Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Trump's trade war claims America's boat builders and RV makers as victims

America’s boat builders and recreational vehicle manufacturers are each fearful the Trump Administration’s new tariffs will erode profits, stifle growth, and create unemployment within their respective communities.

Indeed, both recreational-dependent industries are seeing the cost of manufacturing goods all ready escalating with no ceiling in sight. All due to the addition of tariffs on imported aluminum and steel for starters.

And at the other end of the product pipe line are retaliatory extra charges being assessed on finished goods. Canada, Mexico and the European Union are all attaching their own punitive import taxes on boats shipped from the U.S. And those markets account for fully 69 percent of all manufactured boats exported from this country, industry spokesmen say.

More specifically the U.S. recreational boating industry says it is facing a triple threat from tariffs on steel and aluminum, as well as anti-dumping claims on what are called countervailing duties on Chinese aluminum sheet, along with tariffs on nearly 300 marine related products.

The negative impact of such add-on fees, tariffs and the like could result in a loss of up to $1.7 billion for the boat-building industry alone, says the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

In effect, the Association – along with the European Boating Industry trade organization and the International Council of Marine Marine Industry Associations – collectively say their industry is being caught in the middle of economic trench warfare, “with extremely serious consequences for the sector on both sides of the Atlantic.”

President Trump’s recent announcement to impose a worldwide 10-percent import tariff on aluminum and 25-percent tariff on steel has faced criticism abroad, including a proposal by the European Union to put a range of US made products, including recreational vessels, on a retaliatory tariff list,” the three partners say in a joint communique.

In the U.S., the recreational boating industry contributes $38.2 billion in gross domestic product, supports 35,000 businesses and 650,000 direct and indirect jobs, the partnership says in hammering home the economic value of their operations.

Thus any additional cost on metals will drive up prices and drive away buyers, the industry says.

Aluminum is a critical raw material for boat and marine component manufacturing, and increased costs for US manufacturers to source this product will disrupt sales to a pontoon and aluminum fishing segment that accounted for $3 billion in U.S. sales and 110,000 boats,” says the three organizations also.

Using history as a backdrop, the three groups note that a similar trade war in 2002 under the-then George H.W. Bush Administration saw a cascading effect that caused a loss of some 200,000 marine-related jobs in this country.

There is no winner in a trade war,” the marine industry lobbying triumvirate says.

We have in the past expressed our subscription to the idea that mutually beneficial economic growth is achievable through tariff elimination, simplified certification procedures and internationally harmonized standards,” the partners add.

We reiterate our conviction that a reasonable and balanced partnership between the USA and the EU, which does not threaten growth, jobs and innovation, is the only sustainable way forward.”

Alarmed as well is this country’s recreational vehicle industry, an economic segment that interestingly enough has very strong ties with Indiana. That is the state in which Vice President Mike Spence hails from and for which he served as governor prior to being selected by Trump to serve as his second in command.

Indeed, Indiana’s strong connection to the RV industry is reflected in Congress. The U.S. Senate’s bipartisan “RV Caucus” - whose purpose is to promote the industry within Congress - is co-chaired by Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly with that state’s other senator, Todd Young, also being a member. On the House side, Indiana U.S. Representative Jackie Walorski is co-chair of its “RV Caucus” with four other Indiana House members also serving on the body.

Right now, manufacturers are concerned that the tariffs could hurt the RV market by increasing their costs and forcing them to raise prices. RV makers are trying to hold the line on price for now, but that becomes more difficult the longer the tariffs remain in place,” Kevin Broom, spokesman for the Recreational Vehicle Manufacturers Association, said to this reporter. 

The short explanation is that tariffs on steel and aluminum negatively impacts RV production in the U.S. in several ways. Among them are increasing production costs both for RV manufacturers as well as their suppliers, the Association adds.

Yet even before the tariffs were implemented, domestic steel and aluminum producers were increasing their prices to downstream RV industry users, by amounts between 10 and 30 percent, Broom said as well.

Expanding on the subject, the RVMA added that “the scope of the steel and aluminum tariffs that have been enacted is far too broad to have the intended effect of curbing abuses by certain countries, and will only create new challenges for American businesses to the benefit of foreign competitors.”

