Tag Archives: South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Charleston September  25-29, 2017

The public is invited to attend the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to be held at the Town & Country Inn, 2008 Savannah Highway, Charleston, S.C. Complete (revised) Agenda Click here for details Webinar Registration: Listen Live, Click here To visit the SAFMC click here 13:59

South Atlantic Red snapper season vote upcoming

The long push to reopen red snapper fishing off the Southeastern coast comes to a head Monday when the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will vote on one of five alternatives. Folks involved in recreational and charter fishing have advocated that the snapper stock is strong. Savannah charter fisherman Zack Bowen said at the fisheries council meeting on Jekyll Island in March, “The recreational anglers are mad as hell” about the fishery closure and charter operations are losing business because of unavailable snapper. Also, the regional fisheries administrator said at the March meeting that he thinks the population is in its best condition in 40 years. The preferred alternative is No. 4, which sets the commercial limit at 124,815 pounds and recreational limit at 29,656 fish. click here to read the story 09:49

Stop efforts to limit the number of charter and head boats — the first step toward for-hire catch shares!

This Wednesday, June 13th, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will again consider snapper-grouper for-hire limited entry at its meeting in Ponte Vedra, Florida, so it’s important to tell the SAFMC that you oppose limited entry as soon as possible. Please click here today to submit a comment — just a sentence or two will do. Limited entry will set up a “stock market” for permits, setting the stage for charter and head boat catch shares — privatizing access to the fishery –- something that will destroy jobs and hurt fishing communities.  click here to read the notice   click here to make E-public comment by noon, 6/15/2017 07:32

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach, June 12-16, 2017

The public is invited to attend the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to be held at the Sawgrass Marriott, 1ooo PGA Tour Boulevard, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082 . Click here for details Webinar Registration: Listen Live, Click here 19:05

Ed Killer: Can a protected fish be a nuisance?

Next week, in a hotel ballroom in Ponte Vedra Beach, there will be a lot of discussion about a controversial fish. Red snapper, a fish protected from harvest in federal waters since 2009, will be one of several species of fish evaluated during the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s quarterly meeting June 12-16. The Snapper Grouper advisory committee will convene Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss a variety of issues about some 80 species of fish they are charged with managing. Chief among the issues will be complaints from fishermen who claim the red snapper has risen to nuisance phase in its population numbers off Florida’s coast.,, But red snapper fishing in Florida is a little like Charles Dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities.” click here to read the article 14:45

A Brunswick County senator’s proposed resolution opposing catch-share fisheries management is drawing praise

In fisheries managed by catch shares, certain fishermen or companies are assigned individual limits for a given species during a season, a strategy the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says allows fishermen to make decisions based on market conditions and avoid hazardous weather conditions. Many North Carolina fishermen have expressed great concern about catch shares reaching their waters and are supporting Senate Bill 370. Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, introduced the bill, which would communicate to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, NOAA Fisheries and the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission that the Senate opposes catch share management off the N.C. coast. continue reading the story, click here 22:43

Council for Sustainable Fishing – Catch share fishery management in the South Atlantic is dead

Press Release – Thanks to you and many others, catch share fishery management in the South Atlantic is dead – at least for now. Yesterday at the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council public hearing in Jekyll Island, GA it was announced that the pilot snapper-grouper catch share Exempted Fishing Permit application had been withdrawn. This back-door attempt to begin the privatization of our fishery resources by insiders, sitting SAFMC members Charlie Phillips and Chris Conklin and former SAFMC member Jack Cox, all commercial snapper-grouper fleet owners and dealers, met overwhelming opposition from fishermen all across the region. By the time of the well-attended public hearing, there were a total of 616 comments on the catch share EFP through the SAFMC’s online comment form: 600 comments or 97 percent against and just 16 comments or 3 percent for. continue reading the press release here 07:36

NOAA Turns a Blind Eye – How manipulation and corruption are making a mockery of federal fisheries management

