CCA Position on Amendment 17A to the SAFMC Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Meeting in Orlando, Florida

Posted on July 07, 2010

At this point, CCA does not support the adoption of any of the proposed bottom closures in Amendment 17A. We do not believe it is reasonable to support any of the alternatives currently before this Council until the results of the assessment currently underway have been released and are fully analyzed. CCA has long called for additional review of the science before making any additional management changes for this fishery, and we commend the Council and NOAA Fisheries for the decision to conduct another full, benchmark assessment for South Atlantic red snapper. Re-examining the entire assessment, from the data used to a new review panel, provides a public forum for all concerns to be openly addressed.  We believe this further review is necessary before any final action is taken. 

We would like to draw special attention to the mention of the need for fishery independent surveys in this fishery. CCA views fishery independent data as critical to the establishment of a better assessment process that is not solely dependent on recreational and commercial catch for data. Many of the questions that were raised with the previous stock assessment would have been avoided through the use of fishery independent data. We encourage the adoption of such survey methods as quickly as possible. 
In closing, CCA is fully aware of the tenets of the Magnuson Act that are forcing this issue, and while we fully support ending overfishing to restore abundance, we do not believe that closing huge areas of the ocean to all recreational fishing was what Congress had in mind when it reauthorized the Magnuson-Stevens Act in 2006.