Tuesday, October 27th is the last chance for recreational fishermen in Florida to attend the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council public hearing to speak o [Read more…]
This Thursday October 15 the Volusia County Council members will discuss a request from Oak Hill Commercial fisherman to endorse the repeal of the ban on seine nets in Volusia County which includes the entire north end of Mosquito Lagoon. The ban on seine nets in Volusia County has been in place for 45 years and precedes the 1994 constitutional net ban. The individuals of Volusia County saw the destruction of nets long before and took action. Help them in keeping nets out of the Mosquito Lagoon and contact the County Council members and voice your opinion.
The first step the commercial fishermen need to accomplish is to convince the Volusia County Council to ask FWC to remove this rule. The request is strongly supported by district council member Deb Denys. We should stop this before it starts. If you care about the future of recreational fishing in Volusia County make your voice heard. The item is a 9:40 AM time certain matter for the Volusia County Council Meeting on Thursday October 15th.
If you cannot attend the meeting please let the Commissioners know your feelings on this issue! Click here to email the Commissioners and County Manager
Or better yet send an email and attend the meeting. The Commissioners need to understand the value and importance of recreational fishing is not something to be ignored.
When and Where
October 15 Public Comment Period at 8:30 am Council Meeting is 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Frank T. Bruno Jr. County Council Chambers
on the second floor of the
Thomas C. Kelly Administration Center
123 W. Indiana Ave.
NOAA Fisheries Seeks Comments on Proposed Changes to Greater Amberjack Management Measures
in the Gulf of Mexico
NOAA Fisheries is seeking comments on changes to the greater amberjack allowable harvest measures in the Gulf of Mexico.
(1) Decrease the total annual catch limit from 1,780,000 pounds whole weight to 1,720,000 pounds whole weight.
(2) Set the commercial annual catch limit at 464,400 pounds whole weight and the commercial quota at 394,740 pounds whole weight.
(3) Set the recreational annual catch limit at 1,255,600 pounds whole weight and the recreational quota at 1,092,372 pounds whole weight.
(4) Increase the minimum recreational size limit from 30 inches fork length to 34 inches fork length.
(5) Reduce the commercial trip limit from 2,000 pounds whole weight to 1,500 pounds gutted weight.
Need for Action:
The 2014 population assessment indicates additional management measures are necessary to rebuild the greater amberjack population in the Gulf of Mexico.
How to Submit Comments:
NOAA Fisheries must receive comments on this proposed rulemaking no later than October 19,2015. You may submit comments on the amendment or the proposed rule, identified by “NOAA-NMFS-2015-0094”, by one of the following methods:
Electronic Submission: Go to the federal e-Rulemaking Portal at
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0094-0001, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. NOAA Fisheries will accept anonymous comments.
Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
c/o Rich Malinowski
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505
All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on the regulations.gov website without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible.
About Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional Fishery Management Councils established by the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. The Council prepares fishery management plans, which are designed to manage fishery resources within the 200-mile limit of the Gulf of Mexico.
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
Public Information Officer
888-833-1844 ext. 229
Comment Period Ends November 16, 2015
NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment on Amendment 7 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Dolphin Wahoo Fishery of the Atlantic and Amendment 33 to the FMP for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 7 and Snapper-Grouper Amendment 33). The Notice of Availability for public comment on this amendment published in the Federal Register on September 17, 2015 (80 FR 55819). Comments are due by November 16, 2015.
The management measures in Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 7 and Snapper-Grouper Amendment 33 address dolphin, wahoo, and snapper-grouper species lawfully harvested by recreational fishers in The Bahamas and brought to the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Proposed management measures
If approved by NOAA Fisheries, Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 7 and Snapper-Grouper Amendment 33 would:
Allow recreational fishermen to bring fillets of dolphin and wahoo from The Bahamas into the U.S. EEZ and update regulations that currently allow recreational fishermen to bring snapper-grouper fillets from The Bahamas into the U.S. EEZ.
Specify two fillets are equivalent to one fish for dolphin, wahoo, and snapper-grouper species brought into the U.S. EEZ from The Bahamas.
