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OFFSHORE FISHING ISSUES Gulf of Mexico. Presented by: Dennis O’Hern Executive Director Fishing Rights Alliance. FRA - The FISHING RIGHTS ALLIANCE www.joinFRA.org. ISSUES. OPPORTUNITY – The dollar driver Economic Value – BILLION DOLLAR BUNGLE? Amberjack Gag Grouper Red Grouper

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offshore fishing issues gulf of mexico

OFFSHORE FISHING ISSUES Gulf of Mexico

Presented by:

Dennis O’Hern

Executive Director

Fishing Rights Alliance

FRA - The FISHING RIGHTS ALLIANCE www.joinFRA.org

issues
ISSUES
  • OPPORTUNITY – The dollar driver
  • Economic Value – BILLION DOLLAR BUNGLE?
  • Amberjack
  • Gag Grouper
  • Red Grouper
  • Recreational IFQ’s
  • Islands In The Stream – Threatening the Middle Grounds
  • Make yourself heard – Giving ‘PUBLIC INPUT’
  • Staying Informed
  • What You Can Do

FRA - The FISHING RIGHTS ALLIANCE www.joinFRA.org

opportunity
OPPORTUNITY
  • The OPPORTUNITY to fish is the driver of the recreational sector
  • OPPORTUNITY is what drives us to fish
  • OPPORTUNITY drives us to spend money on fishing
  • Reducing the OPPORTUNITY to fish will disproportionately affect participation
  • Reducing OPPORTUNITY has an adverse economic impact on our communities and our states.
  • The Gulf States can ill afford an unnecessary negative economic impact

FRA - The FISHING RIGHTS ALLIANCE www.joinFRA.org

economic value
ECONOMIC VALUE
  • Florida has 3 million SALTWATER ANGLERS
  • They spent $5 BILLION in 2006 in Florida
  • They created a $15 BILLION economic impact in Florida
  • NMFS estimates 1 million trips per year more than 9 miles offshore from West Florida
  • While the country wrestles with economic downturn and attempts are made to enhance the economy, this economic devastation is about to befall us
  • $15,000,000,000 That’s BILLION (with a ‘B’)
  • Grouper fishing is estimated to generate a 3-4 billion dollar economic impact. Will this be the BILLION DOLLAR BUNGLE?

FRA - The FISHING RIGHTS ALLIANCE www.joinFRA.org

amberjack
AMBERJACK
  • Amendment 30A
  • Final action at this Council Meeting
  • The Council’s preferred alternative is a one fish per day, per angler bag limit with a 31” minimum fork length
  • Other alternatives included closed seasons and even a half fish per angler
  • The Council heard our public input about the importance of the OPPORTUNITY to keep one AJ per angler
  • Comment: One 31” AJ is OK. Perhaps thank the Council for considering the anglers’ one fish request

FRA - The FISHING RIGHTS ALLIANCE www.joinFRA.org

gag grouper
GAG GROUPER
  • Gag Stock Assessment declared unreliable by experts
  • Questions still remain about validity of stock assessment
  • Why is gag biomass at an all time high, yet we need a 40 percent reduction?
  • Offshore effort is down over 35% from 2004. The decline continues. Total pounds landed are down. Dr. Crabtree appears indifferent to these implications
  • There should be no need for a reduction in Gag Grouper
  • Gag landings per trip are down due to: 1) the increase in Red Snapper bites and 2) the massive quantities of bait that are keeping the gags full and less likely to eat an artificial bait

FRA - The FISHING RIGHTS ALLIANCE www.joinFRA.org

slide7

This clearly indicates a

drop in offshore activity.

red grouper
RED GROUPER
  • Stock was never in need of a bag reduction to two fish, let alone one.
  • The stock was declared recovered a year ago.
  • Why are we waiting for our bag limit to be restored?
  • WE WANT OUR FIVE RED GROUPER BACK.
  • Request that the Council initiate and pass a red grouper emergency rule to restore the red grouper bag limit while they craft a permanent rule.

