Lobster-trap report draws ire from Florida Keys commercial lobster fishermen

Spiny lobsterFlorida Keys commercial lobster fishermen bristled at a report on traps in protected marine areas being presented at this week’s South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting. The report on small no-trapping areas created to safeguard spots with branching elkhorn or staghorn corals is scheduled for a Spiny Lobster Committee meeting at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Cocoa Beach. “We worked [with fishery regulators] to develop these 60 coral protection areas,” said Ernie Piton, president of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association. “We even proposed more than they asked for.” Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission surveys at selected coral protection zones in 2014 and 2015 logged traps and parts of traps spotted in the zones, most of which are unmarked by warning buoys and do not appear on most nautical charts. “Some of the older gentlemen in our industry have been doing this 30 or 40 years and they don’t use GPS; they go by sight,” Piton said. Read the rest here 09:36