pirate fishing in our waters — and we want it to stop!

So it’s notable that the Coast Guard has successfully increased its efforts to intercept illegal fishing boats in the Gulf of Mexico, where Mexican vessels have been illegally slipping in and out of U.S. territorial waters.

Coast Guard law enforcement crews detected and interdicted a Mexican lancha crew in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone off southern Texas last week. The Coast Guard found four Mexican fishermen and seized the vessel, which contained 878 pounds of red snapper, 35 pounds of amberjack and fishing gear.

“Our limited natural resources are being poached by the illegal activities of the lancha fishermen,” says Cmdr. Keith Pierre, the chief of response at Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi. “We will continue to aggressively defend our resources and sovereignty so that red snapper and other fish species still exist for our future generations.”

Pierre is spot-on. Our stake, as an industry supported in a huge way by America’s recreational anglers, is to see decreased pirate fishing, which would lead to healthier and more plentiful fish stocks. That, in turn, should mean less need for sudden and often unjustified closures to recreational anglers of certain fisheries by the National Marine Fisheries Service, something our industry is aggressively attempting to see changed.

Since Oct. 1 the Coast Guard at Corpus Christi has interdicted seven vessels illegally fishing north of the U.S.-Mexico maritime border. A tip o’ the cap today to the Coast Guard for making pirate fishing an important part of its mission.

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