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Entries in RFA (7)


ASA, RFA Oppose 'Sector Separation' for Red Snapper Fishery

Not surprisingly, the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) also are critical of Amendment 40, which created “sector separation” in the recreational segment of the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery. (For more about this issue, see post below this one.) 

From ASA:

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is strongly opposed to sector separation and is deeply troubled that this poorly conceived and detrimental plan was passed by the Gulf Council.

In its 2013 position paper on sector separation, ASA urged federal fishery managers to remove saltwater recreational sector separation from all management plan discussions. ASA believes that sector separation will create serious conflicts between private anglers and charter/for-hire captains, and further diminish recreational fishing opportunities for red snapper.

“While we understand the charter/for-hire position, we in the tackle industry don’t see Amendment 40 as being in the best interests of the entire recreational fishing community,” said Gary Zurn, Big Rock Sports SVP Industry Relations. “The economic impacts of sector separation have not been clearly determined, but we know it will have a significant financial impact on the coastal communities and businesses throughout the Gulf region that support recreational fishing.”

From RFA:

President Obama has made it very clear that his "policies are on the ballot" in Tuesday's election - coastal fishermen should understand by now that those policies include blanket marine reserves, privatized fish stock, recreational catch shares, and sector separation.

Despite heavy opposition from individual saltwater anglers, local tackle shops, marinas, most of the for-hire sector captains in the United States, tackle shops, the governors of the coastal states and nearly every standing member of the U.S. Congress, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council) voted to divide the recreational fishing community into pieces over the next three years.

In a 10-7 vote, the appointed fisheries managers, led by NOAA Fisheries' regional administrator Dr. Roy Crabtree, approved a proposal to split the Gulf recreational red snapper fishery between charter/for hire anglers and private recreational anglers. The so-called "sector separation" measure approved by the Gulf Council will take the entire recreational quota of red snapper and split it into pieces, with the for-hire sector getting their own share of the quota and private individual anglers getting the rest.

Strangely of course, the recreational for-hire sector caters to individual anglers who book charters or climb aboard head boats to fish for red snapper, making the entire sector separation debate more about divisiveness and less about fixing the problems with federal fisheries management. The new proposal essentially privatizes more of the red snapper stock by stealing open public access away from anglers.


Join the Fight with RFA and Get Chance to Win Costa Rica Trip

Costa Rica salifsh goes aerial. Photo copyright Robert Montgomery

You have a few more days to join the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) and be entered into a random drawing to win a fishing trip for two to Zancudo Lodge in Costa Rica.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, RFA is the loud, rowdy guy in the room when the discussion is the loss of our rights to fish. “Compromise” generally is not in its vocabulary.

Recently, Dr. Jane Lubchenco of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ---  and Public Enemy No. 1 when it comes to endangering our rights to fish --- asked Congress for additional funding for Catch Shares, a federal scheme that would limit access, while allowing a few to profit from a public resource.

In response, RFA Executive Director Jim Donofrio said this:

"By commoditizing a public resource and placing share distinctions on individual fishes, what the catch share policy would do is give big corporations and wealthy non-profit groups the ability to buy up all the harvest for themselves, leaving individual anglers and coastal communities standing at the dock with nothing.

 "This whole orchestrated effort by Dr. Lubchenco and her friends at Environmental Defense Fund is nothing more than a resource grab which will destroy our marine industry and take away access for millions of Americans.

"I can't fathom how Dr. Lubchenco can claim to support best available science when her Administration is asking Congress for money, not to improve stock assessments and data collection, but for coastal sharecropping schemes which will destroy our mom and pop businesses along the coast.”

So . . . want to support RFA in the fight? If so, join today, while you still can be entered in the Costa Rica contest.

Here’s what RFA says about the three-day trip:

“Located along the scenic Pacific Coast of Costa Rica on the bay of Golfo Dulce, just 4 miles from Golfito, the Zancudo Lodge is a world-class destination for anglers looking to hook up marlin, sails, dorado, tuna, roosterfish, snapper, giant jacks, trevally, and many others.”


Red Snapper Fishery Closed as Feds Continue to Use Flawed Data

The recreational season for red snapper in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico is now closed. And the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council says this restriction “was established to limit the harvest of red snapper in the Gulf and help rebuild overfished stocks so that anglers can enjoy better red snapper fishing in the future.”

But the Recreational Fishing Alliance points out that the red snapper was officially delisted as an overfished stock in 2009, and charges that “anglers have been rewarded with a measly 48-day season in 2011, the shortest season on record for red snapper fishery, with a June 1 start date.”

RFA Executive Director Jim Donofrio adds:

"Accountability measures and rigid annual catch limits coupled with a broken recreational data collection system have made this idealized goal of fisheries management completely unattainable, and until significant reforms can be made to the federal fisheries law, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is being disingenuous by continuing to make statements about our future.”

 RFA says fishermen have been pleading with NOAA for additional leeway and management flexibility ever since the federal fisheries law (Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act) was reauthorized by Congress in 2007.

"Rigid timelines and annual catch limits based on flawed harvest data have been devastating to our recreational fishing industry, and America's anglers are growing frustrated by the lack of response from the federal fisheries service," Donofrio continues. "We've had enough moratoriums on angler access. What we need right now is improved data collection methodologies as required by law."

An attempt to fix the problem was introduced into Congress in June as the Fishery Science Improvement Act, according to the American Sportfishing Association.

“The sportfishing community is facing an unacceptable situation in which arbitrary deadlines are being allowed to trump the essential need for science-based management of our marine resources. We are grateful to Mr. Wittman (Rep. Rob Wittman of Virginia) and his colleagues for identifying the problem we have in federal saltwater fisheries and taking action on this issue,” says Jeff Crane of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.


Safeway Chain No Friend of Recreational Anglers

Its intentions might be good, but Safeway, one of the nation’s largest supermarket chains, is making a big mistake by endorsing California’s Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA).

In doing so, it is alienating millions of recreational anglers. That action also has prompted the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) to call for a boycott of Safeway.

Following a philosophical agenda instead of science, anti-fishing activists and their political allies are using the MLPA like a club to close California waters to recreational fishing. Their motivation has nothing to do with creating sustainable fisheries. They are all about hands-off preservation instead of stewardship and conservation.

"If Safeway is betting that the saltwater anglers of America will continue shopping at their stores while they arbitrarily cut off our public access to our public resources they are greatly mistaken," said Jim Martin, West Coast regional director of the RFA. "In California, we already know how this ends up, and it's time to educate anglers about corporations like Safeway that steal our fishing heritage through their support of an anti-fisherman agenda."

To learn more, go here, and to download a letter to sign and send to Safeway expressing your support for the Stay Away from Safeway campaign, go here.


Your Right to Fish at Stake as Catch Shares Battle Heats Up

A battle over the right to fish is being waged in Washington, D.C., according to the Recreational Fishing Alliance.

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and its allies in the Obama administration are on one side. Led by Dr. Jane Lubchenco, they are pressuring Congress to endorse a Catch Shares strategy to manage the ocean’s fisheries.

Fisheries advocates are fighting back.

As presented now, this allocation system would apply only to commercial and mixed (commercial and recreational) fisheries, with recreational only fisheries exempt from this big-government takeover. But many who have watched the feds use Magnuson-Stevens to close fisheries and create a National Ocean Council to dictate where you can and cannot fish, doubt the trustworthiness of those who are pushing this preservationist agenda.