Crystal clear on the Vision Project

This week, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council released the stakeholder comments it has received on the snapper-grouper Vision Project, a strategic plan that will have serious consequences for all snapper-grouper fishermen, dealers, wholesalers, and consumers.

The results are crystal clear: snapper-grouper stakeholders do not support job-killing catch share programs, expensive electronic vessel monitoring, and more no-fishing zones as ways to manage the fishery.

According to the stakeholder comments:

  • 97% oppose catch shares
  • 90% oppose use of closed fishing areas
  • 94% oppose use of electronic vessel monitoring

Click here for a summary of the comments.

My sincere thanks to all the fishery stakeholders who took the time to submit comments.

As you are aware, the SAFMC promised the Vision Project would be stakeholder-driven,” so the big question as the SAFMC meets on Monday in Hilton Head, SC to consider the direction of the Vision Project is whether the fishery council will honor its promise or not.

It’s troubling that catch shares, electronic monitoring, and more no-fishing zones even made it this far in the Vision Project. The SAFMC conducted 26 “port meetings” last year that were supposed to seek stakeholder input into the project. These meetings produced overwhelming input from stakeholders, like you, that these management measures are vehemently opposed, and should not be in the project plan.

Plus, catch shares, electronic vessel monitoring, and more no-fishing zones are not required to maintain a sustainable snapper-grouper fishery.

Having a “vision” or long-term strategic plan for the management of the snapper-grouper fishery is a good idea, but the plan must be driven by stakeholders as promised, not special interest groups.

The SAFMC’s credibility is clearly on the line with the Vision Project. We can only hope that the fishery council next week honors its promise to fishery stakeholders.

Again, thanks for your efforts!

Wayne Mershon

P.S. The Council for Sustainable Fishing is a non-profit fishing advocacy group that relies on membership dues to operate. We need your financial support to continue an effective advocacy campaign for fishing interests! Please join today by clicking here. Thank you!

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