And as if the additional cost of raw metals was not enough, prices to the consumer on RV models at retail in March were “up 8.5 percent versus the same time last year” Broom says.
Not surprisingly therefore the RVIA “opposes increased steel and aluminum tariffs which increase the cost to manufacture RVs and their components.”
As for what appears not to be impacted - at least for now, anyway - is the cost of imported outboard engines unless they are assembled as part of a packaged item. In which case the additional expense is the result of the tariffs on imported metals.
Spokesmen for both Honda Marine and Yamaha Marine told this reporter at the time this story was written that they are unaware of any additional levy or tariff on their respective outboard engines.
Similarly, a spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation said his organization's members are not experiencing any new tariff or duties being applied to handguns, rifles and shotguns being imported into the United States.
- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Proposed rule change would protect potential new Ohio record smallmouth bass applicant

Under a proposal announced July 11th an angler catching a new Ohio state record smallmouth bass won’t have to worry about either breaking the law or returning the fish to water.

The eight-member Ohio Wildlife Council heard for the first time several new fishing – and a few hunting and trapping - rule changes.

Among the proposals is one that if approved would remove the current May 1st to the last Saturday closure on the taking of smallmouth bass and largemouth bass from the waters of Lake Erie. With the provision, however, that from May 1st through the forth Saturday in June an angler could keep only one bass.

Outside of this period, says the Ohio Division of Wildlife, and which presented the proposals to the Council, the existing five-bass daily limit and 14-inch minimum size limit would still apply.

The reason for the proposal would help answer the question of what an angler would have to do if he or she caught a new state record smallmouth bass from Lake Erie and would then be forced to release it or else be caught breaking the law,” said John Windau, the Wildlife Division spokesman.

Under rules established by the Outdoor Writers of Ohio’s State Record Fish Committee which maintains Ohio’s list of record fish, an applicant must obey all state fishing regulations but also is required to present the specimen to a Wildlife Division fisheries biologist for species verification.

This stipulation would thus prevent keeping and killing a potential new state record bass since doing so would violate the Record Fish Committee rule of obeying all fishing regulations. Yet by releasing the fish the angler would void the rule of requiring that the fish be presented for weighing on a certified scale and for verification by a fisheries scientist. In other words: Catch-22.

The rule proposal change also will also a person catching a bass of a lifetime to keep it for mounting,” Windau said.

Windau noted that the Wildlife Division did not present any rule change proposals impacting potential alterations to the daily bag limit on either Lake Erie-caught walleye or yellow perch. That is because the various Great Lakes states and the province of Ontario meets each late winter to discuss the coming year’s quotas and establish seasons and d bag limits. Those proposals are typically presented in March, said Windau.

However, other proposals and other rules items presented by the Wildlife Division to the Council July 11th did include:



Crappie Fishing:
Changes were proposed to crappie size and bag limits at certain waters. It was proposed that the 30-fish daily bag limit and the 9-inch minimum size limit for crappie be removed at the following lakes and reservoirs: Acton, Cledening, Hargus, Highlandtown, Knox, Madison, Nimisila, Rush Creek and Springfield lakes; C.J. Brown, Clear Fork, Griggs and West Branch reservoirs. Removal of these regulations is expected to improve the crappie fisheries at these locations as well as provide anglers more opportunities to harvest fish from these areas.

Licensing of Charter Captains:

It is proposed that rules be amended to reflect the modernization of the fishing guide application and issuance program. Applicants will no longer be required to submit a notarized copy of their U.S. Coast Guard license with their fishing guide license application. Applicants can submit a digital copy of the US Coast Guard license as part of the on-line licensing system. This will reduce a burden on the regulated businesses.

Camping at the K H Butler Wildlife Area:

It is proposed that this rule be amended to allow camping at the K H Butler Wildlife Area located in Gallia County which is in Wildlife District four. Camping will be permitted at ten (10) designated camping sites during the time of March 1 to November 30, however camping will be restricted to self-contained camping vehicles only. The K H Butler wildlife area is primarily utilized as a public boat ramp with access on the Ohio River. Providing this opportunity for additional public use will encourage more utilization of this area and encourage travel and fishing in this region.

Dock Fees:

Increase the annual fee for watercraft docking permits at ODNR-Division of Wildlife owned docks.

Ginsing:

Changes to ginseng harvest requirements.

Pymatuning Fishing:

It is proposed to amend a rule in order to clarify that the bag limits for walleyes, muskellunge, crappie, or black bass at Pymatuning lake are daily bag limits. This change will provide for consistent regulations with Pennsylvania.

Spotted Bass Name Change And Also Ice Fishing Rule Change:

It is proposed to amend the rule to allow removing the word “Kentucky” when referencing spotted bass. “Kentucky is not part of the common name for this fish.
It is further proposed to clarify the rule which requires fish to be whole or complete while fishing, to include when fishing on or through the ice. This rule applies to all waters where a fishing license is required.

