Federal management of red snapper is a mess - it has failed recreational anglers and the charter/for-hire industry alike.
Rather than fix the flawed management system, an effort to privatize up to 75 percent of the fishery is being promoted by commercial fishermen and a select few charter/for-hire operators. They are seeking to take advantage of this chaos and ensure that most of this fishery is privately held by a few individuals, for their private use. The rest of us face the prospect of a one-day snapper season in federal waters in 2015.
Please see the below letter from CCA Alabama Chairman Russell Cunningham:
HELP PREVENT A ONE DAY RED SNAPPER SEASON
VOICE YOUR OPPOSITION TO AMENDMENT 40
Many of you have heard about Amendment 40 the federal government's most recent proposal to split the recreational red snapper fishery into to two parts, one for charter/ for-hire boats and the other for private recreational anglers. Many of you attended the Gulf Fisheries Management Council's (the "Gulf Council") August 2014 hearings on Amendment 40 in Orange Beach and Mobile and spoke out passionately against the adoption of Amendment 40 and-as I would expect-many of those recreational anglers were CCA Alabama members. We thank you.
The National Park Service (NPS) is accepting comments on its proposals for the supplemental General Management Plan (GMP) for Biscayne National Park. Your comments are due by October 10, 2014. The NPS is presently considering three options on how it will govern the park for years to come.
One of the remaining proposals is Alternative 4 which will ban recreational fishing in the park across a 10,000 acre marine reserve, significantly limiting recreational boating, fishing and tourism related businesses and activities in South Florida. CCA Florida opposes Alternative 4.
The National Park Service (NPS) is still finalizing its supplemental General Management Plan (GMP) for Biscayne National Park. It has taken us several years to get to this point and the process is now dependent on the input of local residents, businesses and stakeholders.
NPS is presently considering multiple options on how to govern the park for years to come—one of which (Alternative 4) would ban recreational fishing in the park across a 10,000 acre marine reserve, significantly limiting recreational boating, fishing and tourism related businesses and activities in South Florida. CCA Florida opposes Alternative 4.
August 20, 2014
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
2203 N Lois Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33607 USA
Dear Chairman Boyd,
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on Reef Fish Amendment 40 – Sector Separation. Coastal Conservation Association has been involved in federal fisheries management since the 1980s and has rarely witnessed such a relentless manipulation of the federal fisheries management process to secure extraordinary rights for a select portion of the fishery.
South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council Public Comment ends at 5pm on August 18
Regarding the transferability of Dolphin and Wahoo filets into the US EEZ from the Bahamas
Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 7 and Snapper Grouper Amendment 33
CCA believes that the SAFMC should make the federal dolphin and wahoo regulations consistent with the existing federal reef fish regulations with regard to the possession, transportation and landing of Dolphin and Wahoo legally caught under Bahamian regulations and brought into the US EEZ. Under existing regulations, Snapper and Grouper are able to be brought back into the United States filleted, but Dolphin and Wahoo are required to be landed with the head and fins intact. CCA urges the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to modify current regulations to allow dolphin and wahoo that have been legally caught in the Bahamas to be transported from and landed in the United States filleted and with two (2) filets being counted as one fish. CCA also urges the Council to define “stowed fishing gear” as “unrigged fishing gear,” as this would be a common-sense solution for the numerous center consoles that transit back from the Bahamas.
People often ask why recreational anglers have such an adversarial relationship with the federal fisheries management system, and the answer is as simple as it is obvious. The National Marine Fisheries Service was created to assist and promote the domestic commercial fishing industry. Period. Only relatively recently did NMFS even begin to acknowledge a recreational component.
It is in the agency’s DNA to be a partner and collaborator with commercial fishing interests. Who is in the White House – Republican, Democrat or Other – doesn’t matter because the bureaucratic heritage at the agency never changes. You may get a new head of the Department of Commerce or a new administrator for NMFS, but the core pro-commercial mindset buried deep in the agency itself is virtually untouchable. Regional council members come and go, but federal and council staffers are the omnipresent architects of federal fisheries policy, crafting (or not crafting, as the case may be) the analysis and options that guide the councils on complicated matters.