Require fishers to retain skin on the entire fillet of dolphin, wahoo, and snapper-grouper species.
Require fishing gear to be stowed while transiting through the U.S. EEZ from The Bahamas. A vessel carrying fillets of dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper species lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters would not be allowed to stop in the U.S. EEZ during the transit.
Require stamped and dated passports, as well as valid current Bahamian cruising and fishing permits to prove that the recreational fishers were indeed in The Bahamas.
Not allow recreationally caught dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper from The Bahamas to be sold or purchased in the U.S.
Not exempt recreational fishermen from any other Federal fishing regulations such as fishing seasons, recreational bag limits, size limits, and prohibited species.
Request for Comments
Comments on the proposed rule must be received no later than November 16, 2015, to be considered by NOAA Fisheries. See the Addresses section for information on where and how to submit comments.
Electronic or hard copies of the proposed rule may be obtained from:
The NOAA Fisheries Web site
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Web site at http://www.safmc.net.
You may submit comments by the following methods:
Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0047, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701
All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NOAA Fisheries will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).
Minister Dorsett announces over 3 million hectares of protected land, near shore and marine environment.
Nassau, Bahamas – In a remarkable demonstration of the Christie Administration’ [Read more…]
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at its Sept. 3 meeting in Fort Lauderdale approved new recreational and commercial bag limits for barracuda for waters off south Florida. The changes will apply in state and federal waters off Collier, Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Martin counties only, and will include a: Recreational and commercial daily bag limit of two fish per person and Recreational and commercial daily vessel limit of six fish per vessel.
These new limits will be effective Nov. 1, 2015. Stakeholders in southeast Florida and the Florida Keys have voiced concerns about declining barracuda numbers observed when fishing and diving. FWC staff gathered public input from concerned stakeholders at workshops conducted earlier this year.
The FWC is responding to these concerns by creating bag limits to prevent further declines and conserve barracuda in the region. The original proposal also included barracuda size limits, however the FWC wants to gather more input from stakeholders before creating additional limits. FWC staff will conduct another series of workshops in south Florida to gather more public input before considering any additional management measures.
Alexandria, VA– September 1, 2015 – The National Park Service recently released the final General Management Plan (GMP) for Everglades National Park, which includes several changes that will affect recreational boating and fishing access and habitat conservation in the park. The recreational fishing and boating community expressed its collective appreciation to Everglades National Park officials for meaningfully addressing concerns that were raised during the GMP development process.
“Covering much of the southern tip of mainland Florida and nearly all of Florida Bay, Everglades National Park is home to some of the best recreational fishing opportunities that Florida has to offer,” said Trip Aukeman, director of Advocacy for Coastal Conservation Association Florida. “Given that this GMP will guide management actions for the next 20 to 30 years, it’s critically important that we get it right. Overall, we believe the GMP strikes an appropriate balance of management measures to safeguard resources while allowing for reasonable boating and fishing access.”
Everglades National Park officials have been working on the GMP update for several years. After serious concerns were raised over the draft GMP and the potential for reduced public access to the park’s waters, park officials worked closely with members of the recreational fishing and boating community to identify ways to better facilitate access while minimizing boating impacts to important habitat, namely seagrass. As a result of those discussions, many significant changes were made from the draft GMP to the final GMP.
“The recreational fishing community recognizes pole and troll zones are an important management tool to conserve shallow water habitat, but these zones must be established at a reasonable size and with access corridors to allow anglers to still reach the area,” said Mike Leonard, Ocean Resource Policy director for the American Sportfishing Association. “In working with the recreational fishing community, Everglades National Park officials modified tens of thousands of acres of the park’s waters to better facilitate boating access, and included 29 new access corridors in the final GMP compared to the draft GMP. The level of responsiveness of Everglades National Park officials to our community’s input is reflective of how good public policy should be developed.”
One significant change that boaters in Everglades National Park will experience in the future is a mandatory boater education and boating permit system. Operators of motorboats and non-motorized boats, including paddled craft, would complete a mandatory education program to obtain a permit to operate vessels in the park.
