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Entries in Center for Coastal Conservation (13)

Monday
Nov252013

Boat Builders Support Center for Coastal Conservation

Four new boat builders have joined as corporate sponsors for Center for Coastal Conservation. They include Grady White Boats, Maverick Boats, Regulator Boats and Sea Hunt Boats.

“We are incredibly grateful and pleased to have the support of these boat builder partners,” said Center for Coastal Conservation President Jeff Angers. “All four share our vision for the future of recreational fishing and boating, and their presence within our organization will serve to strengthen our abilities to advance federal public policy that benefits the entire fishing and boating community.”

In addition to participating as a corporate sponsor, Maverick Boats President and CEO Scott Deal was elected to membership on the Center’s board of directors.

“Yamaha Marine Group really got the ball rolling in January when they announced their platinum sponsorship of the Center,” said Deal. “Thanks to those pioneering efforts, the Center for Coastal Conservation is uniquely positioned to make real progress with the Congress in stewarding marine fishery resources. We are proud to step up our support for this organization as we work together to preserve and improve recreational fishing and boating.”

The Center for Coastal Conservation is a coalition of  advocates for marine recreational fishing and boating. The Center is dedicated to promoting sound conservation and wise use of ocean resources and supports federal legislators through its political action committee, Center PAC. The organization is non-partisan and focuses on having an impact in the national political arena, principally Congress and federal regulatory agencies, to promote a quality recreational fishery and improve angling and boating access.

America’s 11 million marine recreational fishermen generate over $70 billion in economic output supporting over 450,000 jobs. The Center’s membership includes individuals and the major players in marine conservation and recreational boating and fishing. Non-profit members include American Sportfishing Association, Coastal Conservation Association, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, International Game Fish Association and National Marine Manufacturers Association. Corporate partners include AFTCO, Brunswick, Costa, Grady White Boats, Maverick Boats, Pure Fishing, Regulator Boats, Sea Hunt Boats, Shimano and Yamaha.

Monday
Oct282013

Louisiana's Vitter Calls Out NOAA for Failure in Managing Fisheries

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) is pushing back against NOAA’s failure to implement its own allocation policies and to provide leadership and direction to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. He says that he will “hold” the nominee to lead that agency until it agrees to address its responsibilities.

Even though the recreational fishery for red snapper is worth far more to the economy than the commercial, sports anglers are allocated just 49 percent of the catch, based on data from the 1980s. Back then, bycatch of juvenile red snapper by shrimp trawlers caused the recreational catch to decline by 87 percent.

“It shouldn’t have to come to this,” said Patrick Murray, president of Coastal Conservation Association.  “After all, NOAA is an agency charged with managing our public marine resources in a manner to achieve the greatest benefits to the nation and there is no way to manage any fishery to achieve that goal when the managing agency insists on adhering to an allocation that was set using catch history from the 1980s.  

“We really appreciate Senator Vitter stepping in to make NOAA Fisheries do its job.”

“Given all the turbulence surrounding Gulf red snapper over the past several years, it is past time to look at the fundamental underpinnings of how we manage this fishery,” added Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association.  “Ignoring the problem is irresponsible.”

The Secretary of Commerce is legally obligated, along with the Fishery Management Councils, to establish procedures to ensure a fair and equitable allocation of fish harvest for Gulf red snapper – and every other federally managed fishery.  The Obama Administration three years ago committed to review guidelines for implementing fair and equitable allocations.  While some preliminary work has been done to develop options for moving forward with allocation reviews, so far, neither NOAA nor any Council has produced such guidelines. 

“Federal managers simply must address allocation,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation.  “Our system of federal fisheries management is broken to a point where a United States Senator is compelled to force a federal agency to do a fundamental part of its job.  We support Sen. Vitter’s continued efforts to make government act responsibly.”

Read more here.

Friday
Sep132013

Red Snapper Bill Would Turn Over Management to States

Finally, something is being done to untangle the awful mess made of the red snapper fishery by the feds.

Introduced by a bipartisan coalition, the Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Conservation Act would establish a coordinated Gulf states partnership through which the states would comply with a management plan approved and adopted by the Gulf States Marines Fisheries Commission. The partnership would be similar to how the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission manages striped bass and how the Gulf states manage red drum (redfish).

“There are many examples where a shift to state-based management of a given fishery resource has been called for, producing better results,” said Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association.

 “State fish and wildlife management professionals have a strong track record of managing their fishery resources in order to achieve the right balance between sustainability and quality fishing opportunities. The ongoing red snapper debacle in the Gulf is begging for the opportunity to put proven state-based management approaches to work.”

Federal management of this popular recreational species has been broken for years, and reached rock bottom in 2013 when frustration over status quo management compelled several Gulf states to seek greater control of the fishery in their own waters. In retaliation, the National Marine Fisheries Service used an emergency rule process to reduce the recreational season to nine days off Louisiana and 12 days off Texas. Both states sued and a federal court overturned the action.

