CCA files lawsuit to stop sector separation

CCA files lawsuit to stop sector separation

Legal challenge follows Commerce approval of controversial red snapper management scheme

Posted on April 22, 2015



Coastal Conservation Association announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against implementation of Amendment 40 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico. Also known as “sector separation,” the amendment is a highly controversial management plan for red snapper that takes a significant percentage of the recreational quota and reserves it solely for use by the charter/for-hire industry.

“Amendment 40 embodies everything that is wrong with federal management of our marine resources. It is completely out of step with this nation’s heritage of wildlife resource management,” said Bill Bird, chairman of CCA’s National Government Relations Committee. “It has been overwhelmingly opposed at every step in the process, but a very small minority has been allowed to manipulate the system to their personal advantage.”

Amendment 40 is widely regarded as the first step to a catch share program for a privileged few in the charter/for-hire industry, similar to the one in place for the commercial red snapper industry. With passage of this amendment, the way is cleared for up to 70 percent of the entire Gulf red snapper fishery to be privately held, while recreational anglers who fish on their own boats will find their access to federal waters severely limited.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council approved Amendment 40 by a 10-7 vote in October 2014 over opposition from four Gulf states, Congress, the vast majority of recreational anglers and even from within the charter/for-hire industry itself. In the immediate aftermath of the vote, eight representatives to the Council submitted a scathing minority report that was ultimately ignored. The amendment was approved by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce on April 10.

In its lawsuit, CCA charges that Amendment 40 constitutes agency action that is arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, not in accordance with law and in excess of statutory jurisdiction, authority, or limitations. The lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Tight Lines, Steve
My posts are my opinion only.

Replies

  • CaptainBlyCaptainBly Posts: 1,912 Captain
    Hopefully it will have some teeth....
    In Loving Memory of James Zielske, January 19, 1957-July 5, 2013
  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 4,242 Moderator
    So did the FRA file a suit

    Well the Fishing Rights Alliance has stepped up to the plate, once again, to fight for your rights. They have filed a lawsuit against the NMFS to fight Amendment 40 which took 43% of the recreational allotment of red snapper and gifted it to 120 charter and headboats so they could have an extended season. They get 45 days while we may get 7.

    But, here’s the catch. This suit will cost. Now is the time to step up and pay for your fishing. Even the flats fishermen should get involved, because when the offshore guys have no fish left to catch, where do you think they will be parking their boats, right in your favorite snook/redfish hole.
    Ya'll asked for it....
    Here it is ......now step up to the plate and help pay for it
    LAWSUIT AGAINST AMENDMENT 40
    On April 22, 2015, NOAA Fisheries published Amendment 40 in the Federal Register. Amendment 40 aims to curtail access to red snapper by private anglers and enlarge access to the fishery by the for-hire sector. Amendment 40, we believe, violates several National Standards. Amendment 40 gives 42% of the red snapper quota to the for-hire operators and is a re-allocation favoring the for-hire permit holders. National Standard 5 states: "Conservation and management measures shall, where practicable, consider efficiency in the utilization of fishery resources; except that no such measure shall have economic allocation as its sole purpose." 50 CFR 600.330(a).
    The private-angling component will surrender red snapper quota to fire-hire permit holders under Amendment 40. This quota will be turned into profits for some or most of the members of the EDF-supported Charter Fishermans Association in violation of 50 CFR 600.325(c)(3)(i)(A) ("an FMP objective to preserve the economic status quo cannot be achieved by excluding a group of longtime participants in the fishery"); 50 CFR 600.325(c)(3)(i)(B)("An allocation of fishing privileges may impose a hardship on one group if it is outweighed by the total benefits received by another group or groups. An allocation need not preserve the status quo in the fishery to qualify as ‘‘fair and equitable,’’ if a restructuring of fishing privileges would maximize overall benefits").
    Red Snapper access is a zero-sum game. Under Amendment 40, the for-hire sector gains at the expense of the private-angler. Should the private angler be punished for refusing to pay to fish aboard a permitted for-hire vessel? Should members of the for-hire secor be able to profit from the additional trips resulting from restricted access on the part of the private angler.
    Unless Amendment 40 is defeated, NOAA Fisheries will have no incentive to accurately estimate red snapper landings by the private angler. NOAA Fisheries overestimates landings and effort even under the MRIP by relying on data which Congress forbade reliance on. Effort surveys should target registered anglers but the current practice is to engage in random digit dialing. The data collected is not a reliable measure of effort.
    To fight Amendment 40, it will take at least $60,000 for legal fees and other expenses, including an appeal if necessary.
    Monetary donations can be made by check payable to the FRA Red Snapper Defense Fund and sent to Craig L. Berman, Esq., 111 Second Avenue NE, Suite 706, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701 (727) 550-8989. Credit card donations can be phoned into my office. Paypal donations should be made to [email protected].
    Any monies will be kept in a Trust Account and used to pay attorney invoices generated and approved by the FRA. The lawsuit on Amendment 40 will be filed only if sufficient donations are made. Any person who donates at least $1,000 will be a named plaintiff and a client of my firm, Berman Law Firm, P.A. If anyone has questions, please call Craig L. Berman at 727-515-0847 or email [email protected].
    Donations can be made at www.joinfra.org
  • Reel-LuckyReel-Lucky Oldsmar, FLPosts: 2,941 Moderator
    Yep, boils down to the almighty buck. I give my share that's for sure. But, for most, it's all talk and no dollars. Hell, I clearly remember a Winghouse get together when I was passing the hat for the FRA and got basically bupkus, to rescue the cause Tommy (knot Tommy, I think he's in witness protection) threw in a hondo, BryanC contributed and I threw in 100 to give Denny 220.00. The rec. angler is all talk and no action, and look where we are now.
  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 4,242 Moderator
    I sent Craig $500 last night

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk
  • surfmansurfman WC FLPosts: 4,722 Captain
    Tight Lines, Steve
    My posts are my opinion only.
  • drgibbydrgibby Posts: 1,239 Officer
    Money talks. Send what you can. We all know good quality legal representation is not cheap. My check was mailed yesterday..............
  • Reel-LuckyReel-Lucky Oldsmar, FLPosts: 2,941 Moderator
    drgibby wrote: »
    Money talks. Send what you can. We all know good quality legal representation is not cheap. My check was mailed yesterday..............
    I can't thank Craig enough, he leads this legal battle at cost.
  • mjacksmjacks Posts: 152 Deckhand
    drgibby wrote: »
    Money talks. Send what you can. We all know good quality legal representation is not cheap. My check was mailed yesterday..............

    Sent Craig $500 today for the FRA suit with a commitment for additional $500 in a few weeks. Hope everyone will send what they can. This is serious business and its obvious that the only way we can stop this illegal activity is by taking legal action. We have less than 30 days to finish filing and whatever $$$ you can send now is needed ASAP.
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