For a change, here’s some good news regarding federal management of fisheries:
A ban has been lifted in the South Atlantic for recreational and commercial fishing for snapper and grouper in depths greater than 240 feet.
“The deep water snapper-grouper ban demonstrated the severe impacts that can result from faulty science and inadequate consideration of socioeconomics,” said Mike Leonard, Ocean Resource Policy director for the American Sportfishing Association (ASA).
“Thankfully, the South Atlantic Council (SAC) and NOAA Fisheries acknowledged the severity of this ban and are now contemplating other, less restrictive measures to address overfishing issues without closing off a massive area of the ocean to fishing.”
ASA reports that the 240-foot closure was implemented to reduce bycatch of speckled hind and warsaw grouper, two species subject to overfishing. After taking into consideration the high economic cost of the ban to the sportfishing industry, and a new analysis of fisheries data, the SAC determined that the ban was not necessary to achieve the goal of ending overfishing for speckled hind and warsaw grouper.
The SAC now is exploring other measures to address overfishing of speckled hind and warsaw grouper at a lesser cost to the sportfishing community. A proposal under development includes additional measures to reduce bycatch of these two species, as well as expansion of existing, and establishment of new, closed areas.
“It is unfortunate that the South Atlantic Council originally felt it had to take such drastic measures that resulted in lost jobs and undue economic hardship,” said Ken Haddad, ASA’s Marine Fisheries advisor.
“Anglers and the industry are willing to make sacrifices for the betterment of fisheries resources, but these decisions must be based on solid science with an aim towards reducing negative economic impacts. We look forward to working with the South Atlantic Council and NOAA Fisheries to explore other options to rebuild fisheries while still allowing reasonable access to the fisheries we depend on.”