Gulf States Unveil Solution to Red Snapper Management

13

Replies

  • BubbaIIBubbaII Posts: 328 Deckhand
    Tom Hilton wrote: »
    That's because juvenile snapper have an extremely high natural mortality rate, so even if they escaped the shrimp trawl, there was an extremely high probability that they would be eaten anyway. That's nothing new. That's why artificial reefs play such an important role in increasing red snapper numbers; Reef zones become de facto "no trawl" areas due to obvious reasons, and the structures provide haven for juveniles to escape predation and increase their survival rate. So, the juvenile red snapper, shrimp, crabs, flounder, etc. that would have died as shrimp trawl bycatch are allowed to thrive and the structures help them keep them from being eaten.

    A win-win for the red snapper and other species as the ecosystem is built from the bottom up.

    Capt. Tom........ think about it. How long would an age zero red snapper survive on a reef? The artificial reef experts even recommend putting out small (for smaller fish) and large (for larger fish) reefs. That's why they live on the mud flats; less predators.

    Your reference to shrimp, crab and flounder make no sense. Shrimp and crab develop in the bays and estuaries and migrate offshore as they mature. Reefs provide them nothing; they don't hang on reefs.

    Same for flounder. Flounder don't really occur in federal waters; not recreationally important flounder. They have snatch flaps and those little soles (can't remember the slang name anymore; the ones that just stick to the deck; common name is lined sole)....... not targetable flounder.
  • Tom HiltonTom Hilton Posts: 1,572 Captain
    Different reef designs serve different purposes - low relief reefs such as oyster shell are ideal for 0-1 year old juvenile snapper. The higher relief structures are for 2 years and older snapper. Shrimpers don't like to drag over shell.

    Obviously you haven't been on a shrimp boat offshore of Texas or even gotten buckets of chum from same shrimpers. Tons of small flounder, squid, crabs, juvenile snapper and of course shrimp since they all prefer the same type of mud bottom. And I am talking about economically important species of flounder such as Southern Flounder. You should see all of the adult flounder on the bottom inside the legs of an oil platform several miles offshore - they are there as I have seen them myself and I have caught them myself.

    BubbaII - you need to spruce up your reading comprehension skills - never claimed that shrimp, crabs, flounder hang on reefs - I said that reefing areas create de facto "no trawl zones" due to obvious reasons (shrimpers don't like snagging a 4 ton reef in their nets). The reefing areas are not comprised of 100% coverage of reefs - the actual reefs cover maybe 1% of the area of a reef zone. The existing mud flats, shell, live bottom, and other natural structure are undisturbed and is where the flounder, crabs, shrimp would thrive due to the lack of trawling - not due to the benefits of an artificial reef itself.

    I have worked extensively with **** Stone, the author of the National Artificial Reefing Plan, and he knows what he is talking about. Ideally, the best scenario involves a variety of reefs working in concert with each other - patch reefs, undisturbed mud, shell, pyramids placed in coordination with each other.

    BubbaII wrote: »
    Capt. Tom........ think about it. How long would an age zero red snapper survive on a reef? The artificial reef experts even recommend putting out small (for smaller fish) and large (for larger fish) reefs. That's why they live on the mud flats; less predators.

    Your reference to shrimp, crab and flounder make no sense. Shrimp and crab develop in the bays and estuaries and migrate offshore as they mature. Reefs provide them nothing; they don't hang on reefs.

    Same for flounder. Flounder don't really occur in federal waters; not recreationally important flounder. They have snatch flaps and those little soles (can't remember the slang name anymore; the ones that just stick to the deck; common name is lined sole)....... not targetable flounder.
  • HuckleberryHuckleberry Posts: 180 Officer
    harbison wrote: »
    :nono Not all charter boat owners are for sector separation. As an example, Captain Mark Hubbard, owner of Hubbard's Marina, owns and operates two charter boats & two head boats. Captain Hubbard is strongly against Sector Separation. He has been fighting it for years. Mark says that even though it may be good for his business; it's not good for fishing. Many see Separation as a divide & conquer scheme orchestrated by the EDF.


