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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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  • 17 Jun 2021 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Below is information pulled directly from the "Marine Safety Information Bulletin" USCG MSIB 02-21 Ch-2 

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an Order pdf icon[PDF – 11 pages] on January 29, 2021 requiring the wearing of masks by people on public transportation conveyances or on the premises of transportation hubs to prevent spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. This Order was effective as of 11:59 p.m. February 1, 2021 and was published in the Federal Registerexternal icon on February 3, 2021. CDC will be amending this Order as soon as practicable, to not require that people wear masks while outdoors on conveyances or while outdoors on the premises of transportation hubs.

    On June 10, 2021, CDC announced that, until it can amend the January 29, 2021, Order, it will exercise its enforcement discretion regarding certain aspects of the Order to not require that people wear masks while outdoors on conveyances or while outdoors on the premises of transportation hubs. CDC requests that Federal partners and any cooperating state and local entities exercise similar enforcement discretion. This announcement does not affect any existing exemptions or exclusions of the Order. Subject to how other federal partners and state and local entities define “outdoors,” CDC understands “outdoors” to refer to any open-air area.

    Conveyance operators must continue to require all people onboard to wear masks when boarding and disembarking, and for the duration of travel, unless they are located in outdoor areas of the conveyance (if such outdoor areas exist on the conveyance). Operators of transportation hubs must require all persons to wear a mask when entering or while located in the indoor premises of a transportation hub.

    All passengers on public conveyances (e.g., airplanes, ships*, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, ride-shares) traveling into, within, or out of the United States (including U.S. territories) as well as conveyance operators (e.g., crew, drivers, conductors, and other workers involved in the operation of conveyances), regardless of their vaccination status, are required to wear a mask over their nose and mouth. Unless otherwise required by the operator, or federal, State, tribal, territorial, or local government, people are not required to wear a mask when located in outdoor areas of a conveyance (if such outdoor areas exist on the conveyance).

  • 29 Mar 2021 8:12 PM | Gary Jarvis
    Captains and owners of professional charter fishing businesses we need you, to help us.... help you.

    2021 is off to a good start in the Gulf of Mexico charter fishing industry and with hard work and good weather it has potential to be stellar as folks are more than ready to get out of the house and out on the water. Here at CFA we are asking for your involvement in your future as CFA begins to work towards another history setting attempt to promote sustainable fishing management with sector allocations in our other major reef species. Your membership ( and your $100 ) in CFA not only facilitates our efforts but give us the strength in numbers to ensure success in the political and fishery management process. Our efforts to get AM 40 signed into Law in 2014 created a value in your business that has translated into hundreds of thousands of dollars in your pockets with the 2 months red snapper seasons and increase in value of your permits and businesses. Our next efforts will only increase this and ensure the generational continuance of our industry for decades to come. I ask each of you to invest at least $100 for a one year professional crew membership and for those who can or understand the value CFA has brought to you , your business and family to sign up as a $500 CFA Patron membership.

    Captain Gary Jarvis Executive Director CFA

    PS At the top of the CFA FB page is a join now button, hit it and use your CCC to sign up now 

    See Less

  • 29 Mar 2021 6:58 PM | Gary Jarvis

    ntroduction of CFA plan to Chairman Gulf council

    The Charter Fisherman’s Association brought sector separation and subsequently Amendment 40 to this managing body back in 2008. And since its inception into a FMP in 2014 the net benefit that our plan would have on the fishery and public access to it has exceeded all of our expectations. Also, the biological and management benefits for the fishery has been a proven success. So with the example on the overall benefit of sector specific allocation for the charter for hire sector of individual fish species (red snapper in the case of Am 40) ) The CFA would like to start the discussion on creating future For-hire management plan other than the current proposed amendment paths.


    The purpose of this initiative is to start development on management alternatives as current planned amendments fail to provide a viable path to long term solutions for accountability, sustainability, and access for the For-hire industry. And how that impacts the public saltwater anglers that rely upon these federally permitted vessels for their access point to the EEZ fisheries. Also with the implementation of Am 50 that has given states the authority and responsibility to manage red snapper out to 200 miles there now is a viable reason to establish sector allocations for each user group based on its historical participation levels in the other key reef fish species.


