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Entries in fishery closures (4)


Politics Keeps Us Off the Water

What the heck is this?

It's a red snapper caught by the people who operate Apex Fishing Charters in Louisiana.

That thing behind the lady with the fish? An oil rig.

The feds --- the thoughtful nameless men and women who are protecting these beautiful fish by keeping us off the water 99 percent  of the year --- are also blowing up three of them a week. And killing 30,000 pounds of snapper every week.

Read The Politics of Red Snapper at The Online Fisherman to learn more.


Florida Closes Gulf Grouper Fishery Starting Feb. 1

Florida will impose a closed season on several species of groupers starting Feb. 1. Here’s the latest from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:

Several species of grouper, including black, red, yellowfin, scamp, yellowmouth, rock hind and red hind will close to recreational harvest from Feb. 1 through March 31 in Gulf of Mexico state waters, excluding Monroe County.

Gag grouper, which has been closed in Gulf state waters since Nov. 16, 2011, is also included in the seasonal closure through March 31. The gag grouper population is considered too low, and too many are being caught for the population to be sustainable.

Federal fishery managers are working to rebuild the gag grouper population. Changes in federal management efforts include setting the gag grouper recreational harvest season from July 1 to Oct. 31, although the new management changes will not be implemented until the final rule is printed in the Federal Register. FWC Commissioners, at their February Commission meeting in Havana, will consider whether to adopt similar standards for Gulf of Mexico state waters.     

The upcoming two-month recreational harvest closure of all eight grouper species, often referred to as shallow-water grouper, is also intended to help rebuild the gag grouper fishery. Gag grouper spawn during the February and March closure, so limiting the harvest of other grouper helps reduce the number of gag grouper that are caught unintentionally and die after being released. 

Go here for more information regarding grouper fishing regulations.


More Fishery Closures Coming in 2012 if Congress Doesn't Act

Marine anglers should get ready for even tougher times in 2012, courtesy of closures imposed by the federal government. And freshwater anglers should be concerned as well. The same anti-fishing agenda is going to move inland as well, unless we stop it.

Passage of the Fishery Science Improvement Act (FSIA) by Congress before the end of 2011 could minimize the closures in our oceans. But, sad to say, don’t count on Congress during these times of political chaos in Washington, D.C.

“While other legislative amendments to MSA (Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act) have been offered to address a variety of federal fishing issues, we need Congress to understand that there is an immediate need to address the specific problem that FSIA solves,” said Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association.

“Unless Congress passes this legislation before the end of this year, come January 1, 2012, anglers and commercial fishermen alike will be facing hard new annual catch limits on numerous stocks of fish that are based on nothing more than guesswork.”

Learn more about the FSIA here.

Meanwhile backlash continues against Recreational Fishing Alliance (see previous posts) for criticizing the proposed legislation.

John Mazurkiewicz, public relations counsel for Shimano and a member of ASA and many other angling groups says:

“It's not hard to see that following the lead of the Congressional Sportsman's Foundation, ASA, The Billfish Foundation, IGFA, NMMA, Coastal Conservation Association and the Center of Coastal Conservation is the right way to go.

“I applaud the efforts of those involved with these organizations --- a large number of smart people who understand all these issues and know what's best for the sportfishing industry.”

And Phil Morlock, director of environmental affairs for Shimano, issues this warning:

“The campaign against fishing is spreading inland to fresh water and being advanced by the same bogus rationale that the only way to ‘protect’ fish and fish habitat is to ban recreational fishing regardless of what hard science and decades of fishery management success clearly shows to the contrary.

“The recreational fishing community has been slow to recognize that we are in a North America-wide battle for the very future of our sport that will determine whether our kids and grandchildren can continue to go fishing.

“Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, American Sportfishing Association, International Game Fish Association, Coastal Conservation Association, Center for Coastal Conservation, National Marine Manufacturers Association, and The Billfish Foundation deserve the support and sincere thanks of everyone who cares about the future of fishing.  They are all dedicated, competent and the best professional representation we have in the halls of power where many of these issues will be decided. 

“As for the very few who take gratuitous cheap shots at the efforts of these fine organizations, they rightfully deserve our contempt.”


Internal Bickering Weakens Fight to Protect Recreational Fisheries

Yesterday I posted the Recreational Fishing Alliance’s (RFA) criticism of the Fishery Science Improvement Act, intended to stop unnecessary closures of our marine fisheries.

In rebuttal, Jeff Angers of the Center for Coastal Conservation (CCC) says this:

“It is easy to see why federal fisheries management is in the shape it is in.

“On one side of the debate is a completely obstinate environmental community that refuses to budge even an inch to address a train wreck in federal fisheries brought on by some provisions of the 2006 reauthorization of the Magnuson Stevens Act. On the other extreme is a recreational group (RFA) involved in a coalition of charter and commercial fishing entities that takes a wildly different view from the environmental community.

"In between and catching flak from both sides is a coalition of responsible fishing and boating groups working to find a way to address problems in federal fisheries management that doesn’t leave anglers at the dock, while remaining committed to conservation of our marine resources.”(Read the rest of his opinion piece here.)

And here’s my take: When I first started writing about saltwater access issues, I was shocked and dismayed to learn a split exists between the RFA faction on one side and the CCC and its allies on the other. In fact, the idea that those defending recreational fishing could be antagonists instead of allies just wouldn’t register in my mind at first.

A couple of years later, I still have a problem with that notion. I just don’t get it.

But, sadly, I accept that it exists. As someone who has been called both “a member of the DNC (Democratic National Committee) and “a hack for Bush,” I have come to realize that not everyone agrees --- even when they should. While my motivation always has been and always will be protection of our fisheries resources and our rights to access them, I have antagonized those on both sides, who care more about ideologies than they do about problem-solving.

The bottom line is that we’re going to lose more and more access to our ocean fisheries and, eventually, our inland fisheries as well, if we don’t work together to oppose the preservationists and their big-government allies who want to control every aspect of our lives.