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“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

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