This question often comes up in discussions about the federal fisheries management process: Why are people who profit from the harvest and sale of America’s marine resources allowed to sit on management bodies that make regulations governing those resources? It’s a good question. The most contentious issue in the Gulf of Mexico is privatization of the red snapper fishery in which millions of dollars’ worth of a public resource was gifted to select commercial operators to harvest for their own personal profit. Gifted, for free. Yet, someone who owns red snapper shares can sit on the Gulf Council and vote on every aspect of that fishery. And one does. Over the past few years, certain members of the charter/for-hire sector have worked to launch a privatization program in which they, too, could own shares and use red snapper as their own. Yet, on the Gulf Council, people who own charter businesses and stand to directly benefit from the program are never required to recuse themselves from votes on that program. continue reading the article here 08:24

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council may hike overall lobster harvest

Federal fishery managers meeting this week in Georgia hear proposals to raise the annual limit on spiny lobster harvests, the Florida Keys’ most economically important commercial species. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meets from Monday through Friday at the Westin resort in Jekyll Island, Ga. Permit limits in the for-hire (charter) sector in the snapper-grouper fishery also are up for discussion. The council is considering raising the annual catch numbers of spiny lobster because fishers contend that the number were based on yearly averages that include some of the worst lobster seasons on record. Twice in recent years, the harvests have exceeded the current catch limit of 7.3 million pounds. A legal sized spiny lobster weighs about 1 pound. During the bad seasons, “the historic low level of landings that were documented for the species [suggested] biological conditions had changed and that spiny lobster populations were at a new low normal,” says council staff summary. “Since landings have been much higher than anticipated, the review panel… determined that conditions for spiny lobster are likely better than they were during the 10-year period of low landings.” continue reading the story here 14:19

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Jekyll Island, GA March 6-10, 2017

The public is invited to attend the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to be held at The Westin Jekyll Island, 110 Ocean Way, Jekyll Island, GA 31527, USA. Click here for details Webinar Registration: Listen Live, Click here 14:00

South Atlantic Catch Share plan will eliminate over 60 percent of the commercial snapper-grouper fishermen

Just a quick reminder that we need your help today to stop the “pilot” commercial snapper-grouper catch share program being proposed by two South Atlantic Fishery Management Council members: Vice Chair Charlie Phillips and Chris Conklin, both commercial snapper-grouper fleet owners and dealers. Incredibly, Chris, in a recent email about this pilot program that was publicly posted on a fishing forum, effectively said he wants to get rid of over 60 percent of commercial snapper-grouper fishermen, who he calls “part timers,” so the big snapper-grouper players will benefit. Most full time career commercial and for-hire fishermen in the South Atlantic make a living by participating in multiple fisheries, so they could be considered part timers in many fisheries. But they are full time career fishermen, of which snapper-grouper is just one vital income source. Read the article here 11:50

Coral plan threatens fishing grounds

 The NEFMC is working with the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to preserve deep-sea corals from the Canadian border to Virginia. Area lobstermen could lose valuable fishing grounds if a federal proposal to close four areas of Gulf of Maine waters comes to fruition. The New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) has drafted a plan that would close a span of 161 square miles offshore to commercial fishing in an effort to conserve deep-sea coral there. Two of those areas, Mount Desert Rock in Lobster Management Zone B and Outer Schoodic Ridge in Lobster Management Zone A, are preferred fishing grounds for local fishermen when lobster head further offshore in the winter. The other proposed offshore closure areas lie in Jordan Basin and Lindenkohl Knoll to the south.  Read the story here 09:34

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council not listening to fishermen

csf-logoDo you think fishery managers listen to fishermen? After last week’s South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting you have to wonder. A proposal to limit the number of charter and head boats that could fish in the South Atlantic was met with overwhelming opposition by fishermen. There were 169 written comments against the proposal and just 3 for it. Click here to see the comments. Yet, the SAFMC didn’t listen to fishermen and kill the proposal. Instead it voted 9 to 3 to develop a “white paper” to continue to explore charter and head boat limited entry options for the snapper-grouper fishery. Read the rest here 14:07

