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Gulf states fight back as feds seek to reel in recreational fishing season

Old 07-09-2014, 09:31 AM
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Angry Gulf states fight back as feds seek to reel in recreational fishing season

Same crap out here in Washington and Oregon.
Sports ALWAYS get the shaft!

Gulf Coast charter captains say the feds are ruining their businesses by needlessly cutting their fishing season in response to complaints from commercial fishermen, and now their state lawmakers are stepping up to tackle the issue.

This year's federal fishing season for red snapper was initially set at 40 days long, but then regulators slashed it to just 9 days. Recreational fishing captains say the federal policy is destroying their business for the year and has forced them to cancel hundreds of already-scheduled trips with customers who want to fish.

I already had the boats sold out for the season and then I had to cancel those trips because I couldn't provide the service," Capt. Mark Hubbard, a recreational fishing captain out of Madeira Beach, Fla., told FoxNews.com.

Hubbard and other fishermen point out that the number of red snapper this year is the highest in decades, and say the regulation is purely bureaucratic and not really about protecting fish. The recreational fishing industry employs an estimated 150,000 people along the Gulf and pumps some $7 billion into the local economies, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. In 2012, more than 3.1 million recreational anglers took 23 million fishing trips in the Gulf of Mexico region.

"I already had the boats sold out for the season and then I had to cancel those trips because I couldn't provide the service," Capt. Mark Hubbard, a recreational fishing captain out of Madeira Beach
- Mark Hubbard, recreational fishing captain

Those figures could fall dramatically, thanks to a federal policy that Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., called “reckless” and one that “severely hurts our fishermen and the Gulf economy… the old system governing recreational fishing for red snapper is unquestionably broken.”

Now, the gulf states are counteracting federal regulations by setting longer fishing seasons in their own state-controlled waters that extend 3 miles off the coast. Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas all have set longer seasons, and last week Mississippi also did.

Some state and federal laws actually conflict, as Mississippi claims control over water going out 9 miles from the shore rather than the 3 miles recognized by the federal government.

Federal regulators told FoxNews.com that they slashed the fishing season because recreational fishermen had routinely fished more than their allowed quota of fish, according to the agency's estimates. Additionally, commercial fishermen complained about that, since they compete to catch the same fish, and sued in court to force the agency to crack down. The commercial fishermen won the lawsuit.

“The judge said we had to take more effective action,” Roy Crabtree, the administrator of NOAA’s Southeast Region National Marine Fisheries, told FoxNews.com.

Crabtree also noted that red snapper are doing very well and are now relatively plentiful despite being fished nearly to depletion in the 1990s.

“We have made remarkable progress in rebuilding the stock,” Crabtree said. “We have the healthiest population in 30 years.”

Given that, recreational fishermen say there’s no good reason to drastically limit their fishing season at the last minute.

“This agency is completely incompetent to manage fisheries,” said recreational fishing captain Bob Zales, who operates in the Florida panhandle.

Zales is happy with the recent state actions and said he made out well this year by fishing entirely in state waters instead of federal waters. But not all fishermen can do that – Hubbard says that in his part of Florida, near Tampa, almost all of the red snapper are in federal waters and so the regulations have hit him hard.

Environmental groups support the restricted fishing window.

“For many years, there were too many fish being caught -- for five of the past six years, the recreational red snapper quota has been exceeded, at times by almost 100 percent. We need to fully rebuild red snapper populations, in order to have greater fishing opportunities,” Ellen Bolen, director of Ocean Conservancy’s Fish Conservation Program, told FoxNews.com.

She added that the fish are currently relatively young and need to be protected until they are old enough to reproduce.

“Right now we have young snapper, but need a mix of the old and young. Just like a town. Right now we have a town full of teenagers. In order to have a functioning town, we need a healthy mix of adults, teenagers and babies,” she said.

Fishermen say they support policies that will lead to more fish, but say there is a healthy balance that regulators fail to strike.

“I want a healthy fishery as much as anyone. My business depends on that,” Hubbard said.

Fishermen question the accuracy of the government estimates that show fishing over the quota.

“But let’s assume it’s real -- tell me what damage it did to the fishery? We have the highest mass of fish we’ve ever seen,” Zales said, adding that some people simply don’t like the idea of recreational fishing and want to stop it.

“Environmental organizations, who have infiltrated our federal government -- they are hell-bent on reducing the fleet of fisherman,” Zales said.

George Russell contributed to this article.

Maxim Lott can be reached on twitter at @maximlott or at maxim.lott@foxnews.com

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/...cmp=latestnews
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Old 07-09-2014, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Seefood Man View Post
Same crap out here in Washington and Oregon.
Sports ALWAYS get the shaft!

