Gulf fishing authority says red-snapper fix is easy
By Todd Masson, nola.com
Dr. Bob Shipp is THE authority on Gulf of Mexico red snapper. He recently retired after serving the last 20 years as chairman of the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of South Alabama, and he also served two nine-year stints on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, the board responsible for making recommendations to NOAA Fisheries about how federal Gulf fisheries are to be managed. During his time on the council, Shipp served as chairman on three separate occasions.
A New Orleans native -- he graduated from Jesuit High School in 1960 -- Shipp is the author of Dr. Bob Shipp's Guide to Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico, the authoritative resource for anglers from the Rio Grande to Key West.
In an interview with NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, Shipp laid out the problems with the way red snapper are managed and what the solutions are.
CCA Comments on Amendment 40
CCA released their comments on Amendment 40. Click here for the latest
Chaos reigns at Gulf Council - Gulf Council’s own Red Snapper Advisory Panel rejects sector separation
TAMPA, FL (7-30-14) – Even as the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council fast-tracks a highly controversial plan to break the recreational red snapper fishery into private boat anglers and charter/for-hire operators, the Council’s own Red Snapper Advisory Panel voted today to reject the concept entirely.
The Advisory Panel’s recommendations are non-binding and it remains uncertain what impact, if any, the panel’s decision will ultimately have on the Gulf Council’s deliberations. The vote by a panel comprised of three charter/for-hire representatives, four private recreational anglers, two commercial fishermen, one representative of the Environmental Defense Fund and one academic would seem to signal that the concept of sector separation needs much greater scrutiny, even as public hearings are set to kick off next week on Amendment 40 – Sector Separation.
“It seems clear that there are forces at work here trying to ram this separation scheme through the process as fast as possible to take advantage of all the confusion and frustration over federal management of red snapper,” said Bill Bird, chairman of Coastal Conservation Association’s National Government Relations Committee. “The Council spent the last 18 months on an amendment to reallocate the red snapper fishery between the commercial and recreational sectors, and then decided rather suddenly to shelve it. Then they fast-tracked this amendment to create a whole new sector in just a few weeks, but their own advisory panel doesn’t support it. This is just pure chaos.”
Take a Stand against Amendment 40 on August 18th in Baton Rouge
If Amendment 40 passes, it is likely that up to 75 percent of the entire Gulf red snapper fishery will be privately held, for private profit.
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has scheduled a series of public hearings over the next few weeks on a dangerous privatization scheme for Gulf red snapper. The next meeting in the Baton Rouge area will be on August 18th at 6PM at the Hyatt Place Baton Rouge Hotel.
Reef Fish Amendment 40 - Sector Separation proposes to separate charter/for-hire businesses from the recreational sector and give personalized allotments of red snapper to use as their own.
The concept has been cast as a reasonable response to a broken federal management system, but it is a perilous development for recreational angling as it represents a huge step in the privatization of our fisheries.
Saltwater Fishing License Increase Offers Host of Benefits to Louisiana Recreational Anglers
July 16, 2014 - For the first time in 14 years, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will increase its license fees for recreational, saltwater fishing from $15.00 to $22.50 on August 1. The increase places Louisiana firmly in the middle of saltwater license fees among Gulf States. The Department expects to generate an additional $2.25 million annually, which will be used to fund the agency’s LA Creel program.
LDWF recognized the shortcomings of the federally established Marine Recreational Information Program to provide the best available data to fisheries managers and began collecting their own recreational statistics through a new data collection program called LA Creel.
Since federal officials do not recognize LA Creel as MRIP compatible, over half a million dollars typically used to fund recreational surveying in Louisiana was pulled, leaving the Department responsible for the financial burden of data collection. The Department recognized that it was unable to adequately fund a high quality, precise recreational survey for the long term and sought angler support to fund the survey through a license fee increase.
A Brave New World
Posted on July 14, 2014 - by CCA National
Imagine a Gulf coast where recreational anglers suddenly saw a catch share initiative created for a few coastal fishing guides. Certain (not all) guides would be able to have a determined portion of a fishery and could sell opportunities to go fish for red drum…even if the fishery had been closed to the general private recreational angler. It is hard to think that recreational anglers who fought so hard to restore redfish stocks from the perils of gillnets, purse seines and the blackened redfish craze would now have a significant portion of the fishery given away to a handful of guides. Sound far-fetched?
The Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery is already in this brave new world of fisheries management. It is a fishery that could be almost completely privatized as soon as the end of this year and be held from that point forward by commercial fishing and private charter businesses using this public resource for profit. It is very likely, as soon as next season, private boat owners will not be allowed to venture into federal waters to catch a red snapper and bring it home.
You will be allowed to hire a for-hire operator that owns red snapper quota, pay them to take you fishing and buy one of their fish. You will be allowed to buy a filet in the grocery store for $20-plus a pound. But you won’t be allowed to enjoy a strongly rebuilt stock.
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- CCA Comments on Amendment 40
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