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Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Meets with CSP Partners at Maverick Boat Group

Indicates Good News Ahead for South Atlantic Red Snapper

CCA Florida thanks to the Center for Sportfishing Policy for arranging a visit to Maverick Boat Group for U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross last week to demonstrate the economic vitality and importance of recreational angling to the nation. CCA is a proud founding organization of CSP, and continues to have an active presence on its board to make the case for healthy marine resources and promote recreational angling at the highest levels of government.

Last Friday morning, CSP and Maverick Boat Group had the honor of hosting U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for an industry roundtable discussion and manufacturing tour of Maverick’s 127,000-square-foot facility in Fort Pierce, Fla. Secretary Ross began the conversation indicating good news is ahead for South Atlantic red snapper and that his office is finalizing the rule requiring descending devices onboard vessels targeting snapper grouper in the South Atlantic.
 
Representatives from industry included boat builders, fiberglass, resin and component manufacturers, engine, trailer and fishing equipment manufacturers, among others – who help create hundreds of thousands of jobs across the supply chain in all 50 states.

Maverick Boat Group Vice President of Manufacturing Jim Leffew takes Secretary Ross through the manufacturing process for Cobia and Pathfinder boats.

During the visit, Secretary Ross spoke with the group about economic challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and ways the Trump Administration could foster economic growth for our industry. But COVID-19 was not our only focus. We emphasized the importance of good fisheries policy to the Secretary because good fisheries policy drives good economic outcomes from recreational fishing and boating. Secretary Ross understands that, and in the last three years, he has proven to be a great partner in improving the way our federal fisheries are managed.
 
In his opening remarks, Secretary Ross suggested positive news is forthcoming for South Atlantic red snapper anglers. First, his office is in the final stages of approving the descending device rule that will require all fishermen targeting snapper and grouper in the South Atlantic to have a descending device rigged and ready for use. Our community has long advocated for this requirement and has encouraged the public to use descending devices to return more of these prized reef fish safely to the deep. CSP partners ASA and CCA have led by example educating the angling public through their programs FishSmart Conservation Project and ReleaSense, respectively. Please join us in promoting these best fishing practices and strengthen our reputation as anglers and leaders in conservation.
 
In other good news, we are expecting an announcement in the coming days on the 2020 South Atlantic red snapper season. We last reported to you that NOAA Fisheries proposed a three-day season this summer. However, indications are that the season may be longer than three days. With the descending device rule on its way to finalization and the right folks at the Commerce Department aware of the federal management failure in this fishery, we are making our way to better access. We will continue working on innovative ways to improve access to South Atlantic red snapper. For more detailed coverage on the event see msn.com.
 
Stay tuned and stay well! 

Jeff Angers    

Courtesy of Saltwater Sentinel

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