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Fed's NOAA Fisheries trying to "Take Back" ARS Management"

Here we go again!  Please read the following and then contact your Senators and Gulf Coast area Congressional Representatives and ask them to contact the Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to stop this grab by NOAA bureaucrats.  The federal data is beyond flawed, and while the states aren’t perfect, they’re doing a much better job managing Red Snapper.

 

SEPTEMBER 24, 2020

Federal Regulators Seek to Undermine State Management of Red Snapper

 Washington – Just two years after approving a plan to allow the Gulf states to develop their own recreational data collection systems to better manage red snapper and certifying those state programs, NOAA Fisheries intends to force the states to calibrate their data back to the flawed federal data system that caused significant turmoil in the first place. This federal data system, Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP), has been widely criticized by many in the recreational fishing community, the states and in Congress, and its limitations are what led each of the states to develop their own data collection systems.

In recent communications to the states, NOAA Fisheries indicated it will adjust state harvest data to be more in line with MRIP and show that Texas, Alabama and Mississippi have overfished their quotas by significant margins. If NOAA Fisheries is successful, it would likely mean that private boat recreational anglers in Alabama would not have any season at all in federal waters for the next one to two years, and Mississippi anglers would be shut down for the next three years. After sending its recreational data to NOAA Fisheries 39 times over the past two and a half years, Texas was first notified a few weeks ago that NOAA Fisheries had elected to apply a different approach to the length-to-weight conversion in the state’s data and determined the state was overfishing its quota. Rather than work through the new formula going forward, the agency placed a notice in the Federal Register announcing its intent to take the overage out of future seasons. As a result, Texas anglers will face a 2021 season of just a couple of days in federal waters.

“There is clearly some gamesmanship going on, and rather than treat it as a partnership, NOAA Fisheries seems to want to continue its adversarial relationship with the states and with recreational anglers,” said Ted Venker, conservation director for Coastal Conservation Association. “The federal system for recreational anglers was so poor and untimely that the Gulf Council passed Amendment 50 to allow the states to develop their own systems. After the states invested the time and money to build more timely and accurate data systems and operated them for more than two years, NOAA Fisheries now comes back and says that all the new data must be converted back into its flawed system for management purposes. And it puts us right back where we were before Amendment 50 was adopted. It is absurd.”

In response, more than a dozen Gulf Coast Congressmen have signed a letter urging U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to prevent any action on the calibration of state harvest data to federal data until at least the Great Red Snapper Count is completed. The snapper count is a two-year, intensive stock assessment being conducted by more than a dozen marine research institutions across the Gulf Coast that was authorized and funded by Congress due to a lack of confidence in NOAA Fisheries’ own assessment work. The letter further asks that the Secretary use his authority under Public Law 109-479(g) to declare the data from the Gulf States as the best available science to inform future management decisions.

“When red snapper management completely failed in 2017, the five Gulf states and Congress realized NOAA Fisheries does not have the tools or the will to properly manage this fishery, and they took significant steps to remedy the situation,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy. “Since then, we have seen the most successful red snapper seasons in the Gulf in the last decade, but unfortunately, NOAA Fisheries seems intent on going back to business as usual.”

“This all comes down to which is considered the ‘best available science,’” said Chris Horton, director of fisheries policy for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “MRIP was never designed to manage to in-season closures, so the states developed their own programs in order to provide their anglers with more access without going over the quotas. Now that they’ve proven they can very successfully manage the harvest during the season, the state programs - not MRIP - should be declared to be the best available science to inform Gulf red snapper management.”

 






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Replies

  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 11,694 AG
    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.
  • kellerclkellercl Posts: 6,375 Admiral
    edited September 27 #3
    Florida is a mess with their current regulations, IMHO.  Which is why I am hitting NC more often than not.  I'm still not happy about the snook, red and trout regs in the SW section.  

    Edit
    I haven't checked in months, but it appears trout, red and snook can be kept in Port Charlotte??  I missed that, assuming I am not mistaken.  


    “When you're good at something, you'll tell everyone. When you're great at something, they'll tell you.”

    -Walter Payton
  • AlwaysLearningMoreAlwaysLearningMore Posts: 158 Deckhand
    kellercl said:
    Florida is a mess with their current regulations, IMHO.  Which is why I am hitting NC more often than not.  I'm still not happy about the snook, red and trout regs in the SW section.  

    Edit
    I haven't checked in months, but it appears trout, red and snook can be kept in Port Charlotte??  I missed that, assuming I am not mistaken.  
    I believe they can be kept in Desoto County, but not in Charlotte County
  • kellerclkellercl Posts: 6,375 Admiral
    Yeah. I believe you are correct.


    “When you're good at something, you'll tell everyone. When you're great at something, they'll tell you.”

    -Walter Payton
  • RockyTopRockyTop Posts: 146 Deckhand
    kellercl said:
    Edit
    I haven't checked in months, but it appears trout, red and snook can be kept in Port Charlotte??  I missed that, assuming I am not mistaken. 

    You are mistaken. No trout, reds or snook from Charlotte Harbor can be harvested at this point.

    Personally, I hope the FWC keeps it that way for another year. If so, with appropriate management it will return to the epic fishery it once was.


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