Charter and headboats at risk

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will once again consider limiting the number of charter and headboats in the snapper-grouper fishery when it meets next week in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.

This despite a plunge in for-hire fishing effort, no growth in for-hire permits and overwhelming opposition from fishermen.

To stop this effort to pick winners and losers in the for-hire fishery, one that will set up a “stock market” for permits and could be a first step toward for-hire catch shares, please send comments to the SAFMC today opposing limited entry by clicking here.

Since the 2007 reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which mandated very conservative Annual Catch Limits for all fisheries, for-hire fishing effort in the South Atlantic has plunged by nearly 40 percent from a peak of 306,441 angler trips in 2007 to just 188,114 trips in 2016.

Most recently trips fell by 2.4 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Click here to see the graph.

Additionally, this year there are nine less snapper-grouper for-hire permits from North Carolina through east Florida to Key West, than in 2009.

When the SAFMC last seriously considered for-hire limited entry last December, there were 169 written comments against the proposal and just 3 for it, yet SAFMC members are still pushing it.

One of the comments was from the National Association of Charterboat Operators, which describes the for-hire limited entry disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and states that the program is “working to eliminate for hire vessel owners from the industry.”

Click here for the NACO comments.

It would be one thing if for-hire limited entry was about fishery sustainability, but it’s not.

I urge you to click here today to access the SAFMC online comment form and tell them you’re opposed to for-hire limited entry. These “on the record” comments are crucial. Please make your comments no later than next Monday, June 12th.

Thank you in advance for your efforts!

Tom Swatzel
Executive Director
Council for Sustainable Fishing

P.S. The Council for Sustainable Fishing is a non-profit advocacy group that relies on membership dues to operate. Please help us continue our fight against catch shares and for fishermen and fishing communities by clicking here and joining today. Already a member – please consider a higher membership level to help. Thank You!

Contributions or gifts to the Council for Sustainable Fishing are not tax deductible as charitable contributions. However, they may be tax deductible as ordinary and necessary business expenses.

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