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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
MARCH 8, 2013

CONTACT: GOVERNOR’S PRESS OFFICE

(850) 717-9282
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Governor Rick Scott Appoints Three to Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced the appointment of Adrien “Bo” Rivard and the reappointments of Ronald M. Bergeron and Richard A. Corbett to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Rivard, 41, of Panama City, has been a partner with Harrison Rivard Duncan & Buzzett since 2002 and is the past-president of the Bay County Chamber of Commerce. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and a law degree from Samford University. He succeeds Kathy Barco and is appointed for a term beginning March 8, 2013, and ending August 1, 2017.

Bergeron, 69, of Weston, is owner and president of Bergeron Family of Companies. He is a member of the Broward County Airboat Association and the Everglades Coordinating Council. He is reappointed for a term beginning March 8, 2013, and ending August 1, 2017.

Corbett, 74, of Tampa, is owner and president of Concorde Companies. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree from Harvard University. He is reappointed for a term beginning March 8, 2013, and ending January 6, 2018.

The appointments are subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

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Call to   Action

   

Gulf red snapper crisis opens door to misguided management schemes

   

   
         In the chaos surrounding the 2013 recreational red snapper season, it is possible that the 27-day season will be used as an excuse to propose more unfair management schemes such as catch shares and sector separation for charter/for-hire boats.
   
        CCA’s calls to reallocate red snapper as a means to provide relief to the recreational sector as a whole continue to be ignored. An army of environmental and commercial lobbyists continue to seek ways to limit recreational access to this public resource. A few hundred commercial boats continue to profit from 51 percent of all Gulf red snapper. Hundreds of thousands of recreational anglers continue to get the remaining 49 percent over a 27-day season with an allocation that was set back in the 1980s. This is crazy.
   
        Instead of seriously looking at reallocation, federal bureaucrats have chosen to promote things like a one-snapper bag limit. They fought hard to get the power to punish specific Gulf states that choose to reject the futility of federal red snapper regulations. This new federal power now means anglers in some states may face a red snapper season of as few as 11 days.
   
        We fully expect that against this backdrop of failure, renewed efforts will be made to promote things like catch shares to further limit recreational participation and give a portion of the meager recreational catch to specific charter/for hire businesses to use as their own. While hundreds of thousands of recreational anglers in private boats are left with virtually nothing, a select few businesses and their allies in the environmental community will try to escape with a gift of red snapper from the federal government.
   
        We’ve been told that federal fisheries managers and Council members don’t hear from recreational anglers enough. We’ve been told that the cadre of charter captains, environmental lobbyists and commercial snapper barons who attend every Council meeting are carrying the day and drowning out the concerns of several hundred thousand unsatisfied recreational anglers.
   
        There has never been a more critical time for anglers to make their voices heard in federal fisheries management. Take a few moments now to click the link below and contact your Council members and Council staff personally. Ask them to focus on the core issues that can benefit ourcommunity. Ask them to reject sector separation, catch shares and any other scheme to minimize recreational access to our marine resources. Demand that federal managers finally address reallocation. If possible, make plans to come to the next Gulf Council meeting, April 15-18, at the Marriott Courtyard at 1600 E. Beach Blvd. in Gulfport, Mississippi, and talk to them in person.
   
       Red snapper is no longer a conservation issue – it’s a management issue, and federal management is failing. Send a message today, before we find ourselves permanently locked out of the process..
   
    GULF OF MEXICO FISHERY MANAGEMENT COUNCIL
   
    TEXAS
    Doug Boyd
    Patrick Riley
    Robin Riechers
   
    LOUISIANA
    Camp Matens
    Harlan Pearce
    Myron Fischer
   
    MISSISSIPPI
    Kay Williams
    Corky Perret
    Dale Diaz
   
    ALABAMA
    Dr. Bob Shipp
    Johnny Greene
    Kevin Anson
   
    FLORIDA
    Pam Dana
    John Sanchez
    Larry Abele
    Martha Bademan
   
    NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE
    Roy Crabtree
   
    Click the link below to log in and send your message:
    www.votervoice.net    

   
 
   

 

CCA Florida would like to commend the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) and their officers in another job well done. In one of the latest cases three of their officers Chris Holleman, Sandy Blackburn and Tim Sweat out of Nassau County worked together to catch two men that were illegally taking redfish. These and other FWC Officers are always working hard to conserve and protect the resource and CCA is very appreciative for the added protection they bring to the coastal areas. For more on this case please see the FWC press release below.

