National Fisherman

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>>

Inside the Industry

Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.

Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.


The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is teaming up with leading shark-tracking nonprofit Ocearch to build the most extensive shark-tagging program in the Gulf of Mexico region.

In October, Ocearch is bringing its unique research vessel, the M/V Ocearch, to the gulf for a multi-species study to generate previously unattainable data on critical shark species, including hammerhead, tiger and mako sharks.

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