Tuesday, October 7, 2008


...is in need of a little support.

As y'all might have remembered from our August 7th post, "Treasure Help", we told y'all about our friendship with the Fisher family and the battle they have been waging with the State of Florida. If it's one thing we knew about about Mel Fisher, it was that he would never give up on what he believed. We're so happy to count Miss Taffi and her family as one of our good friends and proud to help them out in any way we can. Please take a minute to read the letter below:

Here is my SOS letter. Send it to everybody and anybody...


1322 US One ● Sebastian, FL 32958
772-589-0435 ● Fax 772-589-0997

September 30, 2008

To: All who support private sector salvage.

RE: Chapter 1A-31 rule change.SOS: “Save our Shipwrecks”

The Florida DHR/BAR has published their new version of the rule on salvage permitting and they have, as usual, seem to have ignored all input from private sector salvage groups. Their rule was published Friday, Sept 26 in the Florida Administrative weekly. Links below.



If you, as I do, have any problems or suggestions, etc. on this new rule, your last chance to make any comments or protests is Oct 21, 2008 unless you plan to quit the commercial salvage business or intend to challenge the BAR in a lawsuits or administrative hearings. Below are just a few of my problems with this ridiculous Rule Change. Feel free to copy any part of this letter and use it in your comment. DO IT NOW!!!!! If you come to the hearing to comment in person, it would be even better. Make sure you bring a written version of your comment to leave with them for the record.


We need every treasure hunter, salvor, captain, crewman, staff, investor, friends, relatives, or anyone else you can think of who has an interest in, or enjoys seeing, the private sector recovery of treasures and artifacts continue in Florida to send a comment to the State against the proposed changes to
Rule 1A-31.

Here’s how:
1. Go to Google
2. Type in: notice 6172515, click search
3. Click on either: http://www.Proposed Rules Open For Public Comment or 1A-31.0012: Purpose-Florida Administrative Rules
4. Click on 6172515 at the top of the field that comes up
5. Go to bottom of page and click on blue “Make Comment” box
6. Follow instructions to register
7. First write in-Rule 1A-31, then your comment such as:

1. I am against any rules or regulations that would hinder Florida’s historical shipwreck salvors from their continued recovery of treasures and artifacts, such as the current proposed rules.

2. I believe the Division of Historical Resources should do more to work with the private sector salvors of Florida and rule 1A-31 does not seek to do this.

3. I believe Florida’s private sector salvors have done an excellent job of recovering and preserving our maritime heritage, to the direct benefit of the public and at little cost to the tax payers and should be allowed to continue with as little interference as possible. Rule 1A-31 does not do this.

4. I do not want my tax dollars used by state archaeologists to dive on shipwrecks. The private sector salvors have done a great job, using their own money, with Florida getting the benefits. No changes to rule 1A-31 that will make it harder for the salvors to continue.

5. The new rule is not fair because it treats commercial salvors as second class citizen due to the fact that it does not give the same standards to commercial salvors as Rule 1A-32 gives to universities and non profits. For example, the turnover/response time to get permits for 1A32 is two weeks while commercial groups have waited months and years. Also 1A-32 uses students as excavators while commercial enterprises must use experts.1A-32 permit holders get a search, recovery, and conserve permit ALL in their first permit while 1A-31 requires commercial salvors to obtain “search and survey” permits with rules that vary from salvor to salvor, and NO recovery/salvage permits that were not already grandfathered in by Federal Admiralty Claims have been issued to commercial groups in Florida for over 15 years.

6. I am opposed to the rule because individuals who have current contracts for exploration have not all been individually notified of the workshops and hearings. It is also unfair that when they are notified, the locations of the such get togethers repetitively takes place at locations remote to the majority of the private and commercial entities it will affect, in the middle of a work week. Therefore, if say, a few dozens commercial groups from the Keys want to attend, they need to drive either 9 hours to St. Augustine area or 12 hours to Tallahassee area (and back) This means they have to miss THREE days work to attend. Two driving and one at the meetings. Future meeting should be held in a central location of the state, ie. Orlando to make it fair to all. In the same vein, the meetings should not be held between June 1 and Sept 30th of any year as that is the 120 window for good weather conditions on the majority of the archaeological sites worked by commercial salvors.