 

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Florida Fish and Wildlife

Conservation Commission

 

 

 

33 gigged redfish result in fines, jail time for violators

 

Possession of 33 gigged redfish recently resulted in fines and jail time for two Fernandina Beach men.

George Bartchlette (DOB 07/16/39) and Ronald Waters (DOB 09/25/65) were caught by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers with 33 redfish taken by illegal method.

FWC officers Chris Holleman, Sandy Blackburn and Tim Sweat worked the case.

“Officer Blackburn let me know a boat was headed my way,” said Holleman, who had been on patrol at Holly Point boat ramp in Nassau County. “I could hear the vessel’s engine running as they neared in the Nassau River. When they got inside Christopher Creek, they shut down the engine. I could hear the men walking in the marsh approximately 25 yards from the ramp just before they paddled into the ramp.” 

The officers walked into the marsh and discovered two laundry baskets with 33 redfish. All the fish had punctures consistent with gig marks. There were 19 undersize redfish between 14.25 inches and 17.75 inches, one oversize redfish (29.5 inches) and 13 slot-size redfish.

“We seized the gigs and lights. The case went to the state’s attorney and we obtained arrest warrants for Bartchlette and Waters,” Holleman said.

Bartchlette was charged with over the bag limit, possession of undersize and oversize fish and illegal take because the fish had been gigged. Waters was charged with illegal take of two fish.

Both men were recently adjudicated guilty in Nassau County.

Waters was fined $1,003.

Bartchlette was fined $4,150 and sentenced to 30 days in jail. His seized equipment was forfeited to the FWC. In addition, Bartchlette received a $90 fine foroperating a vessel with no navigational lights.

“This was a great resource case,” said FWC Lt. Clint Thompson, patrol supervisor for Duval and Nassau counties. “The officers involved did an outstanding job.

“I’d also like to thank Nassau County Prosecutor Johnna Lessard, who did an outstanding job in prosecuting this case,” Thompson said.

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KP/NCR
WBD/SCB

 

Rubio letter

Rubio                     

 

For Immediate Release                                            Contacts: Alex Conant / Brooke Sammon

Thursday, February 28, 2013                                                                            (202) 224-3041

 

SENATOR RUBIO ASKS FOR REVIEW OF STOCK ASSESSMENTS TO PROTECT FISHERIES AND FISHING COMMUNITIES IN GULF

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and senators from Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and North Carolina today sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office requesting a review of how the Department of Commerce conducts stock assessments in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic. The stock assessments conducted by the National Marine Fisheries Service are critical in maintaining the vitality of the fisheries, the fishing communities, and related industries in Florida and the region.

 

“Stock assessments are the foundation of sound fishery management,” said Rubio. “It is vital that, as we work to preserve the waters and resources surrounding Florida and other states, we base our management decisions on sound science.  The report we’ve requested today will shed light on the decision-making process within the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and will help us to determine the best path forward so that we can ensure the economic livelihood of the fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic and the industries that depend on them.”

 

Rubio is Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard. The letter is signed by Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), David Vitter (R-LA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Kay Hagan (D-NC) and can be viewed by clicking here.

 

WHAT INDUSTRY EXPERTS ARE SAYING:

 

“Fishing organizations in the southeast, both commercial and recreational, salute Senator Marco Rubio for leading the effort to require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) to provide the basic science needed for honest stock assessments,” said Bob Jones, Executive Director of Southeastern Fisheries Association. “The numbers of fish calculated in the federal waters through stock assessments are critical in determining quotas, seasons, allowable gear, bycatch and all aspects pertaining to the commercial and recreational harvest of seafood. The fishing and tourism industry dependent on fresh local seafood thanks all the Senators who are working to improve the management of our sustainable marine resources.”

 

“As Chairman of the Data Collection Committee at the Gulf Council, I see first-hand how our lack of updated fisheries data strikes at the heart of our ability to make sound management decisions that protect both our natural resources AND our fishermen,” said Harlon Pearce, member of the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council. “We need to get to the bottom of where our data collection resources are being spent and this full GAO investigation is a great step in the right direction.”

“Robust biological and socioeconomic data are critical to the management of our nation’s fisheries,” said Gordon Robertson, vice president of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). “Unfortunately this information has been lacking for many important fisheries, particularly those in the southeast. ASA is grateful that Senator Rubio understands the need for improved science to drive management and is working towards that end.”