River Otter Trapping Approved Changes:

New counties were approved to open for river otter trapping, as the species is now prevalent in many areas. All counties formerly in Zone “A” have been moved to Zone “B.” In addition, several counties were moved from Zone “C” to Zone “B.”

These counties are: Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Perry, Scioto and Vinton. All three river otter trapping zones season bag limits have not changed. Total river otter trapping season bag limits are zero otters for Zone A, one otter for Zone B and three otters for Zone C.

Other Proposals:

Additional approved rule changes include increasing quail hunting opportunities at Tri-Valley and Crown City wildlife areas, and allowing the use of attached non-visible light-emitting range finders and other devices when hunting with a longbow or crossbow.

A statewide public hearing on the proposed rules will be held at the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s District One office on Thursday, Sept. 13, at 9 a.m. The office is located at 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus 43215.

The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all ODNR Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. The council will vote on the proposed rules and season dates after considering public input at their meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 10.

Council meetings are open to the public. Individuals who want to provide comments on a topic that is currently being considered by council are asked to register at least two days before the meeting by calling 614-265-6304. For those unable to attend the hearing, comments will also be accepted online at wildohio.gov. The online form will be available in August.

By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Former Ohio Wildlife chief plucked for prestigious Interior Departmment panel

Retired Ohio Division of Wildlife chief Mike Budzik has joined a blue-ribbon panel designated to advice the Trump administration on pro-sportsmen and pro-shooting issues.

The 18-person Hunting and Shooting Sports Council will meet at least twice annually in Washington to – in the words of the U.S. Department of the Interior to provide the agency’s secretary - and the Agriculture Department Secretary - “with advice regarding the establishment and implementation of existing and proposed policies and authorities with regard to wildlife and habitat conservation.”

The purely advisory council will also examine ways to benefit wildlife resources; encourage partnership among the public, the sporting conservation organizations, state, tribal, territorial, and federal government; and benefit recreational hunting and recreational shooting sports, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said.

As noted in federal law established by Congress, the panel will sunset in two years. It was scheduled to meet July 11th.

Budzik joins such other outdoors and shooting luminaries on the panel as Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Insitute for Legislative Action; Dale Hall, Executive Director for Ducks Unlimited; Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation; Julie Golob, internationally acclaimed champion competitive shooter; Eva Shockey, co-host of “Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventure” outdoors TV show; and Larry Keane, Senior VP of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Among the group’s 11 alternates are Rob Keck, director of conservation for Bass Pro Shops; Becky Humphries, CEO of the National Wildlife Federation; and John Banks, director of the Penobscot Indian Nation’s Department of Natural Resources.

In being appointed to the purely advisory panel, Budzik said he first applied for the position, which required letters of endorsements from both Ohio junior Senator Rob Portman as well as Bob Latta, U.S. Representative from Ohio’s Fifth Congressional District.

Budzik said he decided to submit an application for the non-paying, volunteer position with the intent and hope of “providing some insights and observations concerning the challenges and opportunities facing hunters and shooting sports participants.”

The former Wildlife Division chief served with the agency for 30 years and as its head from 1995 to 2003.

I have over four decades of service in this area and nearly eight years of national perspective when serving as Ohio’s Wildlife Division chief,” Budzik told “Ohio Outdoor News.”

During that time I also served as an Executive Board member, Chairman of the Wildlife Resource Policy Committee, member of the Furbearers Resource Committee with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.,” Budzik said. “I’ll work diligently to serve in an honorable, constructive and collaborative manner.”

Recommendations from the group to the secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture shall include - but not be limited to - policies and programs that conserve and restore wetlands, agricultural lands, grasslands, forests and range-land habitats; Promote opportunities and expand access to hunting and shooting sports on public and private lands; Encourages hunting and shooting safety by developing ranges on public lands; Recruit and retain new shooters and hunters; Increase public awareness of the importance of wildlife conservation and the social and economic benefits of hunting and shooting; Encourage coordination among the public, hunting and shooting sports community, wildlife conservation groups, state, tribal, territorial, and federal government.

Interior secretary Zinke said the selected panel members are true to the conservation values and ethics of President Theodore Roosevelt and that their picks will help ensure the preservation of hunting, shooting and conservation enshrined in the thoughts and deeds of the former president.

The Council will also encourage partnership among the public, the sporting conservation organizations, state, tribal, territorial, and federal government; and benefit recreational hunting and recreational shooting sports,” Zinke said.

I will be forever grateful to Senator Rob Portman and Congressmen Bob Latta for their encouragement and letters of support,” Budzik said.

