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U.S. District Court hears CCA arguments against Amendment 40

NEW ORLEANS (10-28-15) – Coastal Conservation Association made its case today against Amendment 40 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico during oral arguments in U.S. District Court in New Orleans. CCA has been a vocal opponent of NOAA Fisheries’ action to create a new charter/for-hire sector in the red snapper fishery and reserve a significant percentage of the recreational quota solely for its use.

“After oral arguments today, we are hopeful that the Court will set aside the agency’s highly controversial management plan for Gulf of Mexico red snapper,” said Mitch Brownlee, chairman of CCA National. “In forcing this unpopular plan through the management system, NOAA Fisheries ignored overwhelming public opposition to appease certain for-profit stakeholders at the expense of the angling public. This is clearly not the way to manage public marine resources.”

Read more: Sector Separation on Trial

Hearing in House Resources subcommittee on Oceans Shows
States are “Ready, Willing and Able” to Assume Red Snapper Management


WASHINGTON (October 23, 2015) – A coalition of organizations representing the saltwater recreational fishing and boating community applauded the House Resources subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans for its hearing on H.R. 3094, the Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority Act.  The bill, sponsored by Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.) and 28 bi-partisan co-sponsors, will grant legal recognition to the plan adopted by the Fish and Wildlife agencies of all five Gulf states to assume management of the Gulf red snapper in federal waters.

“The five Gulf states demonstrated once again that they are prepared to take over management of the fishery in a more responsible way,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “The states are already using state-of-the-art monitoring methods that will enable them to ensure the sustainability of the snapper fishery and enable every sector of the fishing community to equitably share in the harvest.  Congress should act quickly to pass this important measure that will give legal recognition to the historic cooperative agreement by the Fish and Wildlife agencies of the five Gulf states - Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas -- to assume management of Gulf red snapper.”
Testimony at the hearing drew a stark line between those reaping financial benefits of federal management and angling families who have found their seasons continually shortened despite the largest population of red snapper in modern times.

Read more: Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority Act Moves Forward

Red Snapper Regional Management from Louisiana Fisheries on Vimeo.

Frustrated Gulf anglers left with little to target in federal waters

In a scene that has become distressingly familiar to Florida anglers, the federal government has announced another closure of a popular recreational species - this time red grouper. In announcing the closure, NOAA Fisheries stated that "abundant red grouper are being found closer to shore in shallower water this year, making them more accessible to the recreational sector."

Unfortunately, under federal management a stock that is more abundant than presumed and more available to anglers means that it has to be shut down to stay within quotas based on an obviously suspect assessment and dubious harvest data.

It is red snapper all over again, and is just another example of how far off the rails federal fisheries management has gone.

Read more: Federal agency orders red grouper fishery closed today

CCA believes that the red snapper fishery in the South Atlantic is headed in the right direction. It was only a few years ago that federal managers were threatening to close down all bottom fishing throughout the South Atlantic to prevent even bycatch mortality from impacting red snapper stocks.  Thankfully, we avoided that scenario. Since then, extremely short recreational seasons have been touted as a way to help in data collection to better assess the South Atlantic red snapper stock more thoroughly. However, those short seasons have produced wild “yo-yo” regulations that have caused a great deal of confusion and anger within the recreational angling community.

Read more: South Atlantic Red Snapper Update

Environmental group, charter/for-hire, commercial harvesters join forces to oppose CCA lawsuit

HOUSTON, TX (9-22-15) - Coastal Conservation Association’s stand against Amendment 40 has now drawn formal opposition from all the groups actively promoting privatization of public marine resources in the Gulf of Mexico. The Charter Fishermen’s Association formally intervened on behalf of the federal government’s highly controversial plan for Gulf red snapper in May and in recent weeks both the Environmental Defense Fund and the Shareholder Rights Alliance have filed Amicus Briefs in support of the federal government.

Standing with CCA is the State of Louisiana, which filed an Amicus Brief in support of recreational anglers in May.

Read more: United threat faces recreational angling

Plan makes strides to improve habitat conservation while maintaining reasonable boating and fishing access

Washington, DC – September 1, 2015 – The National Park Service recently released the final General Management Plan (GMP) for Everglades National Park, which includes several changes that will affect recreational boating and fishing access and habitat conservation in the park. The recreational fishing and boating community expressed its collective appreciation to Everglades National Park officials for meaningfully addressing concerns that were raised during the GMP development process.

“Covering much of the southern tip of mainland Florida and nearly all of Florida Bay, Everglades National Park is home to some of the best recreational fishing opportunities that Florida has to offer,” said Trip Aukeman, director of Advocacy for CCA Florida. “Given that this GMP will guide management actions for the next 20 to 30 years, it’s critically important that we get it right. Overall, we believe the GMP strikes an appropriate balance of management measures to safeguard resources while allowing for reasonable boating and fishing access.”

Read more: Final Management Plan Released for Everglades National Park

Mary Janine Vara
NOAA Fisheries
Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

Re: Generic Amendment to the Fishery Management Plans for Snapper-Grouper, Golden Crab, and Dolphin and Wahoo

Dear Ms. Vara,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on theGeneric Accountability Measures and Dolphin Allocation Amendment. Coastal Conservation Association is the largest marine resource conservation group of its kind in the country, with more than 130,000 members in chapters from coast to coast to coast. We are concerned primarily with the dolphin allocation issue in this amendment, and the ongoing willingness of federal managers to manipulate allocation decisions, to the detriment of the angling public.

The Coastal Conservation Association is opposed to arbitrary changes in sector allocations based on little more than a guess. The conclusion of the limited economic discussion in the document was:

Considering that, based on historical landings, neither the commercial sector nor the recreational sector would likely reach their respective ACLs under any of the alternatives, it may be concluded that none of the alternatives would result in significant short-term or long-term negative economic effects on either sector.

Read more: Generic Amendment to the Fishery Management Plans for Snapper-Grouper, Golden Crab, and Dolphin...