    So Harbison I would like to know. You need to ask him and get back to us. If Sector Separation passes and your Captain Hubbard gets more days this year to Snapper fish will he take the additional days or will be put his money where his mouth is and just fish the Recreational Federal season? I would love to know this answer because there are a bunch of CFH that has been against Sector Separation but has already put on there web sites what the proposed season will be. Kinda funny huh? Oh I am against this but hey look this is good for my business and I will take full advantage of what I have been against. Please get back to us with the results of the question.
  • BubbaIIBubbaII Posts: 328 Deckhand
    Tom Hilton wrote: »
    Obviously you haven't been on a shrimp boat offshore of Texas or even gotten buckets of chum from same shrimpers.

    And I am talking about economically important species of flounder such as Southern Flounder. You should see all of the adult flounder on the bottom inside the legs of an oil platform several miles offshore - they are there as I have seen them myself and I have caught them myself.

    Oh yes, unfortunately, I've way more time on western Gulf shrimp boats than I care to remember. I worked as an observer back during the big congressionally funded bycatch study that led to BRDs. I just looked thru an old report that some of my offshore effort helped to create. Southern flounder occurred in less than 10% of all Gulf trawls sampled over a 6 yr period, and most of those occurrences were in shallower water trips. They occurred in about 50% of the South Atlantic trawls sampled - because most of that fishery is conducted in state (shallow) waters.

    You may be confused by some other small flounder that exist offshore and get caught commonly in shrimp trawls. They sort of look like juvenile southern flounder, but they are adults of other species. Southern flounder juveniles are inshore, grow up in bays and nearshore, then migrate offshore as it gets cold (ie. they're too big to be eaten easily). That you see adults on reefs/rigs offshore does not surprise me either. But reefing areas aren't a major saving feature for southern flounder. Oh, and by the way, I used Dr. Bob Shipp's book as one of my references for this paragraph.
  • markw4321markw4321 Posts: 171 Officer
    BubbaII wrote: »
    Oh yes, unfortunately, I've way more time on western Gulf shrimp boats than I care to remember. I worked as an observer back during the big congressionally funded bycatch study that led to BRDs. I just looked thru an old report that some of my offshore effort helped to create. Southern flounder occurred in less than 10% of all Gulf trawls sampled over a 6 yr period, and most of those occurrences were in shallower water trips. They occurred in about 50% of the South Atlantic trawls sampled - because most of that fishery is conducted in state (shallow) waters.



    You may be confused by some other small flounder that exist offshore and get caught commonly in shrimp trawls. They sort of look like juvenile southern flounder, but they are adults of other species. Southern flounder juveniles are inshore, grow up in bays and nearshore, then migrate offshore as it gets cold (ie. they're too big to be eaten easily). That you see adults on reefs/rigs offshore does not surprise me either. But reefing areas aren't a major saving feature for southern flounder. Oh, and by the way, I used Dr. Bob Shipp's book as one of my references for this paragraph.

    **** you are an equivocating blowhard. In this post you state southern flounder migrate offshore and in the one above you state they don't exist in federal waters. I'm starting to believe you readily did work for noaa/nfs. You sure you aren't Roy Crabtree trying to get some stress out?
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 8,466 Admiral
    markw4321 wrote: »
    **** you are an equivocating blowhard. In this post you state southern flounder migrate offshore and in the one above you state they don't exist in federal waters. I'm starting to believe you readily did work for noaa/nfs. You sure you aren't Roy Crabtree trying to get some stress out?
    No, he said the smaller flounder caught in trawls look like southern flounder but aren't, while the larger flounder caught around the reef/rigs by anglers/spearfishers are the southern flounder that have migrated offshore as they have GROWN.

    EZPZ
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 8,466 Admiral
    Some posts are missing....amigo
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • Tom HiltonTom Hilton Posts: 1,572 Captain
    BubbaII wrote: »
    Oh yes, unfortunately, I've way more time on western Gulf shrimp boats than I care to remember. I worked as an observer back during the big congressionally funded bycatch study that led to BRDs. I just looked thru an old report that some of my offshore effort helped to create. Southern flounder occurred in less than 10% of all Gulf trawls sampled over a 6 yr period, and most of those occurrences were in shallower water trips. They occurred in about 50% of the South Atlantic trawls sampled - because most of that fishery is conducted in state (shallow) waters.

    You may be confused by some other small flounder that exist offshore and get caught commonly in shrimp trawls. They sort of look like juvenile southern flounder, but they are adults of other species. Southern flounder juveniles are inshore, grow up in bays and nearshore, then migrate offshore as it gets cold (ie. they're too big to be eaten easily). That you see adults on reefs/rigs offshore does not surprise me either. But reefing areas aren't a major saving feature for southern flounder. Oh, and by the way, I used Dr. Bob Shipp's book as one of my references for this paragraph.

