Help get the best qualified fisheries managers

Good news from last week: Governors Nikki Haley and Rick Scott nominated charter boat operators Mark Brown from Charleston and Robert Johnson from St. Augustine respectively for appointment to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to fill seats for recreational/for-hire representation.

The nomination letters submitted to NOAA Fisheries can be viewed here and here.

The Council for Sustainable Fishing took the lead in urging the nomination of Mark and Robert, who are very experienced fishermen and know first-hand the economic impacts of fishery regulations on fishermen and the coastal economy. They are both very experienced in the federal fisheries management process, having served for years on SAFMC advisory and stock assessment panels.

There is no doubt that Mark and Robert are the best qualified to serve on the SAFMC. But now the appointment decision is in the hands of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce through NOAA Fisheries.

It’s important that fishermen and related businesses send emails as soon as possible to NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries Eileen Sobeck urging the appointment of Mark Brown and Robert Johnson. Her email address is eileen.sobeck@noaa.gov 

NOAA Fisheries will announce the appointments in June and the new appointees will take office in August.

Some additional good news: The South Carolina House of Representatives passed legislation opposing any additional no-fishing zones or Marine Protected Areas off the state being proposed by the SAFMC.

Click here for news coverage of the legislation.

The SAFMC is being pushed hard by radical environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council and Pew to approve over 1,000 sq. miles of additional MPAs off the coasts of the Carolinas, Georgia and east Florida in a misguided effort to reduce speckled hind and warsaw grouper bycatch even though the SAFMC’s own scientific advisors say there is no justification.

The legislation (H. 4596), sponsored by Rep. Stephen Goldfinch (R-Murrells Inlet) and 33 co-sponsors, points out that the fishery council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee advised in an April 2012 report that it:

"...cannot determine what benefits an additional closure will provide to the stocks of speckled hind and warsaw grouper, what amount of area closure is necessary to reduce bycatch mortality, or if additional closed areas are even necessary. ... Given all of the current regulations that affect other snapper grouper species, it is possible overfishing for speckled hind and warsaw grouper is no longer occurring."

We applaud the leadership of Rep. Goldfinch and the efforts of the South Carolina House in fighting scientifically unjustified fishing restrictions that would unnecessarily harm the fishing industry.

And finally, please help us by joining the CFSF at the highest level that you can afford today by clicking here.

To protect jobs, the coastal economy, and the availability of fresh domestic seafood to consumers, we need your financial support! The CFSF is nonprofit organization that relies on membership dues and contributions to operate.

Thank you in advance for your support!

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Tom Swatzel
Executive Director 

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