Don’t bite on risky lure of ‘catch shares’

wolf-in-sheeps-clothing-scaled500-e1371562470325I can’t think of a more appropriate saying to use than “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” to describe the reality of what the Seafood Harvesters of America want to do with our offshore fisheries. The Post and Courier recently published an article and editorial that bought into the sheep’s clothing side. Year-round fishing and better fisheries data are touted. Who could be against that? But there’s a wolf: privatization of our fisheries through a scheme called “catch shares,” where fishermen and corporations are actually given ownership of our fisheries with shares that can be bought or sold like stock on Wall Street.  That’s the real reason for the Seafood Harvesters of America’s existence. They’re working hard to ensure commercial fishermen own our fisheries, and in this case it’s our snapper and grouper, starting with a pilot program that could be considered by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries next year. Read the op-ed here 08:02

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Atlantic Beach NC December 5 – 9, 2016

south-atlantic-fishery-management-council-logoThe public is invited to attend the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to be held in Atlantic Beach NC at the DoubleTree by Hilton Atlantic Beach Oceanfront. Read the Meeting Agenda Click here, Briefing Book – June 2016 Council Meeting Click here Webinar Registration: Listen Live, Click here  15:10

Better science and data, not catch shares

csf logoWith the exception of three mini-seasons (2012-2014) the red snapper fishery in the South Atlantic has been effectively closed for over six years. By most accounts from fishermen, red snapper are very plentiful – they are routinely encountered while fishermen target other species and divers report large schools. Yet, the stock assessment presented to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council in June says that red snapper are still overfished and that overfishing is still occurring. This despite a lot of uncertainty about the data used in the assessment. Give the SAFMC credit for not accepting the assessment and asking its Scientific and Statistical Committee to reexamine the assessment and stock status determination this fall. The ongoing saga of the red snapper fishery highlights the fact that stock assessments can be flawed because of the lack of good biological and historical abundance information. In other words, much better science and data on our fisheries is needed. Instead of devoting adequate financial resources into stock assessments, NOAA has spent about $160 million over the last six years pushing its National Catch Share Policy in an effort to privatize fisheries. Studies have shown that catch share programs hurt fishing communities by destroying jobs and don’t provide any biological benefit to fisheries. 10:36

U.S. Rep. Walter Jones and other congressmen want South Atlantic red snapper fishery reopened

Congressman JonesThe representatives said data produced by a Florida research institution shows the South Atlantic red snapper stock is healthier than what federal data indicates so the fishery should be reopened to commercial and recreational fishing. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries program, announced the South Atlantic red snapper season is closed this year because the total number of red snapper removed from the population in 2015 exceeded the allowable level, according to the NOAA Fisheries website. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, a subsidiary of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, has data that shows the red snapper stock is healthier than the federal data indicates. “Unfortunately, reports indicate these data are not being considered as ‘best available science’ and, therefore, are at risk of being excluded from the (South Atlantic Fishery Management) Council’s deliberations,” Jones and his colleagues said in a letter to NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan. Read the rest here  09:26

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting June 13-17, 2016 Cocoa Beach FL

SAFMC SidebarThe public is invited to attend the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to be held in Cocoa Beach FL at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront . Read the Meeting Agenda Click here, Briefing Book – June 2016 Council Meeting Click here Webinar Registration: Listen Live, Click here  Additional info, click here  22:54

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

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council propose changes to Yellowtail Snapper fishery

yellowtail-snapper-side_mediumThe change comes following requests from a group of Florida Keys fishermen, as yellowtail snapper are primarily harvested in the Keys.  The commercial yellowtail fishery was closed in October in 2014, after National Marine Fisheries Service projected the fishery would meet its annual catch limit of 1.6 million pounds. The fishermen want the season to end in July when there is less fishing pressure and the fish are spawning, said Bill Kelly, executive for the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association.  “The closure should occur when prices are at their lowest and demand is at its lowest,” Kelly said. “Also, the season should be closed when the fish is spawning.” In addition, commercial fishermen have lobbied to reallocate some of the recreational catch to the commercial side, as the recreational side has only caught a little more than half of its 1.4 million pound annual limit, according to federal fishery managers. Read the rest here 08:40

South Atlantic: Move surfaces to overhaul red snapper restrictions, limits

redsnapperFollowing the recent announcement that anglers will continue to be prohibited from keeping red snapper in the Atlantic Ocean this year, a member of the regional council that oversees fishing in the Southeast’s federal waters wants to overhaul how the species is regulated. Ben Hartig, a commercial fisherman from Hobe Sound, sent a letter last week to members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council that said current regulations are based on unreliable information about the red snapper population and number of fish caught. Hartig proposed a range of possible changes to the years-long, controversial plan in place to help increase the species’ numbers that, if pursued by the council, could go into place as early as 2018. Read the rest here 10:24