    Also have caught plenty of MATURE southern flounder in shrimp trawls offshore - pretty common occurrence really. Grew up shrimping and it was always a welcome added bonus to find an eating-sized flounder in the net.

    Once again, since your reading comprehension skills need some work - reefing zones provide de facto "no trawl" zones, and the juvenile snapper, crabs, squid, flounder, etc. that would have died as bycatch survive. This combined with structures specifically designed to help them keep from being eaten results in a win-win for building ecosystems from the ground up. Nowhere did I single out flounder alone as the benefits of reefing zones or the reasons for having reefs, Amigo.
  • markw4321markw4321 Posts: 171 Officer
    BubbaII wrote: »

    Same for flounder. Flounder don't really occur in federal waters; not recreationally important flounder. They have snatch flaps and those little soles (can't remember the slang name anymore; the ones that just stick to the deck; common name is lined sole)....... not targetable flounder.

    Many people target flounder offshore recreationally during the winter when the flounder migrate out of the bays and estuaries. They target them on artificial reefs and natural bottom.
  • Tom HiltonTom Hilton Posts: 1,572 Captain
    BubbaII wrote: »
    But the Council/NMFS can't manage what isn't in their FMP. If ALL red snapper regs are removed from the FMP, then the IFQ is removed to. Ergo, the statement that the IFQ would be managed for 3 more years is in conflict with what you quoted. What aren't you understanding here?

    At the end of 3 years, I believe a good avenue to take would be to relinquish all IFQ shares and require the commercial fishermen to lease the shares from the state governments for $1/pound which is way cheaper than the current lease price of $3.25/pound. (The practice of leasing shares between participants would be outlawed since all leasing would be through the states). This would provide many benefits; 1) it would provide funding to the states to monitor/enforce the program, which is currently being subsidized by the US taxpayers for some reason 2) it would allow new entrants to enter into the fishery without having to pay a commercial corporation $35/pound for the right to fish commercially for red snapper, 3) based on a 7 million pound commercial TAC, that would provide $7,000,000 PER YEAR to the Gulf states (less expenses for monitoring enforcement) so that the nation ACTUALLY RECEIVES compensation for the harvest of our Public Trust Resource, (or those monies could be put into the fishery enhancing habitat, better data collection, etc.) Either way, the nation and the fishery would actually benefit from the commercial harvest of the fish - not just some fat cats collecting mailbox money harvesting/leasing what we ALL own.
  • CountryBumpkinCountryBumpkin Fla. Piney WoodsPosts: 1,277 Officer
    BubbaII wrote: »
    Same for flounder. Flounder don't really occur in federal waters; not recreationally important flounder. They have snatch flaps and those little soles (can't remember the slang name anymore; the ones that just stick to the deck; common name is lined sole)....... not targetable flounder.

    You told us you picked the screen name BubbaII because you presumed the regulars who posted here would not agree with someone with your "Academia" and fisheries background, and many would consider your views that of an idiot.

    Keep making statements like the one I've referenced here and I am pretty sure your prediction will come true.:grin

    I say......I say son.......new & improved my tail feathers.

  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 8,466 Admiral
    You told us you picked the screen name BubbaII because you presumed the regulars who posted here would not agree with someone with your "Academia" and fisheries background, and many would consider your views that of an idiot.

    Keep making statements like the one I've referenced here and I am pretty sure your prediction will come true.:grin
    I don't know of anyone in this area that target flounder well offshore..
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • CountryBumpkinCountryBumpkin Fla. Piney WoodsPosts: 1,277 Officer

    I say......I say son.......new & improved my tail feathers.

  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 8,466 Admiral
    This area, not lower Alabama...
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 8,466 Admiral
    markw4321 wrote: »
    kayak charters and they kept a spadefish too...lol
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • markw4321markw4321 Posts: 171 Officer
    Art

    One of the guys posting runs group kayak trips part time but those fish were caught from a boat. Why are you defending bubba anyway? He seems to pretend to be a bit to much of a know it all for your taste if I'm judging you right.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 8,466 Admiral
    Just responding to the flounder comment. Folks in the panhandle might target flounder in 40' but I don't know of anyone here that does.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • Tom HiltonTom Hilton Posts: 1,572 Captain
    Back to the topic at hand - we ALL need to contact our Congressional reps and voice our support for the Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority.

