Using the system

“The very people charged with managing these public marine resources for all Americans are using the system to position themselves to own those resources.”

Those are the words of Center for Sportfishing Policy President Jeff Angers in a just published opinion piece in Sport Fishing Magazine entitled “Gulf Scandal Looms for South Atlantic” about the proposed pilot snapper-grouper catch share program involving sitting South Atlantic Fishery Management Council members that the fishery council will consider in just 10 days on March 9th.

More from the opinion piece:

“The alarming investigative series “Hooked Up” (Fox8/New Orleans) dug deep into the muck of the controversial giveaway of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico. Now the stage is being set to export this swamp to the South Atlantic…

A group calling itself the South Atlantic Commercial Fishing Collaborative is using the oft-abused federal Exempted Fishing Permit process to request a two-year pilot program to assign private ownership privileges for those six species to up to 25 commercial vessels.

In a brazen display, the South Atlantic Commercial Fishing Collaborative currently consists of four individuals, including two sitting South Atlantic Fishery Management Council members and one former member.”

The “brazen” individuals who Angers states are “using the system” to position themselves to own our snapper-grouper fishery are SAFMC Vice Chair Charlie Phillips, SAFMC member Chris Conklin and former SAFMC member Jack Cox, all commercial snapper-grouper fleet owners and dealers.

This effort would not only give these insiders effective ownership of a significant portion of the snapper-grouper fishery, it would exempt them from all trip limits and all quota and seasonal closures.

There is very little time left to stop this effort to create a catch share scheme like the one in the Gulf of Mexico, where a few ‘snapper barons’ own nearly all of the fishery and the majority of fishermen either become ‘serfs’ having to pay the barons for the right to fish or they become unemployed.

There are just 10 days before the SAFMC will decide whether to support the Exempted Fishing Permit application for this insider pilot catch share program or not.

If you have not already done so, please tell the SAFMC today that you’re opposed to the pilot catch share program permit and any form of catch shares by clicking here and using their online comment form. Just a sentence or two will do.

Please do it today!

Thank you in advance for your efforts. Through a united effort we can save our fisheries from privatization and our fishing jobs.

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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