Gillnetters seeking to overturn constitutional amendment denied. Again.
The Supreme Court of Florida has denied a petition by the Wakulla Fishermen’s Association and upheld the state’s net ban amendment that was approved by 72 percent of voters in 1994. The ruling puts an end to the latest challenge brought by gillnetters who won a sympathetic circuit court ruling in 2013 that allowed them to briefly reintroduce destructive gill nets into Florida waters. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, with the support of CCA Florida, challenged that initial court ruling immediately and has worked tirelessly ever since to defend the net ban to the state’s highest court.
NOAA Fisheries publishes roadmap for recreational sector
Saltwater anglers welcomed the announcement today of the National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy rolled out at the Progressive Miami International Boat Show. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) announced the policy today during a press conference headlined by its top administrator Eileen Sobeck.
“This is a major step in the right direction,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “For the first time, NOAA Fisheries officially acknowledges the inherent differences between recreational and commercial fisheries -- and the need to manage the sectors differently.
“The rubber will meet the road in implementation,” he said, “but this is a good roadmap.”
The policy identifies goals and guiding principles related to recreational fishing to be integrated -- top-down -- into NOAA Fisheries planning, budgeting, decision-making, and activities. The goals of the policy are to: 1) support and maintain sustainable saltwater recreational fisheries resources, including healthy marine and estuarine habitats; 2) promote saltwater recreational fishing for the social, cultural, and economic benefit of the nation; and, 3) enable enduring participation in, and enjoyment of, saltwater recreational fisheries through science-based conservation and management.
Recreational anglers and boaters identified their primary priorities in the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management’s report “A Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries.” The Commission, headed by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris and Maverick Boats President Scott Deal, highlighted six key policies that would achieve the Commission’s vision. Establishment of a national policy for recreational saltwater fishing was its #1 recommendation. Other key elements include: adoption of a revised approach to saltwater recreational fisheries management; allocating marine fisheries for the greatest benefit to the nation, and creating reasonable latitude in stock rebuilding timelines.
Contributors to the work of the Morris-Deal Commission include American Sportfishing Association, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Berkley Conservation Institute, Center for Coastal Conservation, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, International Game Fish Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and The Billfish Foundation.
Efforts on track to remove destructive gear from Lower Columbia, improve local economy
A policy to remove non-tribal gillnets from the mainstem of the Columbia River moved another step closer to implementation this week with the Washington Court of Appeal’s opinion affirming the Thurston County District Court’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed by commercial gillnet interests challenging the policy.
Recreational fishing is one of America’s greatest outdoor activities. More than 33 million Americans
fish recreationally and it has special significance for people living in and near the Gulf of
Mexico. One of the crown jewels of recreational fishing in the Gulf is red snapper. Americans spend
tens of millions of dollars chasing red snapper in the Gulf -- on boats, gear, gas, food, beverage,
guides, hotels and restaurants. That is, they used to...
Minority report highlight flaws in sector separation amendment
Eight representatives to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council have submitted a minority report to the National Marine Fisheries Service that lays out an extensive series of objections to a highly controversial management plan for Gulf red snapper. The report focuses on significant shortcomings in the development and presentation of Amendment 40, a measure that will reserve a significant percentage of the recreational red snapper quota solely for use by the charter/for-hire industry. Amendment 40 was narrowly approved at the October meeting of the Gulf Council and is now pending approval by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
Hearing on Rep. Jeff Miller’s bill explores options to flawed federal management system
The U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs held a hearing today on legislation to transfer management of Gulf red snapper from the federal system and allow the states to take responsibility for the fishery. The legislation, H.R. 3099, proposes a new course for management of Gulf red snapper, an important fishery that has been plagued by short seasons and privatization schemes even as the stock has recovered beyond expectations.
Council and NOAA staffers often lament the challenges and shortcomings of the Gulf Council and wonder aloud why it has devolved into such a mess. By comparison at this point, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council runs like a church service, and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission like a military unit. So what’s the difference? It’s not a mystery. The same motivation that pulled the New England Council into chaos is at work here – greed.
Anglers applaud Atlantic Commission’s more conservative approach for popular gamefish
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Striped Bass Management Board voted this week to adopt new, more conservative reference points for striped bass and reduce fishing mortality by 25 percent in the coastal states and 20.5 percent in the Chesapeake Bay. The decision is welcome news for recreational anglers who have grown alarmed at the precipitous decline of the most popular gamefish on the East Coast.