    Do it today please.


    Here is a letter sent to all 5 Gulf states governors;


    Governor Robert Bentley State of Alabama

    Governor Rick Scott State of Florida

    Governor Bobby Jindal State of Louisiana

    Governor Phil Bryant State of Mississippi

    Governor Greg Abbott State of Texas

    Dear Governor Bentley, Governor Scott, Governor Jindal, Governor Bryant and Governor Abbott:

    The undersigned organizations and companies are representatives of the vast saltwater recreational angling community that generates more than $70 billion in economic activity across the nation. Our hundreds of thousands of members and customers have been the driving force behind significant conservation victories and marine habitat programs in your state, and in every coastal state, for decades. In countless ways, these anglers have steadfastly supported the advancement of marine science and enhanced the capabilities of wildlife law enforcement agencies. Their sportsmen's ethic of stewardship and financial support through license dollars and excise taxes are the very foundation that makes the U.S. model of wildlife management unique and envied throughout the world.

    As representatives of that community, we are writing you to confirm our support of the state-based Gulf red snapper management model that was recently formulated by the fisheries directors of the Gulf states. We are completely confident that this well-thought-out plan will allow for the Gulf red snapper population to continue to rebuild while allowing for reasonable public access to this public resource. The states have an outstanding track record of successful fisheries management, as evidenced by the numerous economically important and biologically sustainable marine fish stocks that are under state management, including red drum, speckled trout, snook, and many others. Gulf red snapper management has proven to be immensely challenging, exacerbated by failures of federal management, and we are appreciative of the states' willingness and capability to right the ship.

    How we manage our wildlife resources is just as important as the results of that management. The means being employed by the federal government to manage this fishery are fundamentally at odds with how the states have managed their wild natural resources so successfully for both species abundance and access by the American public. It is not at all surprising that the state fisheries directors, who are extremely well versed in the machinations of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, have elected to explore alternatives to the current course of management. There is no doubt that those few who are reaping the rewards of the federal management system will protest vehemently against any idea that threatens the windfall that has been given to them.

    On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast citizens who willingly and selflessly take on their role as stewards of the marine environment, as well as the businesses that depend on healthy and accessible marine fisheries, we are grateful that the states are again taking a leadership role to find a management system that works for everyone.

    Sincerely,

    Mike Nussman, President and CEO American Sportfishing Association

    Patrick Murray, President
    Coastal Conservation Association

    Steve Stock, President
    Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation

    Thom Dammrich, President
    National Marine Manufacturers Association

    Jeff Angers, President
    Center for Coastal Conservation

    Jeff Crane, President
    Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation

    Rob Kramer, President
    International Game Fish Association

    Ellen Peel, President The Billfish Foundation - See more at: http://www.thefishingwire.com/story/342211#sthash.h6onpVaU.dpuf
  • BubbaIIBubbaII Posts: 328 Deckhand
    ANUMBER1 wrote: »
    Some posts are missing....amigo

    hmmm....... I noticed that
  • BubbaIIBubbaII Posts: 328 Deckhand
    Tom Hilton wrote: »
    At the end of 3 years, I believe a good avenue to take would be to relinquish all IFQ shares and require the commercial fishermen to lease the shares from the state governments for $1/pound which is way cheaper than the current lease price of $3.25/pound. (The practice of leasing shares between participants would be outlawed since all leasing would be through the states). This would provide many benefits; 1) it would provide funding to the states to monitor/enforce the program, which is currently being subsidized by the US taxpayers for some reason 2) it would allow new entrants to enter into the fishery without having to pay a commercial corporation $35/pound for the right to fish commercially for red snapper, 3) based on a 7 million pound commercial TAC, that would provide $7,000,000 PER YEAR to the Gulf states (less expenses for monitoring enforcement) so that the nation ACTUALLY RECEIVES compensation for the harvest of our Public Trust Resource, (or those monies could be put into the fishery enhancing habitat, better data collection, etc.) Either way, the nation and the fishery would actually benefit from the commercial harvest of the fish - not just some fat cats collecting mailbox money harvesting/leasing what we ALL own.

