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Press Releases

CCA Florida Grassroots Alert!

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CCA FLORIDA

GRASSROOTS ALERT!

Gulf Red Snapper Recreational Fishing Workshops will be held this month

 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wants to hear from you!

 

They are asking how to better manage the recreational fishery. Some of the topics will include Sector Separation, Individual Fishing Quota’s, and Regional Management.

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Public Hearing Locations

All hearings will start at 6pm

 

July 28: Pensacola, Pensacola City Hall (2nd-floor Hagler Mason room), 222 W. Main St.

 

July 29: Destin, Destin Community Center, 101 Stahlman Ave.

 

July 30: Panama City, Florida State University – Panama City, lecture hall of Holley Center, 4750 Collegiate Drive

 

July 31: Carrabelle, Carrabelle City Hall cafeteria, 1001 Gray Ave.

 

Aug. 11: St. Petersburg, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, 3rd-floor conference room, 100 Eighth Ave. SE.

 

CCA believes sector separation is simply a continuation of policies that address the symptoms of failed management without offering solutions that work for all components of the fishery. By creating an entirely new sector using only suspect past catch history, federal managers are just repeating the mistakes of the past and catering to the least economically beneficial aspects of the fishery. Under the current proposal, specific charter/for-hire operators could receive 54% of the recreational Red Snapper quota, while private anglers will likely not have a federal season at all as soon as next year.

 

Individual fishing quota’s (IFQ’s) give a public resource to an individual business to use as its own. IFQs will further privatize the red snapper fishery, 51 percent of which is already held privately by commercial harvesters. IFQs are expressly designed to reduce capacity. Once implemented, it is inevitable that the charter/for-hire industry will begin radical consolidation, further reducing access to this public resource. IFQs are a commercial management tool that has no business in a mixed-use fishery. Should a fundamentally flawed federal management system be allowed to privatize public resources that benefit some user groups and penalize others?

 

Regional Management is an option that would allow the states to tailor the management of marine resources like red snapper beyond state waters. Unlike the federal system, the states have shown a superior ability to manage wildlife resources for the greatest benefit of their citizens and have shown a much greater understanding of recreational fisheries. Regional management would allow each state to determine how best to manage its natural resources using the tools that have worked so well for species such as red drum, speckled trout, and snook.

 

If you are not able to attend one of these workshops please send in your comments to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For more information please contact Trip Aukeman CCA Director of Advocacy at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

  

Coastal Conservation Association Florida

Dedicated to Conserving and Protecting Florida’s Marine Resources

P.O. Box 568886, Orlando, Florida 32856-8886 (407) 854-7002 Fax (407) 854-1766

CCA Comments on Alabama EFP Request

July 16, 2014
Dr. Steve Branstetter
Southeast Regional Office
NMFS
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

Dear Dr. Branstetter,

The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the proposed Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) for the Alabama For-Hire red snapper fishery, which has been extensively debated by the Gulf Council. We feel compelled to note that the Council’s Reef Fish Committee originally voted 5-4 to recommend that NOAA Fisheries deny this permit. The vote of the full Council to overturn the Committee’s recommendation shows the level of disagreement and controversy related to managing this troubled fishery by exempted fishing permit.

The nine-day recreational season for red snapper in 2014 was a convoluted product of a flawed federal law, outdated allocations and inappropriate management tools for the recreational sector. It was, however, ideal for creating the conditions for some charter/for-hire operators to be receptive to the lure of individual fishing quota programs for that industry. We have noted the careful avoidance of promoting this and other similar schemes as catch share programs, but that is certainly what they are, and we question whether the larger for-hire industry has been made fully aware of the inevitable economic outcome. Since catch share programs are expressly designed to reduce capacity, we are opposed to such programs in the recreational sector since they reduce access to red snapper.  In addition, it is very possible that for-hire operators who feel compelled by current circumstances to favor this course of action today could find themselves out of the fishery entirely within just a few years. This aspect of IFQ programs should be emphasized by Council staff at least as energetically as the possible benefits for the select few winners.

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A Brave New World

Imagine a Gulf coast where recreational anglers suddenly saw a catch share initiative created for a few coastal fishing guides. Certain (not all) guides would be able to have a determined portion of a fishery and could sell opportunities to go fish for red drum…even if the fishery had been closed to the general private recreational angler. It is hard to think that recreational anglers who fought so hard to restore redfish stocks from the perils of gillnets, purse seines and the blackened redfish craze would now have a significant portion of the fishery given away to a handful of guides. Sound far-fetched?

The Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery is already in this brave new world of fisheries management. It is a fishery that could be almost completely privatized as soon as the end of this year and be held from that point forward by commercial fishing and private charter businesses using this public resource for profit. It is very likely, as soon as next season, private boat owners will not be allowed to venture into federal waters to catch a red snapper and bring it home.

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