Part of the bottom of the fabled Georgetown Hole will be closed to fishing by 2017

AR-160319858The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved in a final vote Friday to close off 3.1 square miles of the offshore fishing mecca, after looking at options as varied as closing off 15 square miles to not closing the Hole at all. Trolling, or fishing off the bottom would still be allowed. The move would reserve the acreage as a marine spawning sanctuary to help restore the lost stock, particularly those huge brood stock “trophy fish” that are rarely, if ever, caught today. Council also voted to close two artificial reef areas totaling about 6 square miles. Read the rest here 12:06

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting , March 7-11, 2016, Jekyll Island, GA

The public is invited to attend the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to be held in Jekyll Island, GA, at the Westin Jekyll Island. Read the Meeting Agenda Click here, Briefing Book – September 2015 Council Meeting Click here Webinar Registration: Listen Live, Click here  19:44

Federal and state fishery managers busy with half a dozen hearings, meetings in the Keys in February

A frenetic February features several fishery forums in the . The status of mutton snapper, barracuda, hogfish, mackerel and sea anemones will be reviewed for public comment at a slate of six Keys sessions hosted by state and federal fish-management agencies. A recommended reduction in mutton snapper harvests will be a prime topic at two sessions, held jointly by the federal South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Rule changes may affect both state and federal waters. Read the article here 13:06

New rules for dolphin proposed

A federal fishery council has approved a rule that could keep the open so that by the time the migrating fish makes its way to the Florida Keys, the commercial fishery will not be closed. The National Marine Fisheries Service closed down the commercial dolphin fishery in July, the height of dolphin fishing in the Keys. For the past two years, fishermen off North and South Carolina, who generally fish for tuna, have targeted dolphin heavily and the annual commercial allocation has been near run out by the time Keys fishermen start fishing for dolphin. Read the article here 15:15

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Meeting December 7-11, 2015 in Atlantic Beach, NC .

SAFMC SidebarThe public is invited to attend the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to be held in Atlantic Beach, NC . Read the Meeting Agenda Click here, Briefing Book – September 2015 Council Meeting Click here Webinar Registration: Listen Live, Click here  12:35

Florida Keys commercial fishermen critical of proposed dolphin changes

The head of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association contends that a proposed increase to the dolphin fish allocation to the commercial fishing sector does not go far enough. Kelly proposed federal fishery managers increase the commercial catch in 5, 10 or 20 percent increases a year, depending on how much the recreational side of the fishery harvests the previous year, he said. The South Atlantic and could look at the harvest data each year and make adjustments. Read the rest here 08:17

Rep. Stephen Goldfinch correct to oppose closing more offshore areas to fishing

Our thanks to state Rep. Stephen Goldfinch for opposing more closed fishing areas in the South Atlantic and particularly off the Grand Strand at the famed Georgetown Hole. Goldfinch’s opposition is based on the facts: these proposed spawning Special Management Zones are not part of any fishery rebuilding plan and duplicate 700 square miles of existing no-fishing Marine Protected Areas (170 square miles are off South Carolina’s coast) that were put in place for the same purpose. Read the rest here 11:36

Keys commercial fishermen hurting from mahi mahi limit

Florida Keys commercial fishermen last week renewed their appeal to federal fishery managers to allow more harvests. The commercial fishery for dolphin, an offshore fish also known as mahi mahi, closed June 30 when the annual catch limit of 1.57 million pounds was reached. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council met all last week in South Carolina. Kelly traveled up to testify. “They’re leaving millions of pounds of a highly sustainable fishery on the table,” said Bill Kelly, director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association. Read the rest here 10:49

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Meeting – Hilton Head, South Carolina. Listen Live

SAFMC SidebarThe public is invited to attend the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to be held in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Read the Meeting Agenda Click here, Briefing Book – September 2015 Council Meeting Click here Webinar Registration: Listen Live, Click here  07:32