    Amendment 40 has provided the For-hire industry with a documented level of unprecedented accountability within the Red Snapper fishery. Under this implemented amendment, the For-hire sector has remained under the allocation’s ACL and ACT and has effectively not overfished. The success of fishing within the sector’s allocation over the last 6 years has been solid proof for how removing uncertainty in the catch and effort can benefit the anglers this sector represents. It has also stabilized the industry by providing expected season lengths that allows for anglers to book their trips to the coast with confidence that the fishery will remain open. The success of this amendment does not stop at the angling opportunities and access level purview. The ability to operate within the quota also has enormous benefits to the growth of the stock and keeps the rebuilding plan on track concerning the impact from the For-hire sector’s harvest level. Amendment 40 has imposed a train of thought among industry leadership on how sector allocations and the approved and soon to be implemented ( SEFHIER data collection program) could allow for greater angling

    opportunities among the five major reef fish species. (Red Snapper, Grey Triggerfish, Greater Amberjack, Gag Grouper, and Red Grouper) and much needed management flexibility for the fleet itself.

    Future Improvements and Additions

    The CFA would like to see from the NMFS/Council staff a similar framework and structure that was addressed in portions of Amendment 41 ( some of it can actually be copied and pasted into a new white paper) as it applies to allocation options, time lines for them and preferred options for the council to debate. The main difference would be this FMP is not structured for a rights-based management system and we desire it to be structured to include all charter for hire & head boats as one sector like how our permits are issued and the present the Am 40 red snapper plan is executed.

    We are formally requesting a planned amendment constructed to address the other four major reef fish species ( gag &amp; red grouper, grey triggerfish and greater Amberjack ) or one that will encompassed all five ( red snapper included with the four previous stated ). The industry is striving to find long term solutions for the fisheries to continue to follow rebuilding plans and in turn benefit our anglers and businesses. It is our desire and intent that a major reef fish amendment be structured that provides separate recreational federally permitted For-hire sector allocations, bag limits and seasons


    Modifications to For-hire reporting requirements are not yet implemented. The other four major species do not have a sector specific allocations, amendments, or plans


    Implementation of mandatory daily submissions of catch and effort data by all For-hire vessels ( SEFHIER 2021) A planned amendment addressing either the remaining four major reef fish species or one that address all five-major species Management strategies that include: Sector Allocations, Bag limit and Seasons, and open door for other unexplored long-term solutions specific to the CFH sector like regional management of seasons and catch


    The industry wants long term solutions. And there is no better place to start than replicating a proven success story for our fishery like Am 40. We feel that the other four major species should have a similar plan. That those stocks should also enjoy the accountability and biological protections provided to Red Snapper under Am 40 and the access that a successful rebuilding fishery provides to the public. With that access also come the assurance of the Historical heritage and generational transfer of the charter for hire industry in the many coastal communities that depend on these fleets for economic success. This is the key motivation behind the idea and push for this is long term sustainable solutions.

    We also hope that our data collection program can be used as an example for a future effort to reduce data uncertainty in the rest of the recreational fisheries. No matter how the For-hire sector is handled in the future, catch and effort data is and has been a goal of our industry. We have always expressed this desire to be part of the solution and remove the uncertainty from the data. We have always felt like we have been a victim of the extrapolation and survey type data collection programs. No matter which way

    it is structured, we feel it is imperative to do our part and close the gap in data in the For-hire sector. So this is our official request for a new day in fishery management for the CFH sector as we move into

    the second decade of the 2000’s , it is our desire to develop these discussions so that our industry has a suite of options that allow us to continue our historical participation in US recreational fisheries.

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  • 29 Mar 2021 6:54 PM | Gary Jarvis

    Since we introduced the CFA fishery management plan to create sector allocations in the remaining major reef fish species IE red and gag grouper ,amberjacks and gray triggerfish there's been much discussion. One of the arguments against putting grouper in this plan is the issue of the data showing the low percentages of catch for the charter sector for red and gag grouper.

    My first comment before we look at any numbers is the fact ( or theory ) that those numbers will reflect the execution of the grouper fishery in the charter for hire industry historically . They also reflect the execution of the fishery in the private boat sector. And this data is what's going to be used to determine sector allocations if an amendment is formed and signed by the Secretary of Commerce into law.

    The reason CFA is pushing for sector's allocation in the other major reef fish is the very same reason we did it originally for red snapper. Its the same dynamic when we recognized due to us being a limited access privilege program with moratorium fishing permits that we were losing the war of access by attrition. Our access in that fishery was being diminished greatly by the fact that our main competitors the private angling sector has no limitations on the amount of participants or effort outside of seasons of bag limits. So to stop that deterioration of our access we had to do something different and the only way to survive was to create sector allocations for that species for the CFH sector to ensure the historical transfer of our industry to the next generation.

