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>>
National Fisherman Live: 9/9/14
In this episode:
Seafood Watch upgrades status of 21 fish species
Calif. bill attacking seafood mislabeling approved
Ballot item would protect Bristol Bay salmon
NOAA closes cod, yellowtail fishing areas
Pacific panel halves young bluefin harvest
National Fisherman Live: 8/26/14
In this episode, National Fisherman Publisher Jerry Fraser talks about his early days dragging for redfish on the Vandal.
More than a dozen higher education institutions and federal and local fishery management agencies and organizations in American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Hawaii have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at building the capacity of the U.S. Pacific Island territories to manage their fisheries and fishery-related resources.