The recent passage of regulations by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) concerning use of the “Boca Jig” has left CCA Florida in the midst of a heated debate (again). We have friends and members on both sides of the issue. Our position, developed by our government relations committee (GRC), is set forth on CCA’s website and reprinted below for ease of reference. In short there were three proposed regulations. We supported two:
The third issue focused on the banning of the “Boca Jig” from use in Boca Grand Pass. Some believe the “Boca Jig” to be a snagging device; while others claim it is not a snagging device. Yet everyone who weighed in on the issue from both sides of the debate to CCA’s GRC stated that they are against snagging Tarpon.
JACKSONVILLE, FL – (10-17-13) – It is not often that the downtown area of a U.S. city is the backdrop for a new reef, but that is exactly where the next marine habitat project funded by Coastal Conservation Association Florida (CCA Florida) and the CCA national marine habitat program will splash down. In just a few months, two new fishing reefs will be created less than half a mile from the I-95 Bridge over the St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville.
The total cost of the project is $60,000 and the Jacksonville Chapter of CCA Florida has committed to raising 50 percent of the necessary funding. The Building Conservation Trust, CCA’s national habitat program which has garnered support from country music star Kenny Chesney and Costa Sunglasses among others, has donated the remaining $30,000 to the Jacksonville reefing project.
By Ted Venker
Coastal Conservation Association
Early in October, news came that more than 130 chefs, restaurant owners, fishermen and seafood industry leaders had partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund to launch a new propaganda campaign called "Share the Gulf.” The goal of this benignly labeled effort is to maintain 51 percent of the red snapper harvest for commercial fishermen and 49 percent to recreational fishermen – an allocation that was set using harvest data from the mid-1980s.
Coalition members maintain that any change to allocation could be a blow to commercial fishermen that could take red snapper off restaurant menus and out of grocery stores. Keep in mind, this is an allocation literally set about 30 years ago in a very different time with a very different stock.
"We need to draw a line in the sand," John Schmidt, a Florida-based commercial fisherman and co-chairman of the coalition, said in a recent article. "Recreation groups need to stop taking away America's fish and start managing their fish better."
Just chew on that thought for a moment: Recreational angling groups are taking away America’s fish. Then consider that the commercial red snapper sector is currently comprised of less than 400 “shareholders” who personally own 51 percent of all the red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico.
A bit infuriating, isn’t it?