    So, what is the Council/NMFS supposed to do within the three years? No one has answered that question. Its not a small matter. If all control of red snapper is removed from Council authority, how do they manage the IFQ? (assuming this bill passes). No one has answered that; its the big loophole.
  • BubbaIIBubbaII Posts: 328 Deckhand
    You told us you picked the screen name BubbaII because you presumed the regulars who posted here would not agree with someone with your "Academia" and fisheries background, and many would consider your views that of an idiot.

    Keep making statements like the one I've referenced here and I am pretty sure your prediction will come true.:grin

    Please find where I said I picked my avatar name for that reason. That is your interpretation.
  • BubbaIIBubbaII Posts: 328 Deckhand
    ANUMBER1 wrote: »
    This area, not lower Alabama...

    A#1, I'm not even referring to FL or AL. Mr. (I'll delete posts that condemn me) Hilton, stated western Gulf. I quoted numbers from a study that was primarily western Gulf oriented (since the majority of shrimping occurs there). Less than 1 in 10 trawls even contained southern flounder. Do they contain blue crabs? yeah. do shrimp trawls contain shrimp? yeah.

    His claim is like saying the reduction in shrimp trawling saved snook.
  • Tom HiltonTom Hilton Posts: 1,572 Captain
    BubbaII wrote: »
    So, what is the Council/NMFS supposed to do within the three years? No one has answered that question. Its not a small matter. If all control of red snapper is removed from Council authority, how do they manage the IFQ? (assuming this bill passes). No one has answered that; its the big loophole.

    I would assume that when you give someone 3 years to get their affairs in order, then they have 3 years to manage IFQs as they always have - it is what happens AFTER the 3 years is when it gets interesting. One solution would be to have the commercial IFQ shareholders retain their IFQs and lease their poundage from the states for $1/pound, and implement a prohibition of trading between fishermen. This would provide millions of dollars/year to pay for the enforcement/management of the IFQ program which is currently being subsidized by the US Taxpayers. If the fishermen all pay $1/pound (FAR below the current lease price of $3.25/pound), then any monies left over after expenses could go back into the fishery or for better data. New entrants would pay the same $1/pound as other IFQ shareleasers, so it would help out there since they would not be required to pay another commercial fisherman $35/pound for shares.
  • FV Miss MaryFV Miss Mary Posts: 497 Officer
    harbison wrote: »
    The # 1 problem is going to be trying to get away from the greed of EDF.

    December 7, 2006
    Contact:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact:
    Kathleen Goldstein, Environmental Defense, 202-572-3243, cell 202-841-0295

    (December 7, 2006 – Washington, DC) Environmental Defense praises Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK) and ranking member Daniel Inouye (D-HI) for spearheading efforts today to pass of one of the most significant pieces of environmental legislation in this Congress. The House is expected to pass the bill, which reauthorizes the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Act, later today or early tomorrow.

    "This historic legislation creates a cap and trade system that will provide an economic lifeline to fishermen and ensure a secure supply of fresh, local seafood for all Americans," said David Festa Environmental Defense Oceans Program Director and former director of policy and strategic planning in the Commerce Department, which includes National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "Senator Stevens and Senator Inouye deserve credit for leading the effort to enact this vitally important legislation."

    The bill gives a green light to cap and trade programs by mandating scientifically-determined caps on fishing catches and issuing clear guidelines on mechanisms to establish trading of catch "shares", also known as "limited access privilege programs"(LAPPs).

    "Catch share programs change the economics of fishing and conservation," added Festa. "Just as shares in a company become more valuable when the company is well managed, shares in a fishery become more valuable as the fishery rebounds in response to conservation measures."

    These programs also give fishermen better control over when and how they fish, allowing them to reduce costs, increase personal safety and have higher quality fish, which raises the price they can get for their catch. That is welcome news for many struggling fishing communities.

    A recent article in Science magazine predicted that the wild seafood supply would be exhausted in the next 40 years if we do not change course. By making sustainable fishing economically attractive, these programs have helped prevent overfishing in nearly every fishery where they've been implemented. This bill clears the way for their widespread adoption in the U.S.

    Despite their advantages, catch shares are not magic bullets to the problems of overfishing. They need to be implemented in the context of strong conservation goals and standards to ensure fairness and public input to the design process. When done right, they help lead to economically viable fishing communities, better recreational opportunities and supplies of fresh, local seafood.