7. I am opposed to the rule because it insists that an archaeologist be on board each salvage vessel during each and every survey and excavation. This is absurd because most surveys electronic and are non intrusive and also because the majority of actual excavations are empty or turn out to be modern intrusions such as lawn chairs, shrimp traps, beer cans, U.S. military bombs in their practice areas, etc. Of course when major conglomerates of shipwreck material are found, it would then be appropriate for the archaeologist to be on board. Much of the time spent by the archaeologist working with a cartographer mapping a cluster of remotely sensed anomalies, identifying patterns from other know sites in whatever area, helping decide which anomalies to excavate first, and writing reports after discerning thru the reams of data provide by the physical exactions. His presence on the site is not necessary most of the time, only when prominent features require it.

8. The new rule should address some sort of Annual Adjudication of Title from the State to the permit holder rather than “Transfer of objects” in exchange for recovery services. This way, the state can receive donations of artifacts, because it is usually impossible to put an actual dollar value on each and every artifact found and this would create much confusion in tax law since the transfer of object has an undeterminable value.

9. This rule creates more work and time usage for DHR to manage their resources. Permits should be issued for a minimum of three years, much like the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary does, this would alleviate cost to the DHR by reducing paperwork.

10. This rule is not fair because commercial salvors are constantly in the research and development stages of using new technology for survey and excavation and conservation. Much of this is proprietary information.This rule eliminates many future possibilities and opportunities

11. .This rule is unfair because it requires permitee to turn over thousands of dollars worth of proprietary survey results without any guarantee that the permitee will be allowed to get to salvage a site once it is found. There is no incentive for permitee to obtain a survey/exploration permit. An alternative would be to use wording similar to that in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary which does not even require a “Survey/Exploration” permit at all and yet it seems to have beneficial.

Or come up with a comment of your own. You can also read the proposed rule changes and make more specific comments on various sections. You have until October 17th. Do it soon and get everyone you know to send a comment!!!! This is very important!!!

Today's the Day!

Taffi Fisher Abt
President, Mel Fisher Center, Inc.
Vice President, Motivation, Inc.
Member, Historic Shipwreck Salvage Policy Council Editor, Institute for Marine Archaeology and Conservation

Thanks for listening and supporting our friend.



fairy delilah said...

Miss Vero,
Nary a word on the absence of wet hens? Tsk, tsk.

Fairy D.

BlessUrHeart said...

No need for comment, is there? The "wet hen" didn't just sit there drippin' -- she went out and did some politickin'! Good for her for stepping on those ole boys' toes. Seems we got a few folks who dont' "toe" the line with the Pruitt/Mayfield crowd.

Blanc Debris said...

Righhhht. Miss Vero, how long did you say you knew these folks?

NY Times- 1992

The Federal Government has sued a treasure hunter and his company, contending that they blew huge holes in coral reefs while exploring in the nation's largest marine sanctuary.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, accuses Mel Fisher and his company, Treasure Salvors Inc., of blowing about 100 craters in a mile-long stretch off Marathon in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The suit asks a judge to stop the salvors from any further destruction in the sanctuary, and seeks unspecified damages.
Federal officials say the craters, about three miles offshore, were created by forcing a ship's propeller wash downward to wash away loose sand that may cover artifacts. They say some of the craters are 30 feet wide and 10 feet deep.
You can read the rest: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE6D61639F937A15757C0A964958260

mcstunts said...

email your representatives.... tell em what you think and btw blanc debris (good name)your post is SIXTEEN years old.... Live, learn, grow, and we had a permit! Of course the Laws were changed mid permit and now the govt cant find those same holes they claimed would take 100 years to repair themselves. Acutally, they couldn't find em the week after....