Broken system produces 11-day season for recreational anglers
BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA (4-11-2014) – The impact of a recent federal district court ruling in favor of commercial red snapper fishermen and seafood packers was driven home this week as the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council set the 2014 recreational red snapper season at just 11 days, the shortest season in the fishery’s history under management. The judge’s ruling was an indictment of federal data collection and management systems, but it will be recreational anglers who ultimately pay the price.
“This is what happens when common sense leaves the building and you blindly insist on managing recreational angling with the same system you designed exclusively to manage a few industrial fishing operations,” said Mark Ray, a vice chairman for Coastal Conservation Association which intervened in the lawsuit on behalf of recreational anglers’ interests. “Now the whole complex system is being mercilessly manipulated by the commercial industry and environmental groups to restrict access to these resources to fewer and fewer people. This is rock bottom – the fishery itself is in wonderful shape and anglers have an 11-day season in federal waters.”
HOUSTON, TX (3-27-2014) – In a case brought by commercial fishermen, seafood processors and trade groups closely associated with the Environmental Defense Fund, a federal district judge acknowledged this week that federal management of recreational anglers is deeply flawed and in need of overhaul. The lawsuit essentially challenged the National Marine Fisheries Service’s policy of setting hard quotas for the recreational sector without timely or reliable means to manage to such a standard.
“The judge ruled the only way she could given the realities of the federal fishery management system,” said Bill Bird, vice chairman of the National Government Relations Committee for the Coastal Conservation Association, which intervened on behalf of the interests of recreational anglers. “Under federal management, the rules of this fishery are designed exclusively to manage a few, elite commercial businesses seeking to profit from the sale of a public resource. While the plaintiffs simply intended this case to result in severe curtailment of the recreational sector, this decision also makes it abundantly clear that recreational anglers are at a dead end under federal management unless a solution can be found to suit their needs.”
Coastal Conservation Association of Florida (CCA) will host its inaugural Day on the Hill at the Capitol building courtyard during Florida’s Legislative Session on March 20, 2014. CCA Florida is a statewide, non‐profit marine organization working to protect the state's marine resources and the interests of saltwater anglers. Comprised of 31 local chapters from Pensacola to the Keys, we support strong, resource‐based law enforcement, access to the resource for recreational fishing, and strong, fairly‐balanced regulations to protect state and federal fish stocks. CCA Florida is part of the Coastal Conservation Association a National organization with 100,000 members.
[readon url="https://www.ccaflorida.org/docs/Snapper_Briefing02282014_WEB.pdf" target="_blank"]Download Briefing PDF[/readon]
The Coastal Conservation Association-FL (“CCA”) is pleased to submit its comments to the Supplement Draft General Management Plan and specifically to the Preferred Alternative, the Alternative 6. CCA has been involved in this process for over ten (10) years and its local members have actively participated in the process. Many of CCA’s members have been lifelong users of the park and were active in this process. It is from that background that these comments are made.
CCA was formed to advise and educate the public on the conservation of marine resources and its objective is to conserve, promote, and enhance the present and future availability of those coastal resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the general public. CCA is the largest organization of its kind in the United States and has over 100,000 members with almost 10,000 located in the State of Florida. Many of CCA’s members, both local and from other states enjoy fishing in Florida and especially in the waters of Biscayne National Park.
Recreational fishing in Florida is a multi-billion dollar industry and its value to the State exceeds that of citrus. Recreational fishing not only is a significant economic engine, but it provides good wholesome activities for families and people of all backgrounds. Its social impact can’t be underestimated. The Park is situated in the sportfishing and arguably the boating capital of America.
Biscayne National Parks (BNP) new preferred alternative for its Draft General Management Plan (GMP) provides some relief for recreational anglers from the previous alternatives. In the past, CCA Florida has seen alternatives introduced by BNP that would close vast areas to fishing and boating enthusiasts. CCA Florida is relieved to see that the preferred alternative has removed the previous large, no fishing zones and reduced the size of the no motor zones. CCA Florida objected to these closures and believes that such closures should be seen as the last resort and not a starting point.
Alternative 6 establishes a Special Recreational Zone (SRZ) in place of the no fishing zone. Angler access to the SRZ will be by permit only and the plan will allow for 500 annual permits to be issued. Out of the 500 permits, 430 will be put into a lottery system for recreational anglers and 70 will be for licensed guides.
CCA FLORIDA STRONGLY OPPOSES THE USE OF
MERRITT ISLAND NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE AND MOSQUITO LAGOON AREA FOR PRIVATE, COMMERCIAL SPACE LAUNCH SITE!
MAJOR ADVERSE IMPACTS ARE EXPECTED ON EVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES, CRITICAL HABITAT, AND PUBLIC ANGLER ACCESS.
OPPOSE THE USE OF PUBLICLY OWNED WILDLIFE REFUGE LANDS FOR COMMERCIAL LAUNCH SITES.
ACT NOW! SEND YOUR EMAIL COMMENTS AND ATTEND UPCOMING PUBLIC HEARINGS ON FEB. 11 AND 12!
REASONS TO OPPOSE THE PROPOSAL
The area encompassing Mosquito Lagoon, the northern reaches of the Indian River Lagoon, the Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge are essentially the most pristine lands and waters left along Florida’s east coast. The area is also essential habitat for many birds and aquatic animals, some of which are endangered or federally protected. A large number of anglers, hunters, bird watchers, manatee watchers, paddlers and other wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts consider the area a prime destination for their avocations. The economic benefit from those enthusiasts to the State of Florida and those who live in the vicinity is immense, which is to say nothing of the tremendous recreational benefits conferred upon those enthusiasts by experiencing the area in what is largely its natural condition.
It’s called the “Friday news dump.”
The White House, other federal agencies and even public corporations have often set the release of bad news and unflattering documents to late Friday afternoon in the hopes that whatever is being released will be ignored or missed or forgotten over the course of the weekend.
Got a scandal? Dump it on Friday.
Got a controversy? Dump it on Friday.
Got a federal policy disaster? Dump it on Friday.