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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...

Recreational fishing and boating community praises Congressional leaders for addressing flawed marine reserve decision


Washington, D.C. – July 30, 2015 – On the heels of the recent announcement to close over 10,000 acres of Biscayne National Park to fishing, a coalition of recreational fishing and boating organizations praised the introduction of a bipartisan bill, H.R. 3310, that will help stop this and similar unwarranted fishing closures from occurring. Led by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), and 28 other original sponsors, the “Preserving Public Access to Public Waters Act” requires the National Park Service and Office of National Marine Sanctuaries to have approval from state fish and wildlife agencies before closing state waters to recreational or commercial fishing.


“Probably the most concerning aspect of the Biscayne National Park marine reserve decision is the total disregard for the fisheries management expertise of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,” said Mike Leonard, Ocean Resource Policy director for the American Sportfishing Association. “The states are responsible for nearly all of our nation’s saltwater fisheries management successes. This legislative safeguard will prevent the federal government from ignoring the fisheries management expertise of the states in these types of situations.”

Read more: Legislation Introduced to Preserve Fishing Access in Biscayne National Park

Building Conservation Trust joins effort to create new angling, diving destination

 

Marine fisheries and recreational angling off the coast of Jupiter, Florida, are set to get a boost this summer with the placement of 40 artificial reef cells in 88 feet of water. The CCA Building Conservation Trust has contributed $25,000 to the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation for the project, which will utilize innovative reefing materials to create a thriving new ecosystem.

Read more: Innovative offshore reefing project set to go in off Jupiter

Catch shares for charter/for-hire industry on the way

 

In the run-up to the passage of Amendment 40 by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and NOAA last year, it was repeatedly emphasized by proponents that the effort to separate charter/for-hire operators into their own sector with their own allocation was not a scheme to hand over shares of public red snapper to private ownership.


For anyone who actually believed that, rest assured, it was all blatantly untrue.

Read more: The Truth Comes Out

Sen. Shelby seeks much-needed relief for recreational anglers



WASHINGTON, DC - In an unprecedented display of engagement, Congress is making its displeasure known over the current course of federal management of Gulf red snapper by directly addressing it in a number of recent pieces of legislation in both the U.S. House and Senate. Last week, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS), announced full committee passage of the Fiscal Year 2016 CJS appropriations bill which contains provisions dealing specifically with red snapper, including allocation, state boundaries and stock assessments.

Read more: Federal mismanagement of red snapper draws attention of Congress

In April, Coastal Conservation Association asked its membership to comment against a plan to allow harvest of breeding-size red drum in federal waters for the first time in decades. Today we learned that NOAA Fisheries has rejected that plan, citing overwhelming opposition to it during the comment period. By engaging in this process, you made a difference.
 
Thank you for making your voice heard, and for being a part of this successful effort to protect one of the great conservation success stories in our country's history.
Recreational Boating and Fishing Community Strongly Objects to Fishing Closure

WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 5, 2015 – Today, the National Park Service announced its final General Management Plan (GMP) for Biscayne National Park. Despite commitments made by Biscayne National Park officials to work with stakeholders and the state of Florida to explore less restrictive options, the GMP includes a marine reserve, eliminating fishing and severely restricting boating in over 10,000 acres of the park’s most popular and productive marine waters.

“America’s recreational fishing community is disheartened by the National Park Service’s decision to implement a marine reserve at Biscayne National Park,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “We understand the importance of protecting our natural resources and the delicate balance needed to ensure that anglers and boaters are able to enjoy these public waters. However, the National Park Service has shown little interest in compromise and today’s announcement confirms a lack of desire to include the needs of park users and stakeholders in important decisions such as this.”

Read more: Public Locked Out of Biscayne National Park

“A real victory for recreational fishing -- and the jobs recreational fishing creates”

Washington, D.C. (June 4) – The Center for Coastal Conservation praised the work of U.S. Representatives Austin Scott (R-Ga.) and Garret Graves (R-La.) in securing passage of a provision in H.R. 2578, the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice Science Appropriations Act, that Center President Jeff Angers called “a real victory for recreational fishing -- and the jobs recreational fishing creates.”

The amendment secured yesterday by Reps. Scott and Graves prohibits funds from being used to enact Gulf of Mexico red snapper management measures that result in a commercial fishing season that lasts no longer than five times the number of days allowed for a recreational fishing season. Despite rebounding red snapper populations in the Gulf, recreational anglers have been confined to shorter seasons than ever before: recreational anglers have been restricted to just nine or 10 days of red snapper fishing over the last two years, while commercial fishing is permitted year round.

Read more: Center for Coastal Conservation Praises on Scott, Graves