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Catch shares for charter/for-hire industry on the way


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.

Read more: The Truth Comes Out

Sen. Shelby seeks much-needed relief for recreational anglers

WASHINGTON, DC - In an unprecedented display of engagement, Congress is making its displeasure known over the current course of federal management of Gulf red snapper by directly addressing it in a number of recent pieces of legislation in both the U.S. House and Senate. Last week, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS), announced full committee passage of the Fiscal Year 2016 CJS appropriations bill which contains provisions dealing specifically with red snapper, including allocation, state boundaries and stock assessments.

Read more: Federal mismanagement of red snapper draws attention of Congress

In April, Coastal Conservation Association asked its membership to comment against a plan to allow harvest of breeding-size red drum in federal waters for the first time in decades. Today we learned that NOAA Fisheries has rejected that plan, citing overwhelming opposition to it during the comment period. By engaging in this process, you made a difference.
Thank you for making your voice heard, and for being a part of this successful effort to protect one of the great conservation success stories in our country's history.
Recreational Boating and Fishing Community Strongly Objects to Fishing Closure

WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 5, 2015 – Today, the National Park Service announced its final General Management Plan (GMP) for Biscayne National Park. Despite commitments made by Biscayne National Park officials to work with stakeholders and the state of Florida to explore less restrictive options, the GMP includes a marine reserve, eliminating fishing and severely restricting boating in over 10,000 acres of the park’s most popular and productive marine waters.

“America’s recreational fishing community is disheartened by the National Park Service’s decision to implement a marine reserve at Biscayne National Park,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “We understand the importance of protecting our natural resources and the delicate balance needed to ensure that anglers and boaters are able to enjoy these public waters. However, the National Park Service has shown little interest in compromise and today’s announcement confirms a lack of desire to include the needs of park users and stakeholders in important decisions such as this.”

Read more: Public Locked Out of Biscayne National Park

“A real victory for recreational fishing -- and the jobs recreational fishing creates”

Washington, D.C. (June 4) – The Center for Coastal Conservation praised the work of U.S. Representatives Austin Scott (R-Ga.) and Garret Graves (R-La.) in securing passage of a provision in H.R. 2578, the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice Science Appropriations Act, that Center President Jeff Angers called “a real victory for recreational fishing -- and the jobs recreational fishing creates.”

The amendment secured yesterday by Reps. Scott and Graves prohibits funds from being used to enact Gulf of Mexico red snapper management measures that result in a commercial fishing season that lasts no longer than five times the number of days allowed for a recreational fishing season. Despite rebounding red snapper populations in the Gulf, recreational anglers have been confined to shorter seasons than ever before: recreational anglers have been restricted to just nine or 10 days of red snapper fishing over the last two years, while commercial fishing is permitted year round.

Read more: Center for Coastal Conservation Praises on Scott, Graves

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Tuesday, June 2, 2015
CONTACT: Jeff Angers, 225-931-9700
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Recreational Saltwater Fishing Coalition Lauds House Legislation

Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization contains major provisions benefitting recreational fishing

Washington (June 2, 2015) – A coalition of organizations representing the saltwater recreational fishing and boating community congratulated the U.S. House of Representatives on its passage of H.R. 1335, a bill to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the primary statute governing the nation’s marine fisheries.

Read more: Recreational Saltwater Fishing Coalition Lauds House Legislation

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