charter fisherman's Association

It is our mission to ensure American public access to fishing, to engage and represent
the Charter for Hire industry, and to ensure long-term sustainability of our fisheries.

CFA Newsroom

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  • 08 Apr 2011 11:29 PM | Michael Jennings

    Longer red snapper fishing seasons on horizon
    with help from problem-solving charter fishermen



                 Contact: Gary Jarvis, Charter Fisherman’s Association,, PHONE 850-259-5482


    Innovative proposals are moving through the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council  process for better managing heavily targeted Gulf red snapper caught aboard charter and head boats by anglers. Such programs could produce longer fishing seasons, more fishing time for anglers, better business opportunities, and sustainable fishing practices.

    Current fishing rules hurt anglers and fishing businesses by severely limiting fishing with short seasons, while promoting wasteful discarding of perfectly good fish because of size limitations. . Moreover, the rules also fail to manage the fishery effectively, the recreational limit of red snapper has been greatly exceeded for most of the last 20 years.

    “Our businesses make a huge contribution to coastal economies, but they’re being hung out to dry with these bad fishing rules,” said Johnny Williams, a head boat owner in Galveston, Texas and Charter Fisherman’s Association member. 

    The Council’s Limited Access Privilege Program Advisory Panel is currently working on two innovative, voluntary pilot management projects: a “days at sea” program for charter boats and an individual fishing quota program for head boats.

    “The Council deserves praise for attempting to tackle this recreational fishing management problem in new ways,” said Gary Jarvis, charter boat owner in Destin, Florida and Charter Fisherman’s Association President. “These voluntary pilot projects are critical to show us if alternative management can work.”

     Members of the Charter Fisherman’s Association and  other fishing and conservation groups are working  towards long-term solutions to increase fishing time, improve businesses, and ensure a sustainable fishery.  Other industry groups criticize this progress and advocate doing nothing, or worse: “Quick-fixes” that lack any conservation considerations in order to avoid responsibility.

    The Council has created several ways for recreational fishing groups and others to advocate for new management options for the red snapper and other valuable fisheries. The Charter Fisherman’s Association is also working to collaborate with other solutions-driven fishing organizations. Contact the Association at or get involved at 
  • 15 Feb 2011 11:38 PM | Michael Jennings

    February 15, 2011 4:44 PM , By Gary Jarvis, Captain's Log

    The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council met last week in Gulfport, Miss., and discussed several important management reforms for recreational fishing, including a concept called Sector Separation. Such proposals seek to stabilize struggling charter fishing businesses and increase fishing time for anglers.

    Sector Separation would follow scientific and legal suggestions to manage valuable Gulf fish by the groups that catch them: commercial fishermen, charter fishermen and anglers.

    Hundreds of charter fishermen have expressed support for the Sector Separation over the last three years.

    Existing regulations undefined like short fishing seasons undefined leave very little time to take customers fishing and are killing Gulf charter businesses. The charter for-hire sector needs its own fishery management plan in order to modernize the way they run their businesses. A failing charter fishing industry hurts local economies, families of fishermen, and limits fishing time for anglers.

    Currently, charter fishermen and anglers are managed together and share the same pool of fish. By taking responsibility for their own industry through Sector Separation, charter fishermen can improve how they count and report the fish they catch and develop management systems that provide more flexibility for their businesses.

    It makes good sense that the different fishing groups would be managed separately, because they each operate very differently. Commercial fishermen provide food to Americans; charter fishermen run tourism-driven businesses that provide anglers the ability to go fishing; and private boat recreational anglers fish on their own for fun.

    Charter businesses take millions of anglers fishing in the Gulf of Mexico each year and many customers spend a considerable amount of money to travel, lodge and eat in the area. With charter for hire businesses operating under Sector Separation, recreational anglers will still catch and keep all the fish.

    We commend the council for considering Sector Separation. The council should move swiftly to adopt separate sectors for charter fishermen and their recreational anglers in all Gulf fisheries.

    Gary Jarvis is a Destin fisherman and president for the Charter Fisherman’s Association, a group of Gulf of Mexico fishermen who want improve the health of the fishery and charter businesses, in order to provide more fishing time for anglers. Visit for more information.

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