“Sound science matters,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation.  “Senator Rubio’s leadership brings focus to the critical need for science-based management of America’s marine fishery resources.”

 

FACTS ABOUT THE FISHING INDUSTRY:

 

  • According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, nearly 40 million licensed anglers generate over $46 billion in retail sales with a $115 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for more than 828,000 people. (U.S. Census Bureau)

 

  • In 2009, the South Atlantic Region’s seafood industry generated $13 billion in sales impacts and 65,000 jobs in Florida, according to NOAA’s Fisheries 2009 Fisheries Economics Report. (NOAA)

 

  • In the Gulf of Mexico region, an average of 23 million fishing trips were taken annually from 2000 to 2009. (NOAA)

 

  • Over 42,000 full- and part-time jobs were generated by recreational fishing activities in Florida in 2009. (NOAA)

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Call to Action

CCA Calls for Denial of Longline Permits

Proposal would allow longliners into conservation zones under guise of “research”

 
    Conservationists are sounding the alarm over a proposal to issue Exempted Fishing Permits (EFP) that would crack open the door for the commercial longline industry to fish in conservation zones created in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.    “While there are undoubtedly legitimate uses for EFPs, in this case they are a thinly veiled excuse to introduce longlining, under the guise of a bycatch studies or other research, back into areas that were justifiably closed to such gear,” said Chester Brewer, chairman of the CCA National Government Relations Committee. “The ocean is a big place, and any research or gear modifications can be studied in areas where longliners are already allowed to set their gear. There is certainly no justification for allowing them into conservation zones. Proposals like this should be rejected outright.”     The conservation zones were originally created to eliminate bycatch and mortality of sailfish, marlins and undersized swordfish and yet the current EFP proposal would authorize the commercial take of tunas, swordfish billfishes and sharks for “scientific data collection and public display.”  The National Marine Fisheries Service states the EFPs could be used to allow commercial pelagic longline vessels into conservation zones off the east coast of Florida and the Charleston Bump to investigate bycatch “hotspots.” Adding insult to injury, the announcement from NMFS states that some EFP applicants are likely to request some form of compensation fishing to offset the expenses for vessel owners participating in the “research” efforts.     “Not only do they want to be allowed to fish commercially in conservation zones, the vessels participating in these ‘research’ efforts would also be exempt from regulations – including seasons – and be allowed to keep and sell whatever they catch,” said Brewer. “It’s outrageous. If the goal is to find the best ways to reduce bycatch, then the time and money spent on these types of proposals would be better applied to a program to switch longliners to less wasteful and destructive buoy gear or just buy them out entirely. That would be far more productive.”     CCA is submitting comments in opposition to the EFP proposal and is urging its members to make their voices heard. Comments must be received by December 20 and may be sent to:

Craig Cockrell
Highly Migratory Species Management Division (F/SF1)
National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910Fax: (301) 713-1917Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


CCA Florida would like for our members to become involved and voice their opinions in a very important issue that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) and Chairman Wright are spearheading. FWC will hold webinars concerning Sport Fish and Game Fish designations on December 10th and 12th from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. The FWC is asking for your help and would like for you to join in and give your comments.  Some of the aspects of the Game Fish and Sport Fish designations have received mixed reviews among Florida anglers and we need your input. CCA will continue to work closely with FWC concerning this issue. Your comments are very important and CCA Florida encourages you to participate and voice your opinion.

 

Please click HERE to see the full press release regarding the webinars and how to attend them. If you have any questions please contact Trip Aukeman at 850-559-0060.

 

Please click HERE to review the FWC's Game Fish and Sport Fish PowerPoint presentation as well as the following press release that the FWC sent out following their December 5th meeting in which the Game Fish and Sport Fish Designations were discussed.

 


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For immediate release: December 5, 2012
Contact: Amanda Nalley, 850-410-4943
 
FWC Commission considering creating saltwater game fish and sport fish designations
 
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) discussed the possibility of creating saltwater game fish and sport fish designations at its Dec. 5 Commission meeting in Apalachicola. After public comment from 18 people and the Commissioners’ discussion, the FWC decided to approve the proposed draft rule about the designation. The Commission will possibly make a final decision on this measure at its February meeting in Orlando.

While Florida has many recreationally important species, it does not have an official saltwater game fish or sport fish designation.

