As part of its ongoing effort to encourage the federal fisheries management system to overhaul the way it views the nations marine resources, Coastal Conservation Association is urging the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to break with the failed policies of the past and chart new management plans for a series of important recreational fisheries.
In recent months, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission have all opted to explore reallocation of fisheries using forward-looking criteria rather than outdated catch histories. The South Atlantic Council is noticeably absent from that list.
CCAs call for reallocation could provide much-needed relief for recreational anglers
GULFPORT, MS â€“ The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has taken a long-awaited first step toward addressing outdated allocations between the commercial and recreational sectors in the grouper and red snapper fisheries. During its meeting this week in Gulfport, the Council voted to begin an amendment on grouper allocations, and to review red snapper allocations and transferability options at its next meeting in April.
â€œThis is something that Coastal Conservation Association has been working on for a long time, and it is a significant development for recreational anglers,â€ said Chester Brewer, chairman of CCAs National Government Relations Committee. â€œFrozen allocations based on realities that no longer exist have plagued recreational anglers for decades. Crafting forward-looking allocations for these fisheries based on current and future economic, social and conservation criteria is the foundation of sensible management.â€
Governor Charlie Crist signed CS/SB 1742 into law and repealed the resident shoreline exemption from the Florida Saltwater Fishing License. The shoreline exemption repeal was a top legislative priority for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and CCA Florida. With help from Senator Lee Constantine (R-Altamonte Springs), Senator Carey Baker (R-Eustis), and Representative Baxter Troutman (R-Winter Haven), the bill was carried through the Florida Legislature and placed on the Governors desk.
â€œThe repeal means that shoreline anglers capable of buying a license will now be contributing to marine fisheries conservation,â€ said Bill Bird, CCA Florida Chairman. â€œMost importantly the license amendment will save Florida anglers from having to pay 20 million dollars in additional federal angler registration fees.â€
Starting in 2010, The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) requires all anglers fishing in federal waters or for anadromous species to obtain a federal registration. The fee charged is anticipated to fall between $15 and $25 per angler, is authorized to commence in 2011, and will be deposited into the National Treasury. A provision in the MSA exempts states that have an adequate saltwater licensing system. The shoreline exemption, which kept Floridas licensing system from being qualified for the federal angler registry, has now been removed.