VIEW FROM THE HELM
A CALL TO ACTION
The National Marine Fisheries
Service agenda to kill grouper fishing in the Gulf of Mexico is being
advanced at light speed with no concern for logic, reality or scientific
vetting. Read Gagging on Grouper numbers below.
The sleeping giant, those 12
million saltwater anglers in the Gulf and South Atlantic region who spent
a combined $36 BILLION DOLLARS on their sport in 2006, is awakening from its
euphoric slumber once again. The giant will again remind the government
employees who they really work for and the purpose of their jobs.
WHY DOES THE
AGENDA TO STOP FISHING KEEP ADVANCING?
It would take
hours and hours to lay out the organizational chart of this agenda to the
average angler. Understanding the motivations of this organized effort will
help you to counter this viral attack on our sport and our very human
Read the first
in our series titled
oppose fishing will double their efforts, hoping that the sleeping giant
will be kept lethargic by the current economic adversities allowing
resistance-free advancement of the no fishing agenda. It is our duty as
users and stewards of the resource to ensure
that management decisions are not driven by
Public Input Wednesday, JUNE 17, 1 PM – 5PM TAMPA
Public Input Tuesday June 9, 5:30 to 7 PM, STUART, FL
grouper/snapper BAS and ‘fishing tournament’. July 17th, 6 PM to
9:30 PM Gators on the Pass, Treasure Island
Staying the course,
GAGGING ON GAG NUMBERS
New assessment calls for 75%
reduction in Gag grouper landings!
One gag per boat with 6 months
closure is a possible rule for 2010.
Based on what?
The flawed MRFSS estimate showing
near-record fishing effort in 2008.
Record effort = record catches (and
The assumption that so many fish were
released based on recollection of a day’s events.
The assumption that red tide killed
30% of ALL gag and red grouper in 2005.
The assumption that ‘catachability’
increased 2% per year, which defies the findings of the catchability
panel’s recommendation to NOT use catchability in stock assessments.
The new numbers will
cause the COLLAPSE OF THE RECREATIONAL GROUPER FISHERY. In 2006, rec
anglers spent $500 Million on grouper/snapper fishing in PINELLAS COUNTY
ALONE. $400 million combined was spent in Hillsborough and Manatee
Fisheries Economics of the United States 2006
economic report (for
.pdf click here).
Download the Gag Assessment here.
ftp://ftp.gulfcouncil.org/2009 Gag and Red Grouper
We’ve been vocal about the results of the
current Gag and Red Grouper reassessments, yet the sloppy science continues.
Time to involve Congress.
RED GROUPER ASSESSMENT
More of the same. Big reductions are coming.
This assessment was done concurrently with the Gag reassessment.
The assessment can be downloaded here.
TAKING ACTION ON GULF GROUPER
Council meets in Tampa on June 15-18 at the Quorum Hotel (275 &
Westshore Blvd). http://www.quorumtampa.com
PLEASE SHOW UP
for Public Input on Wednesday,
June 17 by 1:15 PM.
TO SPEAK, YOU MUST HAVE A CARD FILLED OUT AND
HANDED IN PRIOR TO 1:15 PM
Persons wishing to
testify for either public testimony or open public comment must turn in
a registration card before the beginning of the public testimony period;
otherwise persons wishing to testify may be denied. One card must be
completed for each issue on which persons wish to testify.
We will need to tell the Council (and others who
will be watching) that the effort for offshore fishing is WAY down,
contradicting the fatally flawed estimates of MRFSS.
Business people need to talk of their decline in
business. Anglers need to relate their observations on the water (many
people say that they are seeing far fewer boats offshore than they did
Many of our legislators, state and federal, will
be watching. We need to tell them about effort, the economy and the
lunacy of the idea that Red Tide killed 30% of all Gulf grouper in 2005.
The obviously erroneous effort estimates show
recreational anglers continue to fish at near-record rates, a hard
concept to grasp with 10 percent unemployment and a deep economic
recession in full swing. The new assessment numbers are certainly
incorrect. Congress must step in now or we will surely lose what little
we have left. Then where will the economy of the fishing capital of the
In the next week, we will need to contact our
respective legislators and urge them to view the public input via FRA’s
Fish Eye TV on the web. There will be thousands watching the public
input session. Congress needs to hear us and take action now.
MEETING NEXT WEEK
IN STUART, FL
The meeting is supposed to be
broadcast by the SA council staff, after they stole the idea from the
FRA. We shall see what product they deliver.
The broadcast will be
available on the FRA webpage.
