Written by Jen Finn
Mixing outrage and pleas of financial hardship, commercial fishermen and charter captains packed a Marathon meeting Monday to forcefully argue against proposals for new no-take zones throughout the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
"You're strangling us, slowly but surely strangling us," said Bill Harbaugh, an Upper Keys charter captain.
"This is a declaration of war against fishermen ... a vast overreach," said Upper Keys commercial fisherman Carlos Jimenez.
Taking the brunt of the collective anger from more than 100 opponents were volunteer members of the Ecosystem Protection working group, preparing a set of revised zoning maps to submit to the full Sanctuary Advisory Council.
After hours of public comment, the working group abandoned plans to vote Monday on recommendations for a network of new ecological reserves and preservation areas ranging from the Dry Tortugas to Carysfort Reef off North Key Largo.
"Everybody just now is getting wind of this," said Ernie Piton, president of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen's Association and a member of the working group. "There's no way we're getting through this today. It's not possible."
"The whole thing's a meltdown," said Joe Weatherby, a diving representative on the working group.
Read the full story at Keys Net>>
The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:
The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.Read more...
Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.
Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.Read more...