FRA - The FISHING RIGHTS ALLIANCE www.joinFRA.org

recreational ifq s
RECREATIONAL IFQ’s
  • What is an IFQ? Individual Fishing Quota. A management concept of each angler being limited to a specific share, or quota. Not readily applicable to large fisheries without devastating impact on opportunity and economics, as well as by catch.
  • Individual Fishing Quotas would KILL the OPPORTUNITY TO FISH in the grouper/snapper fishery. It is a Pandora’s Box that will assure the demise of recreational fishing as we know it from our HERITAGE.
  • Why is this idea being advanced so quickly when the data collection program is being rebuilt?
  • IFQ advocates claim that IFQ’s are needed for data collection purposes. This would be redundant, expensive and totally restrictive to the offshore angler.
  • Quit wasting our money and your time on this bad idea.

FRA - The FISHING RIGHTS ALLIANCE www.joinFRA.org

islands in the stream threatening the middle grounds
ISLANDS IN THE STREAMThreatening the Middle Grounds
  • The Islands In The Stream plan seeks to create, with one signature, a chain of Marine Sanctuaries across the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Other than for the bold power grabbers, there appears to be nothing beneficial about this plan.
  • Areas covered include the famous Florida Middle Grounds.
  • MPA’s are not a proven management tool. There is a process already in place for designating areas as MPA’s. The people in this process are being bypassed. Is the Islands plan really an assumption that the process is not capable of or even unwilling to declare such broad areas as sanctuaries? This would be unenforceable. The areas already closed in the Gulf are claimed to be regular poaching spots (Chris Koenig, Steve Smith).

FRA - The FISHING RIGHTS ALLIANCE www.joinFRA.org

islands in the stream threatening the middle grounds11
ISLANDS IN THE STREAMThreatening the Middle Grounds
  • There is no need for another layer of administration and regulation for a body of water that is already one of the most heavily regulated in the world. This proposal insults me with the assumption that this move is for my own good, and that the decision has no need for my input. This must be opposed to the Council as well as to the Governor, Senators, Congressmen, State Legislators, Secretary of Dept of Commerce and Dept of Interior. Find all the contact information on the FRA website.

FRA - The FISHING RIGHTS ALLIANCE www.joinFRA.org

public input
PUBLIC INPUT
  • GET THERE EARLY- BE There by ONE PM (earlier if you want a seat)
  • Fill out and SUBMIT a comment card
  • Include full name address and email
  • You can choose to speak or not
  • Indicate the subject you are there for
  • You can just say that you agree with FRA or any other group that will be speaking
  • Comments such as 5 aggregate grouper, 3 gags, 24” would be clear
  • Islands in the Stream is an insult to the stakeholder and an unnecessary administration layer that is unenforceable and economically reckless

FRA - The FISHING RIGHTS ALLIANCE www.joinFRA.org

speaking to the council
SPEAKING to the Council
  • The Council Chairman will call your name. Be prepared to move to the ‘on deck’ position behind the podium, so you are ready to step up to the podium as soon as the previous speaker is finished.
  • Introduce yourself and tell them what your interest is.
  • Mention that you support the FRA/CCA/FGA position
  • Try to cover only three issues. You will have three minutes (possibly five).
  • Conclude with “ I may submit additional written comments. Thank you for listening”.
  • BE POLITE. Accusatory testimony tends to be dismissed, where statement of fact is painfully accepted.

FRA - The FISHING RIGHTS ALLIANCE www.joinFRA.org

staying informed
STAYING INFORMED
  • Sign up for the FRA newsletter F’ISSUES.
  • Take Action. Each issue in F’Issues will have an action item, if action is required.
  • Tell your friends about the issues.
  • Sign up for the Gulf Council newsletter and the National Marine Fisheries Service newsletter, Fishnews.
  • NEVER, EVER GIVE UP!

FRA - The FISHING RIGHTS ALLIANCE www.joinFRA.org

what you can do
WHAT YOU CAN DO
  • Support the Fishing Rights Alliance
  • Join the Fishing Rights Alliance
  • Tell your friends to join the FRA
  • Ask your tackle store what THEY are doing to support the FRA
  • FISH as much as possible
  • ENJOY life like you enjoy fishing

FRA - The FISHING RIGHTS ALLIANCE www.joinFRA.org

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