    And more importantly provide a fishery management plan that would protect the resource by stopping over fishing in our sector and ensuring a secure level of access for the non-boat owning public. Needless to say Amendment 40 has been a lifesaver for our industry from key West all the way to Brownsville Texas. Not only did it provide us a solid business model but it also increased the value of our permits in the sustainability and viability of being charter business owners. And what we now recognize even though it's a much slower process our access to all these other reef fish species is still death ,but because not at the rate as red snapper its still death by a thousand cuts.

    We recognize the percentages of catch in our sector is very low for gag and red grouper But a large part of that is less than 20% of CFH permit holders catch a 90% of the resource during the regular open seasons for these species. So there's two key issues one is with the latest stock assessments and the possibility of reduced seasons under the present management plan it's going to create even a more accelerated reduction in catch in our industry and loss of access but the most alarming stat of all if you look in the white paper is the change in effort it's happening in all four species.

    The change in effort the pat 9 years in relation to the entire history of our fisheries is big in AJ and Triggers but will only highlight the red grouper and gag. Red Grouper Effort private rec vs CFH 1992-2019 priv 92.2% cfh 7.8% last 8 yrs 2012-2019 pri 90.1%- cfh

    9.9% red grouper is the only species where there is a slight increase in effort for the charter for higher sector and some of that could be because red grouper fishing got tougher after the red tide events.

    The charter guys were the ones still having success because they ran further. But this could really change if the new Red Grouper FMP reduces the season to 6 months or less in 2021 . But gag grouper it's a total different story the effort went from 88.4% - 11.6% using the whole history 1992-2019 to a whopping change of 93.8% priv to a mere 6.2 % CFH in gag effort using the last 9 yrs.

    In other words the increase in effort by the private boat sector has vastly reduced access and effort for gag fishing for the charter for higher industry and their customers. And the catch attributed to that change in effort is also evident with the private boat catch at 80% from 1992 to 2019 to a whopping 89.9% 2012 to 2019. The hand writing is on the wall, the historical catch of the Charter industry has been eaten away by the increase in effort by a group whose participant level has no limitations.

    And lastly the point I want to make for the people that have been against sector allocations in the grouper fisheries because the percentages are so low is the fact and it's been proven by amendment 40 that once you have your sector allocation the CFH participants in the fishery will pretty much continue to have increased access as the fishery rebuilds. 14.1% may not sound like much but we're not talking about an individual fish quota to where you're splitting it 1,220 ways that 14.1% represents ( 1992-2019

    771,111.41 lbs annually ) more than 90% of that fishery being caught on the Florida West Coast using the historical seasons and bag limits. That would only change if stock assessments reduce the catch for all recreational fishers. Other wise that 14.1 % will take all year to catch . Even the data shows there are well more than a thousand permit holders that won't land a red or gag grouper in an entire year. ( panhandle with almost 350 permits is only 1.5 % of red grouper landings ) as an example.

    Having sector allocations in these other species will preserve a set access level for the none boat owning public, prevent overfishing in that portion of the fishery , ensure the CFH sector has generational success as the next young fishers steps to the plate and it WILL bring more value to your business and permits as proven by the success of AM 40 .

    Capt Gary Jarvis

    Executive Director CFA  



  • 29 Mar 2021 6:48 PM | Gary Jarvis

    A good article and interview with the head of the USCG please read

  • 29 Mar 2021 6:44 PM | Gary Jarvis

    So I am sending this out to remind every federal permit holder in the Gulf that we need your support as we go into the spring management cycle with a big list of things CFA is going to do to improve your profits, access to our important fisheries and value to your business. A annual professional CFA membership is $100 for the next 12 month. The actions of our organization in the PAST AND IN THE FUTURE WILL BRING YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS each year as we forge on to improve our industry. To be effective and provide needed expenditures to manage our organization we need your membership , voice and financial support...please join today at FYI  we have a new payment system that's easy to use and will take most major credit cards.  Also a reminder your membership is tax deductible as a business expense because CFA is a 501-6C non for profit organization.  

  • 15 Jan 2021 2:12 PM | Gary Jarvis


    Brian Knapp – head of USCG investigations for sector St. pete – cell 813-918-7262

                    More than willing to come back to any future meeting to discuss more of the info below!!

                    Offered to attend any future meetings

    Taylor Wright – Enforcement liaison for sector st. pete – 901-574-9728


    Report to USCG command center if its something happening now or living marine resource related (outside of the list that Brian Knapp’s office handles below) - (727) 824-7543

    USCG reporting direct to Brian Knapp’s cell phone IF it applies to the following, including online proof, photos, or video

    Non-licensed operator – improperly licensed operator

    OUPV license taking more than six or OUPV vessel taking more than six

    Inspected vessel taking more than COI

    Not enrolled in drug consortium or not having mate enrolled in consortium. Anyone on your vessel who is in safety sensitive position must be enrolled 1)Also they must have pre employment drug test by consortium (remember to emphasize its pre-employment and enrolling them in consortium when you reach out!)