Gulf Coast charter captains say the feds are ruining their businesses by needlessly cutting their fishing season in response to complaints from commercial fishermen, and now their state lawmakers are stepping up to tackle the issue.

This year's federal fishing season for red snapper was initially set at 40 days long, but then regulators slashed it to just 9 days. Recreational fishing captains say the federal policy is destroying their business for the year and has forced them to cancel hundreds of already-scheduled trips with customers who want to fish.

I already had the boats sold out for the season and then I had to cancel those trips because I couldn't provide the service," Capt. Mark Hubbard, a recreational fishing captain out of Madeira Beach, Fla., told FoxNews.com.

Hubbard and other fishermen point out that the number of red snapper this year is the highest in decades, and say the regulation is purely bureaucratic and not really about protecting fish. The recreational fishing industry employs an estimated 150,000 people along the Gulf and pumps some $7 billion into the local economies, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. In 2012, more than 3.1 million recreational anglers took 23 million fishing trips in the Gulf of Mexico region.

"I already had the boats sold out for the season and then I had to cancel those trips because I couldn't provide the service," Capt. Mark Hubbard, a recreational fishing captain out of Madeira Beach
- Mark Hubbard, recreational fishing captain

Those figures could fall dramatically, thanks to a federal policy that Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., called “reckless” and one that “severely hurts our fishermen and the Gulf economy… the old system governing recreational fishing for red snapper is unquestionably broken.”

Now, the gulf states are counteracting federal regulations by setting longer fishing seasons in their own state-controlled waters that extend 3 miles off the coast. Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas all have set longer seasons, and last week Mississippi also did.

Some state and federal laws actually conflict, as Mississippi claims control over water going out 9 miles from the shore rather than the 3 miles recognized by the federal government.

Federal regulators told FoxNews.com that they slashed the fishing season because recreational fishermen had routinely fished more than their allowed quota of fish, according to the agency's estimates. Additionally, commercial fishermen complained about that, since they compete to catch the same fish, and sued in court to force the agency to crack down. The commercial fishermen won the lawsuit.

“The judge said we had to take more effective action,” Roy Crabtree, the administrator of NOAA’s Southeast Region National Marine Fisheries, told FoxNews.com.

Crabtree also noted that red snapper are doing very well and are now relatively plentiful despite being fished nearly to depletion in the 1990s.

“We have made remarkable progress in rebuilding the stock,” Crabtree said. “We have the healthiest population in 30 years.”

Given that, recreational fishermen say there’s no good reason to drastically limit their fishing season at the last minute.

“This agency is completely incompetent to manage fisheries,” said recreational fishing captain Bob Zales, who operates in the Florida panhandle.

Zales is happy with the recent state actions and said he made out well this year by fishing entirely in state waters instead of federal waters. But not all fishermen can do that – Hubbard says that in his part of Florida, near Tampa, almost all of the red snapper are in federal waters and so the regulations have hit him hard.

Environmental groups support the restricted fishing window.

“For many years, there were too many fish being caught -- for five of the past six years, the recreational red snapper quota has been exceeded, at times by almost 100 percent. We need to fully rebuild red snapper populations, in order to have greater fishing opportunities,” Ellen Bolen, director of Ocean Conservancy’s Fish Conservation Program, told FoxNews.com.

She added that the fish are currently relatively young and need to be protected until they are old enough to reproduce.

“Right now we have young snapper, but need a mix of the old and young. Just like a town. Right now we have a town full of teenagers. In order to have a functioning town, we need a healthy mix of adults, teenagers and babies,” she said.

Fishermen say they support policies that will lead to more fish, but say there is a healthy balance that regulators fail to strike.

“I want a healthy fishery as much as anyone. My business depends on that,” Hubbard said.

Fishermen question the accuracy of the government estimates that show fishing over the quota.

“But let’s assume it’s real -- tell me what damage it did to the fishery? We have the highest mass of fish we’ve ever seen,” Zales said, adding that some people simply don’t like the idea of recreational fishing and want to stop it.

“Environmental organizations, who have infiltrated our federal government -- they are hell-bent on reducing the fleet of fisherman,” Zales said.

George Russell contributed to this article.

Maxim Lott can be reached on twitter at @maximlott or at maxim.lott@foxnews.com

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/...cmp=latestnews
I've gone ahead and put the important part in bold for you. EDF and other environmental groups have funded most of the lawsuits that reduced our catch limits and seasons. When snapper literally swim to the surface when they see the shadow of your boat above the reef you know there is a "healthy population". In fact it's so healthy the snapper have started to eat the other reef fishes (trigger, eetc) essentially wiping out those species over time.
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Old 07-09-2014, 02:30 PM
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This year's federal fishing season for red snapper was initially set at 40 days long, but then regulators slashed it to just 9 days.

