National Fisherman


Recreational and commercial fishermen and coastal business should be very concerned about an effort by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to create more no-fishing zones off North and South Carolina, Georgia and east Florida in a misguided reaction to radical environmental groups that are pushing for extraordinary and unjustifiable protections for two deep-water grouper species.
 
At its meeting next week in Charleston, the SAFMC will consider approving up to 18 new Marine Protected Areas, encompassing nearly 1,350 square miles of ocean, that were recommended by the council's MPA Workgroup as no-fishing zones for bottom fishing and even trolling in an effort to reduce the possible bycatch of speckled hind and warsaw grouper.
 
In 1994, commercial sales of speckled hind and warsaw grouper were prohibited and the recreational bag limit for each species was reduced to one, and in 2010 the fisheries were closed as a precautionary measure.
 
The council plunges forward with these protected areas despite the contrary advice of its Scientific and Statistical Committee, which said in an April 2012 report: "There isn't enough scientific backing to say [area] closures will do what managers need them to do... Currently, there is no analysis that shows any conservation benefits of [area] closures to these species."
 
Read the full story at the Island Packet>>

Inside the Industry

The Obama Administration recently announced that it is looking for candidates to be considered for a sustainable fishing prize.

The White House Champion for Change for Sustainable Seafood designation will honor individuals for “contributing to the ongoing recovery of America’s fishing industry and our fishing communities.”

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The American Fisheries Society is honoring recently retired Florida Institute of Oceanography director Bill Hogarth with the Carl R. Sullivan Fishery Conservation Award — one of the nation's premier awards in fisheries science - in recognition of his long career and leadership in preserving some of the world's most threatened species, advocating for environmental protections and leading Florida's scientific response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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