|Chambers and Associates|
|Chambers and Associates is a scientific consulting firm that specializes in protecting and conserving fish and their habitats in court cases, developing national policy (regulations and legislation), and influencing public opinion to support improved conservation of natural resources.
The firm involves many of the most qualified scientists in the nation in providing its consulting services to a range of private sector clients who are interested in major conservation issues. Its expertise includes freshwater and marine resource conservation through (1) the use of federal environmental laws and regulations; (2) ecological understanding of the effects on aquatic ecosystems of all types of "development" - habitat degradation and loss, toxic contaminants, flow diversions and nutrient over-enrichment; and (3) policy governing the conservation and management of the world's largest and most important marine fish - swordfish, marlins, sailfish and tuna.
Environmental Impact Assessments and Habitat Protection
Chambers and Associates' principal, James R. Chambers, has over two decades of experience in conducting scientific assessments and policy evaluations of nationally significant water resource development projects and fishery issues. For seven years he led the National Marine Fisheries Service's (NMFS) national scientific programs established to protect habitat that is important to the nation's marine fishery resources - particularly rivers, wetlands, estuaries and coastal waters. In the agency's headquarters, he led the Habitat Protection Division for 5 years; later, he led the Habitat Research Division for 2 years; and for 4 years he managed the agency's nationwide monitoring program for toxic contaminants and disease in marine fish.
Over a period of 9 years, he led many agency efforts to scientifically evaluate nationally important water resource development proposals that would have destroyed large areas of prime wetlands; blocked or de-watered rivers; or caused massive pollution of estuaries, rivers or coastal waters. Such projects included oil refineries, highway projects, oil and gas lease sales on the outer continental shelf, dams and reservoirs and thousands of wetland dredge and fills. For a period of seven years, every nationally significant project, which his teams elevated for reconsideration at the Secretarial level, were decided in his favor - a record of success unmatched before or since by others having this responsibility.
Throughout his career with NMFS, he has: negotiated settlements on policy matters with members of Congress and agency heads; acted as national spokesman for the agency on all environmental protection issues; and written a number of scientific articles and delivered about 50 presentations at national scientific conferences to highlight the importance of inshore and freshwater habitats to the nation's fishery resources.
For the past two years, Chambers and Associates has been assisting Earthjustice (formerly Sierra Club) Legal Defense Fund to set aside permits issued by the Corps of Engineers for three major casinos/hotels/entertainment complexes, which were to be constructed in largely undisturbed estuarine wetlands of coastal Mississippi. As expert wittness, Chambers and Associates developed two extensive written Declarations that describe the full range of adverse ecological effects of all three proposed casino development projects. These declarations were used by Earthjustice to develop its Petition as well as its Oral Arguments before the Court. The Federal Court agreed and set aside all three permits. Visit Earthjustice's website (www.earthjustice.org/news/pr081000.htm) for details. Contact Nathalie Walker, director of its New Orleans office (504-522-1394 or [email protected]), regarding Earthjustice's satisfaction with the work performed by Chambers and Associates.
Chambers and Associates has also assisted the Clean Air Campaign, Friends of the Earth,Clean Ocean Action and Taxpayers for Common Sense in efforts to prevent use of 5 1/2 miles of the lower Hudson River adjacent to lower Manhatten as commercial development (known as the Hudson River Project) under the guise of a "park." Chambers and Associates is assessing the full range of adverse ecological effects of this massive development on fishery resources of the Hudson River. The project area itself is essential habitat for 15 federally managed species as well as critical to the survival of the first three year classes of striped bass (25 percent of the entire East Coast population is produced by the Hudson River).
Swordfish, Marlin, Sailfish and Tuna
During the final 2 years of his 30-year federal career, Jim Chambers was a senior fisheries biologist in NMFS' Highly Migratory Species Management Division. He was responsible for developing fishery management plans and regulations governing all U.S. fishing for Atlantic swordfish, Atlantic blue marlin, Atlantic white marlin, and western Atlantic sailfish. There, he also wrote NMFS' Report to Congress on western Atlantic bluefin tuna.
Chambers and Associates has developed articles and reports on trends in the abundance, distribution, and life histories of the large pelagic species of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (see the Severity of Atlantic Population Declines and related links to each species below). The firm provides interpretations of scientific assessments and management proposals, and it develops policy positions on agency fishery management plans, regulations, and the need for new legislation to rebuild and conserve billfish, tunas and swordfish.