Statistical Committee (SSC)
The SSC will
meet on Sunday afternoon, June 7, 2009 from 1:30PM to 5:00 PM and
will meet in concurrent sessions with other committee meetings on
Monday, June 8, 2009 and Tuesday, June 9, 2009.
The SSC and
Golden Crab Advisory Panel and SSC and Wreckfish Advisory Panel will
meet for seperate workshop sessions on Sunday, June 7, 2009.
Grouper Amendment 17 -
Ending overfishing for red snapper, establish Annual Catch Limits
for 10 snapper grouper species undergoing overfishing (snowy
grouper, golden tilefish, speckled hind, warsaw grouper, red
grouper, black grouper, black sea bass, gag, vermilion snapper and
red snapper), etc. - the Committee will review the revised draft
document, consider alternatives, and approve for public hearing (if
Grouper Amendment 18
- the Committee will review management options and provide
recommendations to staff for continued development.
Annual Catch Limit (ACL) Amendment
- the Committee will continue to review and provide recommendations
for the draft document.
National Environmental and Protection Agency (NEPA) and legal comments
on the Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based
Amendment 1 (deepwater coral protection) and provide recommendations.
The Committee will also review options for the Comprehensive
Ecosystem-Based Amendment 2.
"Environmental extremist groups could care
less who they put out of business or that you no longer have the right
to take fish from your surrounding waters for your personal
Read part 1 of “I-N-D-O-C-T-R-I –
FRA LAWSUIT AGAINST NMFS
Read the complaint filed against the National Marine
Fisheries Service by the FRA’s Craig Berman.
Special THANKS to Craig Berman (and Tiana) for moving
forward with litigation.
We content that the Magnuson Stevens Reauthorization
Act was violated in the setting of new fishing rules. The Act was also
violated when the NMFS failed to fulfill the requirements of the Act to fix
the recreational reporting system and institute an angler registration
database that will produce more reliable estimates.
Berman Law Firm, P.A.
111 Second Avenue NE
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
FRA’s Fish Eye TV
Making quite a splash with its ability to allow people
to view meetings via the internet, the broadcast suffers when the meeting
site’s internet connection drops. The link for the web TV broadcast is on
the front page of the FRA web site.
We will be experimenting at the South Atlantic and Gulf
FRA, MRFSS AND YOU
The FRA was in attendance at the
Marine Recreational Fishing Statistics Survey annual Constituent Data Review
held in the Washington, DC area in May. Unfortunately, many of the old
mistakes made by the MRFSS are being defended instead of corrected.
The obviously erroneous fishing
effort figures are being defended, with full knowledge of the economic and
social destruction that these figures will cause and in denial of any
reality checks such as the economy, unemployment and foreclosure rates.
The FRA has been active in the
redesign of the new recreational reporting process. We are optimistic, yet
we are realistically years away from producing any useable data. In the
meantime, the fatally flawed data will continue to misdirect regulatory
efforts and cause undue harm to us all.
GET NEWS FROM THE MACHINE
The various fisheries
management councils and National Marine Fisheries Service produce
newsletters and press releases. You can sign up to receive these via email,
or even request that hard copies be mailed to you each time.
The National Marine Fisheries
Service puts out Fishnews, which highlights management actions taken in all
of the federal fisheries management councils. It is worth reading.
To sign up, go to
The Gulf Council puts out
press releases on a timely basis.
To subscribe (no charge),
The South Atlantic Council produces newsletters and press releases.
email@example.com and request to be on the press release and
newsletter email lists.
OF MEXICO RECREATIONAL REEF FISH SEASONAL CLOSURES AND
The seasonal closures are:
The recreational fishery for gag will be closed Feb 1 – Mar 31, 2009
The recreational fishery for red grouper
and black grouper isclosed February 15 – March 14, 2009
The daily bag limits are:
Two fish per person for gag.
Two fish per person for red grouper.
Five fish per person for all grouper in
Full regulations for the Gulf of
Mexico (includes links to each Gulf State’s own saltwater fishing
click on Fishing
Regulations on the left side of the page.
SOUTH ATLANTIC GAG, BLACK AND RED GROUPER RULES REMAIN
THE SAME, FOR NOW.
Fisheries Service decides
to implement interim rule to end overfishing of gag,
black grouper, and red grouper in 2009.
read the letter from NMFS
fishing regulations for the South Atlantic.
Next South Atlantic Fisheries Management
June 7 - 12, 2009 in
click here for more information
GULF Council -
click here for more information
15 - 18, 2009
700 N. Westshore Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33609
Don't forget to support the FRA.
HELP THE FRA DEFEND YOUR FISHING RIGHTS.