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House Committee member helps derail state management amendment

WASHINGTON, DC - Legislation to transfer management of Gulf red snapper away from the federal government and allow the Gulf States to manage the fishery entirely was narrowly rejected last week during a hearing of the House Natural Resources Committee. The state management amendment was one of many being considered by the Committee during the mark up of HR 1335, a bill to reauthorize the Magnuson Stevens Act sponsored by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska).

With the support of the Chairman of the Committee and the sponsor of the bill, the state management amendment was offered by Rep. Garrett Graves (R-La.) to implement the recommendations of the five Gulf state directors to bring an innovative solution to the long-standing chaos of federal red snapper management. Unfortunately, in negotiations leading up to the vote and even during the hearing itself, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) vigorously opposed the state management amendment and promoted his own amendment that will tweak some aspects of snapper management but will ultimately maintain it under federal control and lock in status quo for the fishery.

Read more: Lost opportunity for state management of red snapper

The comment period has closed on the State of Mississippi’s application for an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) to allow its for-hire fleet to harvest 30,000 pounds of breeder-sized red drum over the next two years. Thousands of comments in opposition were sent by CCA members and yet it would be no surprise if NOAA Fisheries ends up approving the permit. NOAA has the sole authority to approve or deny permits like this, and NOAA rarely meets an Exempted Fishing Permit it doesn’t like. That is why CCA and other groups are promoting revisions to federal law that require more strict scientific oversight of these applications, which are often cloaked in the guise of “scientific research” but ultimately only serve to promote the welfare of one special interest group or another.
In this case, the State of Mississippi sought the application ostensibly for its for-hire fleet to harvest critically important spawning-sized red drum in federal waters for the first time since 1987 to collect “biological information” on offshore red drum and aid biologists in building a stock assessment. That is a misguided premise given the findings of the Council’s own Special Red Drum Workshop in July 2014. The fact that the fish would be collected by one small segment of the fishery virtually guarantees biased data.  In short, there is no useful scientific information that can come from this permit that isn’t already being collected by scientists.

Read more: Not another flawed federal experiment

Legal challenge follows Commerce approval of controversial

red snapper management scheme

Coastal Conservation Association announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against implementation of Amendment 40 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico. Also known as “sector separation,” the amendment is a highly controversial management plan for red snapper that takes a significant percentage of the recreational quota and reserves it solely for use by the charter/for-hire industry.

“Amendment 40 embodies everything that is wrong with federal management of our marine resources. It is completely out of step with this nation’s heritage of wildlife resource management,” said Bill Bird, chairman of CCA’s National Government Relations Committee. “It has been overwhelmingly opposed at every step in the process, but a very small minority has been allowed to manipulate the system to their personal advantage.”

Read more: CCA files lawsuit to stop sector separation

Dr. Steve Branstetter,
NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701


Dear Dr. Branstetter,

The Coastal Conservation Association is opposed to the exempted fishing permit (EFP) application filed by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources to allow Mississippi-licensed for-hire vessels to harvest and possess Red Drum from federal waters during the course of regular for-hire fishing trips.  The application states that the EFP’s purpose is to collect biological information on offshore Red Drum to aid biologists in assessing the status of the population in a future stock assessment. Information already available to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and to NOAA Fisheries shows this EFP will not achieve the stated scientific goals, and that it should be rejected.

Very clear scientific goals were established at the Special Red Drum Workgroup in July 2014 - none of which are addressed by this proposal.  The workshop was requested by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council to determine what information was available and what was needed to develop a stock assessment on Red Drum. The workshop was attended by members of the Gulf Council’s Science and Statistical Committee, key members of the Council’s Red Drum Committee, and other experts from around the Gulf of Mexico. The workshop determined that “fishery-dependent" data (such as those collected by fishermen and those that would be collected by this EFP) were already more than adequately represented for each state. 

Read more: CCA Comments on Red Drum EFP

Exempted Fishing Permit targeting breeder red drum sets stage for fish grab

The federal government's management of Gulf fisheries has created some of the most chaotic, dysfunctional and unsatisfactory fisheries in the country, and now it seems that the agency is set on bringing that same experience to our red drum fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.

red drumNOAA Fisheries is currently seeking comment on a two-year plan to allow harvest of breeding-size red drum in federal waters for the first time in decades. Through the use of an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP), a tool that has been intentionally misused repeatedly to circumvent regular management procedures and skirt public opinion, Mississippi for-hire vessels would be allowed to target 30,000 pounds of over-sized red drum to collect "scientific data" on the stock.

Representing this EFP as a science tool is grossly misleading and inaccurate.

Read more: Feds Set Sights on Red Drum

Sportfishing and boating community welcomes state-based management approach

Washington, D.C. – March 13, 2015 – In a move long-awaited by the recreational fishing and boating community, the directors of the state fish and wildlife agencies from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas announced an agreement for state-based management of Gulf of Mexico red snapper, which in recent years has experienced increasing privatization of this public resource and decreasing recreational fishing opportunities. The announcement was greeted with strong enthusiasm from the recreational fishing and boating community, which has supported greater state control of Gulf red snapper.

“Throughout the country, states have proven to be highly successful at fish and wildlife management in a way that conserves natural resources while allowing for reasonable public access,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “The Gulf states are among the nation’s leaders in marine fisheries management, which is why we have continued to look to them as the vehicle for managing Gulf red snapper going forward to get us out of the current mess created by federal mismanagement.”

Read more: Gulf States Unveil Solution to Red Snapper Management

 snapper mgmt
Supreme Court Upholds Florida's Net Ban
Gillnetters seeking to overturn constitutional amendment denied. Again.


TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA (2-18-15) - The Supreme Court of Florida has denied a petition by the Wakulla Fishermen’s Association and upheld the state’s net ban amendment that was approved by 72 percent of voters in 1994. The ruling puts an end to the latest challenge brought by gillnetters who won a sympathetic circuit court ruling in 2013 that allowed them to briefly reintroduce destructive gill nets into Florida waters. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, with the support of CCA Florida, challenged that initial court ruling immediately and has worked tirelessly ever since to defend the net ban to the state’s highest court.

Read more: Supreme Court Upholds Florida's Net Ban

News for Immediate Release
February 12, 2015
Contact: Jeff Angers, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 225-382-3755

Anglers Encouraged by New Recreational Fishing Policy

NOAA Fisheries publishes roadmap for recreational sector

MIAMI, FLA. -- (February 12, 2015) -- Saltwater anglers welcomed the announcement today of the National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy rolled out at the Progressive Miami International Boat Show. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) announced the policy today during a press conference headlined by its top administrator Eileen Sobeck.

Read more: Anglers Encouraged by New Recreational Fishing Policy