Threat of limiting the number of charter and head boats is back

It's back.

After delaying for several months, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will once again consider limiting the number of charter and head boats in the snapper-grouper fishery when it meets next week in Atlantic Beach, NC.

This despite overwhelming opposition from fishery stakeholders, a plunge in charter and head boat fishing effort and effectively no growth in snapper-grouper for-hire permits.

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 the snapper-grouper “For-Hire Moratorium Amendment” by clicking here. Please make your comments no later than Thursday, December 7th.

Click here for the limited entry amendment.

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 for-hire trips fell by 2.4 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Click here to see the graph.

From 2008 to 2015, the number of for-hire snapper-grouper permits actually fell by 4 percent. Since 2008, the only real growth in the number of permits has been since the control date or cutoff for future limited entry was announced last year, spawning a 6.5 percent jump in permits from fishermen who didn’t want to be left out.

This has nothing to do with fishery sustainability, and everything to do with picking winners and losers in the charter and head boat business.

I urge you to click here today to access the SAFMC online comment form and tell them you’re opposed to the For-Hire Moratorium Amendment. These “on the record” comments are crucial. Please make your comments no later than Thursday, December 7th.

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!

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