Some would speculate the season was cut to 9 days in response to several states poking the feds in the eye with this 'state waters' bullshiet. I think some are getting the horn after f**king with the bull, wonder if the extra snapper they caught in 'state waters' was worth it ...
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Old 07-09-2014, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
This year's federal fishing season for red snapper was initially set at 40 days long, but then regulators slashed it to just 9 days.

Some would speculate the season was cut to 9 days in response to several states poking the feds in the eye with this 'state waters' bullshiet. I think some are getting the horn after f**king with the bull, wonder if the extra snapper they caught in 'state waters' was worth it ...
It was, in fact, cut at least in part because of the state non-compliance and the opening of seasons in state waters.....or that is what NOAA says. We all know the numbers were based on junk science and in no way reflect the actual population or effort in finding the actual catch impact. So yeah we are messing with the bull and don't mind getting the damn horn initially for longer term gain in changing the science or taking our fisheries back locally where less political influence is at play. If you think taking a stand when you fully believe you are wronged, and in this case by the over-reaching feds then so be it. It seems the only reasonable and actionable way to get something changed that is wrong to us down here.
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Old 07-09-2014, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Seefood Man View Post


Environmental groups support the restricted fishing window.


She added that the fish are currently relatively young and need to be protected until they are old enough to reproduce.

“Right now we have young snapper, but need a mix of the old and young. Just like a town. Right now we have a town full of teenagers. In order to have a functioning town, we need a healthy mix of adults, teenagers and babies,” she said.


Maxim Lott can be reached on twitter at @maximlott or at maxim.lott@foxnews.com

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/...cmp=latestnews




If that dumbbell likens snapper to a town full of teenagers, they will be reproducing like nymphomaniac rats on viagra.
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Old 07-09-2014, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Schmaltz~Herring View Post
If that dumbbell likens snapper to a town full of teenagers, they will be reproducing like nymphomaniac rats on viagra.
at least they go on ice with a smile!
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Old 07-09-2014, 03:24 PM
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Welcome to the club boys. Lost my charter business 7 yrs ago. I fished basically flounder but also offshore. I chartered in VA. Best flounder fishing in 35 yrs and NMFS changed the Flounder size regs from 16 in to 19 in. They knew exactly what they were doing and had a goal in mind and they achieved it.

Remember charter fisherman and commercial fisherman are brothers. Don't let NMFS divide and conquer you. That is what they want to happen. Perhaps if you stick together you can win. Worth a try. Fisherman, both commercial and charter can't operate a business with wild, off the wall NMFS regulations. NMFS KNOWS THIS, AND UNDERSTANDS HOW TO ELIMINATE YOU.

NMFS has been taken over by environmentalists. Key people have been placed in powerful positions by those in real power. They don't want any fish caught and this is the real goal. To eliminate all fisherman. Conspiracy theory or rant, you be the judge. Lost my boat and successful business with well over 100,000$ invested in boat and equip and 7 yrs of struggle and hard work. NMFS likes it.

Now when a vacationing family visits the coast and wants to fish from their own boat or off the beach they must pay to catch a public resource. In VA its 25.00 per person. Tack on 100 bucks to the trip for the avg. family. Then throw back fish that could be kept for supper because of unfair,unjustified regs. How many opt out of fishing because it is now not affordable.

Well you get the point, or rather the shaft.
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Old 07-09-2014, 05:53 PM
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What part of "commercial fishermen ... sued in court to force the agency to crack down. The commercial fishermen won the lawsuit." is not being understood?

The season was slashed because a lost lawsuit forced them to slash it. You can have issues with regulators, but in this case, it wasn't their idea.
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:48 PM
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I went back and dug up the June issue of Florida Sportsman magazine, because the editor had solid points at the end of the Conservation Corner:

Confused about red snapper seasons? Is steam pouring out of your ears?

We’ll try to help — but we can’t guarantee that you won’t be steaming mad when you’ve finished reading this. Close to home, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved a short season for recreational red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico starting on the Saturday (May 24, this year) be- fore Memorial Day and running through July 14.

This allows recreational anglers aboard private boats to land up to 2 red snapper per person, as long as the fish are caught no farther than 9 miles from shore on the Gulf Coast. Off Destin, for instance, that range covers waters out to about 100 feet deep. Lots of artificial reefs in that sector will be loaded with snappers larger than the 16-inch minimum. Along the Florida Peninsula — off Clearwater or Fort Myers, say — it’s doubtful many red snapper will be taken within that 9-mile range, where the water is much shallower.