“We are pleased to see a cooperatively developed plan that protects our natural resources as well boater access in a balanced manner,” said Nicole Vasilaros, vice president of Federal and Legal Affairs for the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “While we believe that boater education is best administered on the state level, we appreciate the collaborative work the Park has done to include stakeholders in this process and we agree that education is the best way to ensure a safe and fun day on the water. Utilizing state of the art technology, including updated maps and navigational charts, we hope boaters will have an improved experience operating within park waters while ensuring visitors maintain robust access.”
“It’s hard not to recognize the clear contrast between the degree to which stakeholder input was considered for Everglades National Park’s GMP compared to that of Biscayne National Park, where the recreational fishing community was resoundingly ignored,” noted Leonard. “By recognizing that habitat conservation can be achieved while still allowing the public to get out on the water and enjoy our public places, Everglades National Park officials set a positive example that we hope other National Park Service units will follow.”
Recreational anglers have scored a small but significant victory towards correcting Gulf red snapper allocation.
During its August meeting, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council voted to increase the recreational red snapper allocation from 49% to 51.5% of the annual total allowable catch. The Council’s recommendation now goes to the Secretary of Commerce for review and final approval.
The current red snapper allocation (49% recreational, 51% commercial) has been in place since the mid-1980s and is based on out-of-date data. The Council has discussed but delayed action many times so this vote represents an important step forward in the long journey to address the many challenges in managing the now abundant red snapper fishery.
As these recommendations move forward, count on KeepAmericaFishing to keep you informed. Until then, thank you again making your voice heard.
Legislation Introduced to Preserve Fishing Access in
Biscayne National Park
Recreational fishing and boating community praises Congressional leaders for
addressing flawed marine reserve decision
Washington, D.C. – July 30, 2015 – On the heels of the recent announcement to close over 10,000 acres of Biscayne National Park to fishing, a coalition of recreational fishing and boating organizations praised the introduction of a bipartisan bill, H.R. 3310, that will help stop this and similar unwarranted fishing closures from occurring. Led by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), and 28 other original sponsors, the “Preserving Public Access to Public Waters Act” requires the National Park Service and Office of National Marine Sanctuaries to have approval from state fish and wildlife agencies before closing state waters to recreational or commercial fishing.
“Probably the most concerning aspect of the Biscayne National Park marine reserve decision is the total disregard for the fisheries management expertise of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,” said Mike Leonard, Ocean Resource Policy director for the American Sportfishing Association. “The states are responsible for nearly all of our nation’s saltwater fisheries management successes. This legislative safeguard will prevent the federal government from ignoring the fisheries management expertise of the states in these types of situations.”
Throughout the development of the General Management Plan for Biscayne National Park, through which the marine reserve is being implemented, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has provided detailed recommendations to improve the condition of the fisheries resources in the park. The Commission has continually expressed its position that the proposed marine reserve is overly restrictive to the public; will not be biologically effective; and that less restrictive management tools can rebuild the park’s fisheries resources and conserve habitat.
The recreational fishing and boating community has echoed these concerns, but nevertheless the National Park Service ultimately elected to close nearly 40 percent of the park’s reef tract to fishing.
“The Congressional leaders who are sponsoring this bill are to be commended for this common sense approach to protect saltwater anglers from unwarranted access restrictions,” said Chris Horton, Fisheries Program director for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “The Biscayne National Park marine reserve is part of a concerning trend of closing marine areas without scientific basis or an understanding of the critical role anglers play in the economy and in funding conservation.”
“Marine reserves are a tool in the fisheries management toolbox, but too often we see them promoted with questionable-at-best motivations,” said Jeff Miller, chairman of Coastal Conservation Association Florida’s Government Relations Committee. “This bill will ensure that Florida has a say in important fisheries management decisions in Biscayne National Park, including marine reserves, and that similar issues don’t arise in other parts of the state and country.”
On Monday, August 3, the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Small Business will hold a joint hearing to explore the potential implications of lost access due to the Biscayne marine reserve. The hearing will begin at 10am EST and is being held at the William F. Dickinson Community Center in Homestead, Florida.
Attend the local meetings in Florida fishing communities to talk with Council members and staff o [Read more…]