The firm developed a Report to the U.S. Congress and the Clinton-Gore Administration from the Recreational Fishing Alliance entitled Rebuilding North Atlantic Swordfish. It documents population declines of not only swordfish but also the other Atlantic billfish, large tunas and sharks. It identifies the causes of population declines (primarily drift ot pelagic longlines and gillnets) and presents policy solutions - reduce the total mortality to that needed to rebuild populations within 10 years, prohibit the use of non-selective fishing gear in their primary spawning and nursery areas, and return to the use of only highly selective commercial gear (harpoon, rod and reel, and handline) as the stock recovers. Copies are available free by calling RFA at (888) 564-6732 or by e-mail at [email protected].
Chambers and Associates' principal and the Biodiversity Legal Foundation filed a formal petition with the National Marine Fisheries Service on August 28, 2001, requesting that Atlantic white marlin be listed as a threatened or endangered species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. For details, see link below.
Articles about Big Game Fish
The firm's Principal also writes articles for the nation's major sport fishing magazines (Marlin, Sport Fishing, SaltWater Sportsman and the Big Game Fishing Journal) on both the excitement of fishing for large pelagics (particularly bluefin tuna and marlin) and on the scientific basis for why these magnificent species should be protected from further overfishing by industrial-scale commercial fleets. All the articles can be found using the links at the botttom of this page.
Fishing over the last 5 years with some of the best giant bluefin tuna fishermen who have ever pursued this the most powerful of big game fish, Chambers has helped fight 6 giants that weighed between 600 and 900 lbs. He also recently fought and released his first black marlin (400 pounds) and blue marlin (450 pounds). The black marlin catch is featured in a story about Coiba Island (with Capt. Tom Yust of Coiba Adventures) and the famed Hannibal Bank off Panama's Pacific coast that was written by Editor-in-Chief, Doug Olander, and appeared in the November 2000 issue of Sport Fishing Magazine.
In an article in the Big Game Fishing Journal (spring '99 issue - a special on bluefin tuna), Chambers wrote about the experience of catching his first giant (600 pounds) and about the severity of this stock's population decline due to continued overfishing. He used it to highlight the need to act now to conserve the bluefin before it declines further and is lost forever. His article is entitled Those Magnificent Giants.
The July/August 2000 issue of Sport Fishing Magazine contains a feature article by Chambers entitled Hunting Giants. It describes how the pros fish for and catch the very largest bluefin tuna - the world's most powerful big game fish. Chambers is pictured (below) on its cover with the crew of the Tuna Hunter loading a 900-pound giant they caught in 1998.
Sport Fishing Magazine's website contains a feature article authored by Chambers entitled Headed for Extinction. It can be found in the Conservation section. It's based on material described in more detail in the section of this website titled Severity of Atlantic Population Declines. The article has also been reprinted as the Epilogue in a great new book entitled Close to the Surface written by Greet Wouters. The book is a pictoral history of 50 years of big game fishing in the Azores. The author and her husband, Captain Joseph Franck, own Shanghai Fishing Charters.
Chambers' article entitled Going, Going, Gone was published in the December 2000 issue of the Big Game Fishing Journal. It describes population trends over the last 40 years of all the Atlantic Ocean's large pelagic species - swordfish, blue marlin, white marlin, bluefin tuna, sailfish and the large sharks. Moreover, it shows that white marlin, bluefin tuna and blue marlin are nearing or already close to extinction. At their current rate of decline, white marlin have less than 5 years left and blue marlin, less than 10 years left before they too slide beyong the point of no return.
The July/August 2001 issue of the Big Game Fishing Journal - a special annual issue devoted to marlin - contains an article by Chambers and Capt. Joseph Franck entitled Grander Hunting. It describes why the Azores are the prime destination for the best chance of catching the largest Atlantic blue marlin and grander-sized bluefin tuna.
Articles about Coastal Habitat Loss
Chambers is featured in the May 2001 issue of Sports Afield Magazine. The article, entitled A Coastal Fisheries Catastrophe is based on a recent interview of Chambers conducted by its author, Gregg Patterson. The full article is reproduced HERE.
Essential Fish Habitat
Habitat Protection Division
Dams and Flow Diversions
Inshore-Dependency of Fishery Reources
Economic Benefits of Habitat Protection
Swordfish, Billfish, Tunas and Sharks
The Facts - Headed for Extinction
Endangered Species Act
White Marlin Listing Petition
Articles about Big Game Fish and Fishing
Hunting Grander Blue Marlin and Bluefin Tuna
Those Magnificent Giants
Going, Going, Gone
Headed for Extinction
Photos of Big Game Fish (many world records)
Blue Marlin - 6 pages
Bluefin Tuna - 4 pages
Black Marlin - 2 pages
Chambers and Associates
List of All Pages on this Website
|Chambers (l.) and the crew of the Tuna Hunter.|
|Chambers and Associates
9814 Kensington Parkway
Kensington, Maryland 20895-3425
(T) (301) 949-3003 (Fax) (301) 949-3003
Email: [email protected]