NOAA catch-share program threatens recreational angling
CCA questions federal program of resource giveaways
In a letter to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Special Advisor Monica Medina, Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) voiced opposition to a federal fisheries management initiative that gives fixed percentages of various fisheries to commercial fishers. CCA acknowledged that the concept, known as a catch-share program, can be effective in purely commercial fisheries, but stressed that it presents serious problems when applied to fisheries that have both commercial and recreational participation.
“Catch shares are obviously a major focus for this Administration and we are concerned not only about the impact they have on recreational fisheries, but also at the pace with which they are being pushed into the management system,” said Chester Brewer, chairman of the CCA National Government Relations Committee.
“As we’ve seen with red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico, these types of programs create huge problems for recreational anglers,” he added, referring to a fishery that has locked 51 percent of the total catch to a small fleet of commercial boats and 49 percent to hundreds of thousands of recreational anglers. “Based on our experience, catch share initiatives are a detriment in the management of mixed-use fisheries.”
In the letter to Medina, appointed to lead the NOAA Catch Shares Task Force, CCA stated that allocating a fixed percentage of a mixed fishery to commercial fishers is unfair, not only to recreational anglers but also to the public at large. CCA endorses the concept that the federal government is the trustee of the nation’s ocean resources and must manage them for the overall benefit of the public.
“Catch shares are on a fast track and we don’t feel we have the luxury to ‘just say no’ – we’ve never chosen that option in any fisheries management crisis,” said Brewer. “We didn’t do that during the debate over marine protected areas and we are not going to do it now. Catch shares are a real threat to the future of a number of recreational fisheries and they are not going to just go away anytime soon. We are going to stay very active on this issue to make sure recreational anglers are not left out of the debate…and out of the fishery.”
For a briefing packet that includes a review of the history of catch share programs and the granting of exclusive fishing rights, click HERE.
CCA is the largest marine resource conservation group of its kind in the nation. With almost 100,000 members in 17 state chapters, CCA has been active in state, national and international fisheries management issues since 1977. Visit www.JoinCCA.org for more information.
CONTACT: Ted Venker, 1-800-201-FISH