Portman’s press office did not respond to requests seeking the senator’s thoughts on his recommendation of Budzik.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

Monday, July 2, 2018

Staying sober, staying safe, being sensible being stressed for July 4th boating holiday

You wouldn’t think this would be necessary but the Coast Guard reminds mariners not to use emergency flares as celebration tools for the July 4th holiday period,, which begins Tuesday.

No question, the Coast Guard correctly notes, the Independence Day holiday period is typically busy. In fact, off the three summer holidays, the July 4th one is the busiest waterways boating one in Ohio.

Previous years have shown an influx of Coast Guard responses, the Homeland Security agency says.

Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in more than three-fourths of recreational boating fatalities in 2016, and that 83 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

Likewise, beachgoers are reminded to look for signs marking hazardous areas and watch out for fluctuating water currents, strong undertows and riptides.

The Coast Guard goes so far as to suggest that personal locator beacons be employed by kayakers and boarders.

It is also recommended to utilize the buddy system when out and about. Solo-adventurers are advised to leave float plans with friends and family including estimated times of departures and arrivals.

Boaters and operators are encouraged to wear lifejackets and are reminded to provide personal flotation devices for all persons aboard and be sure to check all required safety equipment.

Anyone operating a watercraft should not consume any alcohol or other intoxicating substance. This point is being driven home this holiday period as local, state and federal waterways law enforcement agencies step up surveillance during their joint “Operation Dry Water” campaign, designed to look out for watercraft users operating a vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.



You wouldn’t think this would be necessary but the Coast Guard reminds mariners not to use emergency flares as celebration tools for the July 4th holiday period,, which begins Tuesday.
No question, the Coast Guard correctly notes, the Independence Day holiday period is typically busy. In fact, off the three summer holidays, the July 4th one is the busiest waterways boating one in Ohio.
Previous years have shown an influx of Coast Guard responses, the Homeland Security agency says.
Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in more than three-fourths of recreational boating fatalities in 2016, and that 83 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

Likewise, beachgoers are reminded to look for signs marking hazardous areas and watch out for fluctuating water currents, strong undertows and riptides.

The Coast Guard goes so far as to suggest that personal locator beacons be employed by kayakers and boarders.

It is also recommended to utilize the buddy system when out and about. Solo-adventurers are advised to leave float plans with friends and family including estimated times of departures and arrivals.

Boaters and operators are encouraged to wear lifejackets and are reminded to provide personal flotation devices for all persons aboard and be sure to check all required safety equipment.

Anyone operating a watercraft should not consume any alcohol or other intoxicating substance. This point is being driven home this holiday period as local, state and federal waterways law enforcement agencies step up surveillance during their joint “Operation Dry Water” campaign, designed to look out for watercraft users operating a vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net


Sunday, June 24, 2018

They don't come much bigger; new Ohio state record bow-fishing buffalo sucker taken

A decades-long quest to shoot an Ohio bowfishing-record-breaking buffalo sucker ended in a big way May 21st for Westerville’s Josh Bowmar.

Bowmar has taken the new Ohio state record buffalo sucker- bowfishing category - by arrowing a 43-pound female buffalo sucker from Hoover Reservoir north of Columbus, a fish that also measured 43.5 inches with a girth of 28.875 inches.

Coincidentally, Hoover Reservoir likewise holds the title for the Ohio hook-and-line state record buffalo sucker: A 46.01 pound specimen taken Juky 2nd, 1999 by Tim Veit of Galena.

His fish beat the previous state record buffalo sucker of 40.80 pounds, taken from Lake Erie on October 11th, 2013 by Brent McGlone.

Bowmar’s new state record – as was McGlone’s fish and all other Ohio state record hook-and-line as well as bowfishing category entries – are determined by weight only.

Also, they are certified by the Outdoor Writers of Ohio with fish species identification assistance provided by the Ohio Division of Wildlife fisheries biologists. The Ohio outdoors writers group began the state record fish program several generations ago, and is the only such journalism organization that maintains an official list of state record fish.

In achieving his long-sought goal, the 28-year-old Bowmar said he’s been targeting Hoover for a decade, the 2,218-acre impoundment being only 10 to 15 minutes from his home.

The thing is, the buffalo sucker spawn is so short on Hoover – just one or two days – you have to be there at the right time or you’ll miss it,” Bowmar said. ““My wife and I went to Hoover for a full week to see if we could meet the spawn.”

Bowmar said that he and his 29-year-old wife, Sarah, visited Hoover the day before he shot the sucker, saw fish spawning and decided to return to the same spot on May 21st. The couple also returned May 22nd to try and see if there might be an even larger buffalo sucker “but by then the spawn was all ready over,” Bowmar said.

Being there at exactly the right time is hard, and there is an element of luck,” Bowmar said.

