SUN NEWS: Fishermen reeling over proposal to close famed Georgetown Hole to snapper-grouper fishing

“The Council for Sustainable Fishing and the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce were among the organizations that voiced concerns over additional closed (fishing) areas.

‘We are very wary of the proposal to restrict bottom-fishing in the Special Management Zones along the East Coast,’ chamber president Brad Dean said in the letter. ‘Currently there are large, expansive areas of protected marine areas, including deep-water coral Habitat of Particular Concern, in which fishing is prohibited and/or greatly restricted. Likewise we are not aware of any systematic approach to monitoring the effectiveness of these closed areas, must less expansion of restricted areas.’

…Wayne Mershon, president of the Council for Sustainable Fishing based in Murrells Inlet, spoke at the public hearing last week. Mershon is a member of the SAFMC's Snapper-Grouper Advisory Panel and proposed an area offshore of the existing Northern S.C. MPA or an expansion of that MPA be considered in lieu of the Georgetown Hole SMZ options.

‘Should the fishery council decide to move forward anyway with these SMZs, we ask that they adopt the alternatives with the smallest possible footprint to limit impacts on fishermen and communities,’ said Tom Swatzel, a former SAFMC council member and executive director of the Council for Sustainable Fishing.”

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Council for Sustainable Fishing