    Other details of the bill include:

    Requires caps on fishing to be set using the recommendations of the science and statistical committees of the eight regional fishery management councils in the U.S.
    Issues guidelines to management councils to establish rules on trading of fish shares.
    Mandates stopping overfishing in fisheries undergoing rebuilding.

    In addition, the bill backslides on a few conservation points:

    Provides only weak accountability in ensuring caps are met in all cases.
    Delays the implementation of the requirement to stop overfishing for two-and-a-half years.
    Extends the deadline for rebuilding the Mid-Atlantic summer founder fishery until 2013 (an extra three years than under current law).
    Bill may have unintended consequences that could undercut the Pacific groundfish cap and trade program currently under development.

    "After ten years of ongoing negotiations and failing fisheries, we now have a solution that gets to the heart of the matter and addresses the economic incentives of overfishing," said Amanda Leland Environmental Defense Policy Specialist. "With such a bright future on the horizon, we need Congress and the Administration to fully fund these programs to make that future a reality."
    Share this on Facebook
    Share this on Twitter

    Print
    Email to friend

    Stay Informed

    Get updates and action alerts on environmental issues.

    http://www.edf.org/news/environmental-defense-praises-historic-senate-cap-and-trade-fisheries-bill-powerful-economic-li
  • Mackeral SnatcherMackeral Snatcher Posts: 10,435 AG
    Found this I had saved from 6/18/2012.
    Not sure it it's the date of the letter or the date I saved it?



    Environmental Defense Fund
    Progress Report
    Catch shares are the default tool for managing fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico region


    Over the past year, EDF has helped propel the commercial grouper/tilefish IFQ plan toward implementation, advanced the goal of catch share management for king mackerel and all remaining Gulf reef fish species, helped create essential management building blocks for catch shares in the for-hire sport fishing sector, and continued to support the nation's first industry alliance dedicated to promoting catch shares.
    With the vital help of our industry partnerships, we recently ushered the grouper/tilefish IFQ plan to final passage by the Gulf Council in January (13-4 vote in favor). The Secretary of Commerce approved the plan in August and it is set to begin on January 1, 2010. However, higher than expected interactions with threatened sea turtles added a wrinkle to the program. In May, NMFS implemented an emergency closure of the longline reef fishery (of which the grouper/tilefish fishery is a part) to help resolve the problem. To keep fishermen on the water, we targeted converting 50 percent of the fleet, or approximately 50 vessels, to vertical, or ‘bandit’ gear, which has been proven to cause far fewer turtle interactions. EDF immediately launched a grant program for conversion of longline vessels to the vertical gear. To date, applications have been approved to convert 50 vessels, and 45 have converted. Offering the industry an option for staying in business has gone a long way to solidify relationships and trust with both fishermen and regulators.
    Our work to promote catch share management for all Gulf reef fish continues to bear fruit. In June, at our urging, the Gulf Council established a new advisory panel to explore a catch share plan for all remaining reef fish, including three subgroups: commercial, recreational for-hire and private anglers. EDF and key allies have secured voting positions on the panel. We expect that the commercial sub-group will easily move forward with a plan to add all remaining reef fish (19 more species in total, including amberjack and gray triggerfish) into the existing IFQ program. The for-hire and private angler sub-groups will explore catch share and accountability measures for reef fish, including red snapper and grouper. The recreational discussions will undoubtedly be long, heated and challenging. Part of their charge is to discuss intersector trading.


    The work we are doing with a core group of for-hire recreational fishermen, whose movement we helped develop and continue to support, called SOS (Save Our Sector), will be important to continue to move catch shares forward in the for-hire sector of the recreational red snapper fishery. SOS now has over 200 supporters across all five Gulf states. This membership, which includes boat owners and crew members, reflects a significant portion of the 1,100 licenses in the for-hire fleet. The group’s work was a key factor in the Gulf Council’s October decision to consider separation of the recreational sector into for-hire and private angler sectors in the generic Annual Catch Limit/Accountability Measures amendment, which will be subject to public hearings in either December or January and likely voted on next summer.

