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Environmental group, charter/for-hire, commercial harvesters join forces to oppose CCA lawsuit

HOUSTON, TX (9-22-15) - Coastal Conservation Association’s stand against Amendment 40 has now drawn formal opposition from all the groups actively promoting privatization of public marine resources in the Gulf of Mexico. The Charter Fishermen’s Association formally intervened on behalf of the federal government’s highly controversial plan for Gulf red snapper in May and in recent weeks both the Environmental Defense Fund and the Shareholder Rights Alliance have filed Amicus Briefs in support of the federal government.

Standing with CCA is the State of Louisiana, which filed an Amicus Brief in support of recreational anglers in May.

Read more: United threat faces recreational angling

Plan makes strides to improve habitat conservation while maintaining reasonable boating and fishing access

Washington, DC – September 1, 2015 – The National Park Service recently released the final General Management Plan (GMP) for Everglades National Park, which includes several changes that will affect recreational boating and fishing access and habitat conservation in the park. The recreational fishing and boating community expressed its collective appreciation to Everglades National Park officials for meaningfully addressing concerns that were raised during the GMP development process.

“Covering much of the southern tip of mainland Florida and nearly all of Florida Bay, Everglades National Park is home to some of the best recreational fishing opportunities that Florida has to offer,” said Trip Aukeman, director of Advocacy for CCA Florida. “Given that this GMP will guide management actions for the next 20 to 30 years, it’s critically important that we get it right. Overall, we believe the GMP strikes an appropriate balance of management measures to safeguard resources while allowing for reasonable boating and fishing access.”

Read more: Final Management Plan Released for Everglades National Park

Mary Janine Vara
NOAA Fisheries
Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

Re: Generic Amendment to the Fishery Management Plans for Snapper-Grouper, Golden Crab, and Dolphin and Wahoo

Dear Ms. Vara,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on theGeneric Accountability Measures and Dolphin Allocation Amendment. Coastal Conservation Association is the largest marine resource conservation group of its kind in the country, with more than 130,000 members in chapters from coast to coast to coast. We are concerned primarily with the dolphin allocation issue in this amendment, and the ongoing willingness of federal managers to manipulate allocation decisions, to the detriment of the angling public.

The Coastal Conservation Association is opposed to arbitrary changes in sector allocations based on little more than a guess. The conclusion of the limited economic discussion in the document was:

Considering that, based on historical landings, neither the commercial sector nor the recreational sector would likely reach their respective ACLs under any of the alternatives, it may be concluded that none of the alternatives would result in significant short-term or long-term negative economic effects on either sector.

Read more: Generic Amendment to the Fishery Management Plans for Snapper-Grouper, Golden Crab, and Dolphin...

Recreational fishing and boating community praises Congressional leaders for addressing flawed marine reserve decision

Washington, D.C. – July 30, 2015 – On the heels of the recent announcement to close over 10,000 acres of Biscayne National Park to fishing, a coalition of recreational fishing and boating organizations praised the introduction of a bipartisan bill, H.R. 3310, that will help stop this and similar unwarranted fishing closures from occurring. Led by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), and 28 other original sponsors, the “Preserving Public Access to Public Waters Act” requires the National Park Service and Office of National Marine Sanctuaries to have approval from state fish and wildlife agencies before closing state waters to recreational or commercial fishing.

“Probably the most concerning aspect of the Biscayne National Park marine reserve decision is the total disregard for the fisheries management expertise of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,” said Mike Leonard, Ocean Resource Policy director for the American Sportfishing Association. “The states are responsible for nearly all of our nation’s saltwater fisheries management successes. This legislative safeguard will prevent the federal government from ignoring the fisheries management expertise of the states in these types of situations.”

Read more: Legislation Introduced to Preserve Fishing Access in Biscayne National Park

Building Conservation Trust joins effort to create new angling, diving destination


Marine fisheries and recreational angling off the coast of Jupiter, Florida, are set to get a boost this summer with the placement of 40 artificial reef cells in 88 feet of water. The CCA Building Conservation Trust has contributed $25,000 to the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation for the project, which will utilize innovative reefing materials to create a thriving new ecosystem.

Read more: Innovative offshore reefing project set to go in off Jupiter

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.