Will SAFMC open oculina coral reef to shrimp trawling? Environmentalists oppose plan

Will an area of ocean bottom offshore of Florida’s Atlantic coast soon be reopened to shrimp fishers? That’s what’s expected to be decided Thursday during a meeting of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Habitat Protection and Ecosystem Based Management Committee. They will vote on a motion to open a 22-square-mile area of sea floor about 20 miles offshore of St. Lucie, Indian River and Brevard counties. The area is believed to be an area where rock shrimp, and several other varieties of shrimp, can be harvested for sale in Florida seafood markets and restaurants.  Commercial fishers say the area, closed to shrimp trawling since 2014, is ripe for productive fishing. Conservationists disagree, saying the area needs to remain closed to protect the slow-growing deepwater oculina coral from fishing practices that could harm the coral. more, >>click to read<< 14:25

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