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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.