    The amendment will form the foundation for a for-hire IFQ and harvest tags for private anglers.
    To demonstrate that vessel monitoring systems and electronic logbooks can work in for-hire recreational fisheries and provide the accountability necessary for catch shares, EDF is conducting a two-year pilot project with SOS. Internal discussions with NMFS officials indicate strong agency support for the SOS management plan, which includes use of electronic logbooks, and is resulting in meetings and dialogue among the group, NMFS officials and key members of Congress. While working with key for-hire leadership to develop an IFQ concept design for-hire catch share, we funded and worked with SOS leadership to launch an SOS web site to serve as a consistent source of information for interested parties.


    After almost three years, the red snapper IFQ program continues to meet high expectations. In NMFS’s recent “2008 Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper IFQ Annual Report” the agency states, “… overall, [there are] numerous improvements over the historical derby-style fishing conditions…” Overfishing is being reversed because fishermen are complying with the catch limit, the ratio of discards to landings has dropped by 68 percent, and illegal fishing is declining. The economic signs are also positive. NMFS documents dockside prices at 17 percent higher than pre-IFQ, while fishermen report an increase of 30 percent or more (some data collection problems are not yet fixed). Quota share prices rose by 37 percent from 2007 to 2008, reflecting the scarcity of red snapper and fishermen’s optimism for the future. The number of shareholders has declined by about 15 percent and a few vessels have exited the fishery, indicating that excess capacity is beginning to fall. There continues to be broad support for the program which is contributing to the expansion of catch shares to other Gulf and South Atlantic, fisheries.
    Of course, on-going improvements are needed; high priorities include additional at-sea monitoring, better economic data, and enhanced systems to detect and deter cheating. Fishermen, with new conservation incentives under IFQs, are working to combat one of the remaining discarding problems by seeking to accumulate a “snapper bycatch pool.” The pool would consist of a small reserve of quota that fishermen may access if they happen to catch red snapper beyond their quota, for example, while fishing for other reef fish. This will help take away the misguided justification (e.g., that a fisherman cannot find snapper shares) that a few fishermen still make for discarding snapper. The biggest threat to the continued success of the red snapper IFQ (and other Gulf IFQs) is the inability of regulators thus far to address overfishing by the recreational sector. This problem slows down stock rebuilding and could potentially diminish the positive conservation incentives instilled by catch shares.

    Our partner, University of British Columbia, has developed recommendations and is continuing to work with NMFS to better track reductions in red snapper bycatch under IFQ management, information that is critical for measuring success. They are also participating in a red snapper stock assessment update to ensure future annual catch limits are based on the best science. As we expected, NMFS’s recent report (see above) shows a significant improvement over the first year report, but we are working for a much more rigorous and comprehensive report in 2010. These reports are important because they will be used in NMFS’s and the Council’s planned five-year review in 2012. Another project partner, Texas Tech, has started its on-the-water research that will help identify habitat for red snapper spawners so that it can be protected to complement IFQs and speed recovery of the badly overfished stock.
    EDF continues to encourage and support fishermen who provide the leadership to advance catch shares. The Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders' Alliance, which we helped create, continues to expand its membership of commercial and for-hire fishermen. Its executive director and members are serving on federal advisory panels, have met with members of Congress, and are engaged in helping guide other EDF Oceans regions through challenges. The Alliance is working with Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium “Rite Bite” program and others to move red snapper off of environmentalists’ “fish to avoid” lists by featuring red snapper in eco-friendly restaurants. The program has also received funding and approval to initiate a pre-certification process for Marine Stewardship Council certification.
    Finally, EDF has successfully urged the Gulf Council to establish an advisory panel to explore catch share management for the king mackerel fishery. King mackerel is jointly managed by the Gulf, South Atlantic and Mid-Atlantic Councils. If completed, this will be the first-ever catch share for a coastal pelagic species.

    It took me awhile to find it but thought it might fit in this thread.
    THERE SHOULD BE NO COMMERCIAL FISHING ALLOWED FOR ANY SPECIES THAT IS CONSIDERED OVERFISHED.
  • TrippleTailIVTrippleTailIV Posts: 197 Officer
    It's interesting that when personal attacks aren't against the moderator, they don't get deleted. Referencing the comment above by CB against Bubba.

    Tom, you said get back on topic, but you allow this drivel, come on.
  • Tom HiltonTom Hilton Posts: 1,572 Captain
    Tripple - thanks for the headsup - didn't see that one. It has been dealt with.
  • TrippleTailIVTrippleTailIV Posts: 197 Officer
    has the GMRSA been introduced to Congress yet?

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Emoji
Image
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file