For anglers fishing aboard charter boats, there’s another wrinkle: Charter boats which have a federal reef fish permit must defer to the federal season, even in state waters. That means they may keep red snapper during a projected 11-day federal waters season only, beginning June 1. ...

Who were the plaintiffs?

What was once a diffuse and diverse lot of commercial snapper fishermen has been reduced in number, organized and energized by the 2007 implementation of catch shares, or Individual Fishing Quotas. The IFQ system is the darling of EDF, and NMFS routinely sings its praises: improved safety as commercial fishers can choose which days to fish; improved prices for the catch by spreading out the landings through the year.

Another benefit to IFQ-holders seldom mentioned in the literature: They needn’t even fish at all. They can simply rake in profits by leasing or selling shares they were given, freely, in 2007. ...

And, while we’re clarifying terms, let’s call the IFQ system what it is: a fishery management strategy carried out in such a manner as to enable one entity to acquire an excessive share of privileges.

The Magnuson Stevens Act specifically forbids this kind of giveaway, using that very expression: “excessive share.” What’s more “excessive” than an entire fishery set aside, by design or de-facto, exclusively for a few hundred profiteers?
(Okay. Requiring throngs of recreational anglers to scrub the decks of commercial boats offloading 5,000 pounds of snapper would be more excessive.

“The whole complex system is being mercilessly manipulated by the commercial industry and environmental groups to restrict access to these resources to few- er and fewer people,” said Mark Ray, a vice chairman for Coastal Conservation Association which intervened in the lawsuit on behalf of recreational anglers’ interests. “This is rock bottom.”

Anglers might recall the rock-bottom closure of another popular fish in Gulf of Mexico waters, back in the late 1980s. The meteoric rise in popularity of a blackened redfish dish at restaurants prompted a catastrophic commercial rush on the red drum stocks.

By 1987, red drum were — and today remain — fully protected in federal waters of the Gulf. Around the same time, a curious thing occurred: Recognizing that sustainable redfish take could not support a commercial industry without compromising fish stocks and public access, Florida de-commercialized redfish.

“A watershed victory for sportfishing conservation,” wrote Karl Wickstrom, after the Governor and Cabinet decision, “to be replayed and savored as a magnificent symbol of achievements possible when dedicated people unite against exploit- ers targeting public wildlife for their own sweet, private profits.”

On January 1, 1989, red drum in Florida waters opened with everyone allowed one fish per day, and no commercial sales.

On June 1 — when federal red snapper season opens for a few days — sport fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico should think about that.
Remember the Reds - Florida Sportsman
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:46 PM
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So...the regulators argue that recreational anglers are exceeding their allotment in shorter seasons because the fish are larger and heavier.

But...the enviro-loon argues that we're catching too many young fish that have yet to reach maturity? (Discount the fact that commercials are allowed to keep smaller fish than recs...)

So which is it?
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Old 07-18-2014, 02:27 PM
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A huge part of the problem is HOW the Feds have estimated the recreational catch. Those techniques are not spelled out in the law, and the Feds have used the flexibility to develop the most conservative numbers. The recreational sector is being screwed as a result of the techniques being used, and I can only reach the conclusion that it is intentional.
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Old 07-18-2014, 03:05 PM
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Crabtree can fuck himself up the cockhole with a cactus. He does not know and does not want to know how many recreational fishers fish for the reef fish of the Gulf of Mexico. When you don't know how many people participate in the fishery, you can't know how often they fish and what they catch each trip. When you couple that with population estimates that are intentionally dishonest, then you have shit science. Congress told Crabtree to fix this problem years ago and he ignored them. So why does he now care what a judge says?

I have my own management plan.

Last edited by Paul Barnard; 07-18-2014 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 07-18-2014, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
Crabtree can fuck himself up the cockhole with a cactus. He does not know and does not want to know how many recreational fishers fish for the reef fish of the gulf of mexico. When you don't know how many people participate in the fishery, you can't know how often they fish and what they catch each trip. When you couple that with population estimates that are intentionally dishonest, then you have shit science. Congress told Crabtree to fix this problem years ago and he ignored them. So why does he now care what a judge says.

I have my own management plan.
Yes, our own Management plan for sure
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Old 07-18-2014, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
Crabtree can fuck himself up the cockhole with a cactus. He does not know and does not want to know how many recreational fishers fish for the reef fish of the gulf of mexico. When you don't know how many people participate in the fishery, you can't know how often they fish and what they catch each trip. When you couple that with population estimates that are intentionally dishonest, then you have shit science. Congress told Crabtree to fix this problem years ago and he ignored them. So why does he now care what a judge says.

I have my own management plan.
I shed a tear after reading that, truly beautiful!
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