The Bowmars are dedicated archerers who spend up to six months traveling and videoing their exploits, including the taking of the new Ohio state record bowfishing record for buffalo sucker. This 4-minute/13-second long video can be seen on YouTube by accessing “Bowmar Bowhunting” and scrolling through the various entries.

Bowmar said as well that following his taking of what would become the new Ohio bowfishing state record buffalo sucker, Sarah arrowed the 25-pound male consort to the female he had just shot.

I just happened to have shot the female and Sarah shot the male, but if there was a woman’s state record division I am certain Sarah would now hold it,” Bowmar said.

Both fish were taken in water considered somewhat deep for such bowfishing activity; about four or five feet and located off a point in Hoover Reservoir and not in some weedy or muddy bay, Bowmar said.

Shooting the fish demanded attention to details even before hitting the water. Bowmar has set up a Hoyt 60-pound draw weight recurve bow for instinctive shooting, and also employs an Easton FMJ bowfishing arrow comprised of a carbon core sheathed in an aluminum tube.

The arrow is designed to penetrate deeper into the water than most other bowfishing arrows,” he said.

That point was a key factor in the Bowmars’ duel success as the buffalo sucker spawning pair was about three feet below the water’s surface.

I drew back and gave it everything I had,” Bowmar said.

To further underscore the seriousness with which the Bowmars attach to bowfishing, the couple was first line to buy a specially designed and built bowfishing Tracker Marine Grizzly boat with “all of the bells and whistles,” Bowmar said.

Bowmar intends to have the new state record mounted, a fitting trophy, he says.

I absolutely knew it was a monster fish and that Hoover had a potential new state record,” Bowmar said. “And as you can see from the video, it lost a lot of eggs on the deck of the boat. I’m guessing that had I plugged it and the fish had not lost all of those eggs, it would have gone 46 pounds.”

- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

Friday, June 22, 2018

Here, kitty. Lake Metroparks raising for eventual release an orphaned Harrison County bobcat

A woman out-foxed a red fox and in the process saved a bobcat kitten from becoming a certain hors devoures for the wily canine.

In doing so the bobcat is now in the rehabilitative hands of Lake Metroparks at its Kevin P. Clinton Wildlife Center in Kirtland.

Good Samaritan Nicole Perez was visiting Tappan Lake in Harrison County when she saw what was assumed to be a run-of-the-mill house cat kitten being carried away by a fox.

Perez ran toward the fox, which then dropped the kitten. She then took the kitten to a local veterinarian, and was informed it wasn’t a domestic kitten at all, but a bobcat kitten less than one week old and in frail condition.

Advised by the Ohio Division of Wildlife as to the best course of action to take, Perez drove north to Lake County where Lake Metroparks’ Wildlife Center staff took over. The Center has experience in dealing with rehabilitating bobcats, this being the forth member of the species that the Center has worked with, said the unit’s manager, Tammy O’Neil.

When the bobcat kitten arrived we weren’t sure if it even would make it, being the smallest of the four that we’ve received,” O’Neil said. “It was touch and go for a while.”

O’Neil said that on arrival the bobcat kitten weighed only 270 grams – or 9.52 ounces and its weight had climbed to 1.9 kilograms, or 4.2 pounds. At the time of this story’s appearance the bobcat should be about 11 weeks old.

The bobcat is in what call an ‘intermediate’ enclosure about five feet by 10 feet, but as the kitten matter we will move it into a larger enclosure about 20 feet by 20 feet by 10 feet tall, and it will a lot of natural features so the bobcat can become familiar with that type of surroundings it will find when its released back into the wild,” O’Neil said. “That’s when it will be provided with live prey in order for the bobcat to develop its hunting instincts.”

Interestingly too, at the time this story was written the sex of the kitten was uncertain. It takes a while before the sexual attributes of such animals becomes better defined, O’Neil said.

Even the vet wasn’t sure, and one of the bobcats we rehabilitated before we thought at first was a male was actually a female,” O’Neil said.

O’Neil said she and her staff intends to release this bobcat next spring and near where it was found.

Bobcats were removed from Ohio’s endangered species list in 2014, following the species’ naturally inspired expansion through a large portion of the state. From 1970 through 2017, there have been 2,025 verified sightings of bobcats in Ohio, including 499 last year and of which 18 were in Harrison County, notes Wildlife Division documentation.

This is another example of how successful the bobcats’ reemergence has become in Ohio that taking a kitten like this to a wildlife rehabilitator is almost now routine,” said Jeff Westerfield, wildlife management supervisor for the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s District Three (Northeast Ohio) office in Akron.

Harrison County is located in District Three.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net