Reasons for considering these changes include helping highlight and protect some of Florida’s premier recreational fish and encouraging anglers to adopt voluntary conservation practices such as catch-and-release. If adopted, these changes could lead to healthier fish populations and help Florida market its unique fishing opportunities to residents and visitors.

“I think it’s an opportunity for this Commission to create a lasting legacy,” said Chairman Kenneth Wright. “I think it will send a signal to fishermen around the world that we are a world-class fishing destination.”

At the meeting, staff presented the Commission with potential game fish and sport fish definitions and described how fish within these designations could be managed.

Suggested parameters for game fish would include no commercial harvest, possession or sale.

The sport fish designation would offer a higher level of protection than game fish by making selected species catch-and-release only, including no recreational harvest as well as no commercial harvest, possession or sale.

Before moving forward with the proposal, the Commission decided to remove a parameter that would have limited gear to hook-and-line only for both designations. They also removed another parameter that was proposed for the game fish designation only that would have required captain and crew of for-hire vessels such as charter boats to have a bag limit of zero and not be allowed to take fish home for themselves.

Which fish species will be included under the game fish or sport fish designations will not be decided at the February Commission meeting. If game fish and sport fish designations are approved, staff will return to future meetings with suggestions for potential fish species candidates.

Recreational fishing in Florida has a high cultural and economic value, and protecting Florida’s premier recreational fish is a priority of the Commission. 

Public comment can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Staff members are also hosting webinars on Dec. 10 and 12 to gather public comment. These meetings will be from 6 to 8 p.m. To participate in the webinar, visit https://fwc.adobeconnect.com/mfm/. There is a cap of 100 participants that can be logged into the online webinar at once. This is on a first-come basis. To give everyone a chance to participate, please do not attend both webinar sessions. Each webinar will cover the same topic.

Voice-only access is also available for those without computer access. For questions about webinar access, please contact Carly Canion at 850-617-9627 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Learn more by visiting MyFWC.com/Fishing – click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Rulemaking” and “Workshops.”
 

 

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November 28, 2012

Dr. Jane Lubchenco
Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and
Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator
Herbert Clark Hoover Building
14th Street & Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Room 5128
Washington, DC 20230

 

Dear Dr. Lubchenco:

We in the sportfishing community were appreciative of the effort you and Eric Schwaab made to improve communication and relationships through the Saltwater Recreational Summit held in Virginia at the beginning of your term as Administrator of NOAA. There were many important commitments made at that meeting, particularly ones made by you. While you have followed through on some of those commitments, there is one very notable exception that is quite concerning to us.

At that meeting in 2010, you noted that the allocation process between sport and commercial fisheries was "rusted shut" and many mixed sector fisheries are operating on outdated allocations based on history rather than optimizing socioeconomic values for the future. You stated that if we are really serious about maximizing jobs and economic value for the future, we have to address this issue regularly and with a standardized, analytical approach.

While we were pleased to have Eric follow up and commission former State Director George Lapointe to survey many of us as to what approaches would be needed, we were concerned that many on the Fishery Management Councils and some NOAA Fisheries Service staff opposed this effort and did not want the issue of allocation systematically reviewed. This pushback was expected, and is symptomatic of the agency culture that has always favored a stable commercial fishery and regarded the sportfish industry as an after-thought. It is this culture that locked in allocations in the first place.

We understand that the report prepared by Mr. Lapointe was submitted to NOAA Fisheries almost a year ago and, as far as we can tell, no meaningful action has been taken on it since submission. We are writing you to express our continuing apprehension that your first term as NOAA Administrator may expire without action on reallocation. There is still time to follow through and complete the development of a systematic framework to regularly review allocation, but it clearly requires your continuing commitment and leadership to unlock the inner workings of NOAA Fisheries that are rusted shut on this issue.

Please review this important situation and ensure that your commitment to us at the Summit has not been lost in process. Good progress on this issue was made initially, but we must guard against defenders of the status quo smothering this initiative with inertia and inaction.

You have asked us to hold you and Eric accountable to these commitments and while we are respectfully doing that, we are also offering our assistance to keep this process moving forward.

Thank you for your attention to this important issue.

Sincerely,

 

Mike Nussman, President
American Sportfishing Association

 

Pat Murray, President
Coastal Conservation Association

 

Jeff Angers, President
Center for Coastal Conservation

 

Jeff Crane, President
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation

 

Rob Kramer, President
International Game Fish Association

 

Thom Dammrich, President
National Marine Manufacturers Association

 

Jim Martin, President
Berkley Conservation Institute