Catch share threat is back

As we enter 2017, the biggest threat to commercial and recreational fishermen in the South Atlantic is back: private ownership of the snapper-grouper fishery through a catch share program. Fishery stakeholders have year after year overwhelmingly rejected any form of catch shares. Most recently, 97 percent of the comments on the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s long-range snapper-grouper management plan opposed catch shares — a plan the council promised would be “stakeholder-driven.” Yet, SAFMC Vice Chair Charlie Phillips has revealed that he, SAFMC member Chris Conklin and former SAFMC member Jack Cox, all commercial snapper-grouper fleet owners and dealers, are leading an effort to get a voluntary “pilot” catch share program in place this year using an “Exempted Fishing Permit,” which is a back door way to avoid the normal fishery regulation approval process. In a recent article in the Charleston, SC Post & Courier, Vice Chair Phillips touts that the permit would allow them to catch all year.” The article also reveals that the Seafood Harvesters of America, which has been funded with over $300,000 from the radical Environmental Defense Fund, is supporting the EFP application. The Seafood Harvesters represent some of the biggest catch share owners in the nation. Read the post here  11:06