Fisheries issues are rarely this black and white. Most of the things we debate in fisheries management revolve around murky models and shifty statistics. All too often, politics and fisheries science are woven together into a perfect bird's nest of confusion, producing baffling regulations and counter-intuitive policies.
KEY LARGO — The agenda for next week's Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission meeting reminds one of that famous Clint Eastwood spaghetti western "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."
First, the good news: Anglers may soon fish year round for spotted seatrout.
A small silver fish, menhaden has outsized importance in the sea, serving as sustenance for many larger fish and providing vital oils for healthy human hearts. But the population of menhaden has plummeted to just 8 percent of its historical levels off the East Coast as overfishing has taken its toll.
A Gretna fisherman has pleaded guilty in federal court to exceeding the legal limit for redfish on a trip last year, and could face five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Blake Mitchell, 26, admitted to allowing several Tennessee men to exceed the legal limit of five redfish per person while on a duck hunting and bowfishing trip in January 2010.
Orcas attack prey as large as gray whales and as small as herring. But the endangered orcas of the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands have adapted to eating mostly Chinook salmon, another threatened species.
Officials move to eliminate NOAA funding for unpopular fishery management program
Elected officials from the Gulf Coast and beyond are promoting a move to restrict funds for the development of new catch share programs for any fishery under the jurisdiction of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. In a letter to the leadership of the House Appropriations Committee this week, U.S. Representative Steve Southerland II (R-Fla.) and 24 co-signers are calling on Congress to continue to protect the Gulf of Mexico from “job-destroying” catch share programs.
Commission vote reduces menhaden harvest for first time ever
For the first time in history, there will be reductions in the harvest of Atlantic menhaden after a vote today by the Menhaden Management Board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). Menhaden, which serve as the primary forage base for most predatory fish, have declined to the lowest level ever recorded, sparking alarm in the recreational angling community which has long expressed concern over the impact of industrial menhaden harvest on sportfish stocks.
Fisheries lobby lawmakers to keep subsidies, throw back catch shares plan
As Congress debates measures to stimulate the econ- omy, reduce the deficit and protect jobs, 19 members are pushing a back-room amendment that would block funding for an innovative way to manage the nation’s fisheries, called catch shares. This is a last-gasp effort for a proposal that was rejected by both the House and Senate earlier this year.
Some Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission members concerned about disappearance of rockfish in northern waters
BOSTON—A proposal that could have slashed Maryland's annual striped bass catch by more than 50 percent in 2012 was shelved Tuesday morning by the commission that oversees East Coast fisheries.