The legislation comes after the governors of four Gulf states released a joint letter to the U.S. House and Senate leadership stating that federal management of Gulf red snapper is “irretrievably broken,” and calling for a coordinated Gulf states partnership for red snapper management. In a sign of broad support for the concept of state-based management of fish and wildlife resources, the entire leadership of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus has signed on to the bill.

“The reality is that federal management of the Gulf of Mexico recreational red snapper fishery is fundamentally flawed, and it is negatively impacting anglers and the coastal economies that depend on access to that fishery,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane.

“Federal management of red snapper has painted itself into a corner,” added Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “We have a robust red snapper population in the Gulf, but 2013 was as chaotic a season as anglers have ever seen. The season started as the shortest ever, saw a revolt by some states that resulted in even shorter seasons, endured a lawsuit, received a glowing stock assessment and the promise of a fall season, only to crash on wild estimates of overharvest that put the fall season in jeopardy.

“This is no way to manage a fishery, and this legislation presents a way out of this no-win situation. Congressman (Rep. Jeff of Florida) Miller is a true champion of American anglers for taking the lead on this legislation. His leadership brings a reliable, workable solution that allows the Gulf states to better manage red snapper conservation.”

Thursday
May162013

Senators Begich, Rubio Honored by CCC for Conservation Work

U.S. Senators Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) were honored by the Center for Coastal Conservation at its annual legislative conference.  Begich received the Center's Lifetime Achievement Award, and Rubio was recognized as its Conservationist of the Year.

"These two senators are extraordinary leaders for conservation," said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation.  "Their commitment to good stewardship of America's marine fishery resources is making a difference from coast to coast to coast."

Begich chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, and has long been an advocate for proper management of fishery resources.  He was an original co-author of the Fishery Science Improvement Act (FSIA) in the last Congress and is proud that anglers today enjoy great salmon fishing in the heart of Anchorage thanks to the award-winning Salmon in the City program he launched while mayor there in 2007.

Begich is guiding the reauthorization process for the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), the overarching federal law governing marine fisheries. He recently delivered the closing remarks at the Managing Our Nation’s Fisheries Conference in which he highlighted some of the difficulties MSA has created for recreational fisheries as well as other challenges, such as the loss of marine habitat through the removal of “Idle Iron” in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Congress has taken some major steps forward to make our marine fisheries sustainable but we have a lot more to do," said Begich.  "Sound scientific management needs to be our priority as we work toward reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act this Congress."

Rubio, the Ranking Republican on the same Subcommittee, hails from America's #1 state for marine recreational fishing and was also an original co-sponsor of FSIA.   An avid angler himself, he sees the $17+ billion economic impact of recreational fishing in the Sunshine State.

“I am honored to be the Center's Conservationist of the Year. Federal fisheries management is broken for recreational fishing,” said Senator Rubio. “It is vital that we address the problems faced by our recreational anglers when Congress reauthorizes the Magnuson-Stevens Act.  This industry is a huge economic driver for our state and we must ensure those recreational fishermen who use the waters and precious resources surrounding Florida can continue to enjoy their favorite pastime.  I look forward to working with the Center for Coastal Conservation and other stakeholders as we begin this important debate.”

Friday
Feb222013

Anti-Angling Bias in D.C. Remains a Threat

As they quietly go about their business behind closed doors in Washington, D.C., politicians and bureaucrats within the Obama Administration pose a significant threat to the future of fishing. It’s not easy to keep up with what they’re doing, but fortunately the Activist Angler has a trusted source for information about the anti-fishing movement.  

He has just provided me with a disturbing reminder that those who want to tell us where we can and cannot fish in public waters remain colossally ignorant and/or colossally disdainful of recreational angling.

They remain so despite attempts at educating them about the importance and value of recreational fishing by the American Sportfishing Association, Center for Coastal ConservationCongressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and other organizations.

What’s the latest evidence?

It resides within the National Marine Protected Areas Center website maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which has been pushing a preservationist, anti-fishing agenda for four years. Much of that agenda focuses on zoning uses of our oceans and the waters that connect to them, courtesy of a National Ocean Policy created by Executive Order.

In categorizing those uses, anonymous bureaucrats have come up with four general categories: Recreation & Culture; Fishing, Hunting & Gathering; Energy; and Other Maritime Activities.

Now, “recreational fishing” is called that for a reason. It’s a form of recreation, with minimal harvest and minimal impact on fisheries stocks. Additionally, nearly 60 million Americans call themselves anglers, and they spend hundreds of millions dollars annually pursuing their pastime, with much of that money benefiting fisheries conservation.

Fisheries advocates have been hammering this message to the administration since President Obama took office. But blindly following their preservationist ideology, the bureaucrats pay lip service to the distinction and then go on about their business of ignoring it.

In other words, recreational angling is not listed in the Recreation & Culture category. Instead, it is paired with commercial fishing in the Fishing, Hunting & Gathering category.

“Only NOAA could lump fishing with a rod and reel into the same category as dredging and trawling – and to think we pay for this!” says my source.

And we’re going to pay additionally for it with reduced access unless we unite in advocacy through Keep America Fishing and other groups and unless we make sure that our members of Congress are educated and stepping up to protect our rights.