    2)If they pull anchor or untie dock lines they are safety sensitive and must be enrolled

     3) If they don’t pull anchor, don’t stand watch, don’t ever do anything but bait hooks – not required

     4) EVERY crew member on inspected vessel listed on COI must be enrolled



  • 15 Jan 2021 2:10 PM | Gary Jarvis

    January 13th, 2021 – 6:30pm

    Meeting with Special guests from law enforcement to discuss illegal charter issue rampant along our west coast


    Manny Antonaras – Special agent in charge, south east division -727-824-5344 –

    Matt Walia – Compliance liaison officer – 727-824-5334 –

    Joe Scarpa – Supervisory enforcement officer -  cell 727-743-2326 –

    REPORTING – hotline is BEST – (800)853-1964

                    If happening now, they will call back

                    If happened in past or online tip they often will not follow up, but you can request call back

                    Most is covert operations for following up

                    Very little overt action and patrols due to 12 officers covering from NC to Texas including Caribbean


    Captain Scott Pearce – Statewide investigations & marine law – cell 850-528-4546

    Major Roger Young – Regional Commander – cell 813-376-6418 –

    Captain Bill Holcomb – cell 813-244-5161 -

    FROM MAJOR ROGER YOUNG: Please feel free to have anyone call either myself or Captain Holcomb then we will direct them to right person for their area or get them the cell phone numbers for the Lieutenants and or Officers.  They work shift work so we try not give their numbers out in mass but put mine and the Captains numbers out there and we will connect them.  Also, our dispatch center is 24-7 and can put anyone in direct contact with any officer or Lieutenant that is on duty 813-558-5050 or 888-404-3922. 

    Lt George Wells (captain of the gulf sentry) –

    Lt Mike Bibeau (who talked about recent capture of illegal charter)

    Lt Matt Dallarosa –

    REPORTING – hotline is best, but can also follow up online & call local officer contact

                    888-404-3932 hit number 7 – if actively happening this is best option this will contact dispatch

                    Online reporting portal ->

                    If happened in the past or online tip the online portal is great option

                    FWC also recommended following up with local contact if you have one (we will get local’s info for everyone)

                    Finally, when you report to FWC you can request call back they will enjoy following up, they want to!

                    DON’T USE ASKFWC.COM WEBSITE!!!

  • 14 Jan 2021 1:10 PM | Gary Jarvis

    Here are the latest resources to use -> to make etrips account

    You either choose personal or company account. If a company look at how its listed on your permit and make sure to use exact spelling and punctuation – if personal, have the permit holders info & birthdate ready

    support number – 800-984-0810

    support email –

  -> to make VESL account

    You need will your ‘official number’ from your permit & the birthdate from the permit to make account, if a corporation owns permit, then you use the date listed on sunbiz

    support number – 202-883-8375

    support email –

    SERO contact if your account is pending – Alicia -

    Sefhier program contact info

    The helpline is: 1-833-707-1632

    The email is:

    Gulf of Mexico ELB Resource Sheet

    NOAA Fisheries Gulf ELB website:

    Hotline: 1-833-707-1632


    Gulf Council links and instructional videos:

    This link also includes 3 instructional videos on the electronic logbooks. 

      Informative blog by University of Florida and Sea grant Agent, Michael Sipos on the reporting requirements.


    Reporting software and account creation:

    eTrips Account Information:

    Support number – 800-984-0810

    Support email –

    Notes: you either choose personal or company account and then if company look at how it's listed on your permit and make sure to use exact spelling and punctuation – if personal, have the permit holders info & birthdate ready.

    VESL Account Information: 

    Support number – 202-883-8375

    Support email – 

    SERO contact if your account remains pending – Alicia -

    Notes: you need your ‘official number’ from your permit & the birthdate from the permit to make account, if corporation owns permit than you use the date listed on sunbiz.


    How to enter a hail out and report in VESL

    Before leaving, open the app and hit 'create a trip' then hit that blue square upper right corner, once done enter your vessel, captain name, departure and return times and return port then click 'done' and then hit the save button upper right corner

    Before offloading fish whether on the ride in or once back at the dock click 'find a trip' look up your 'pending' hail out you made that morning and enter all the other info like number of passengers, what you were targeting, cost of trip etc. and click done and save then scroll down on bottom right hit 'add detail' and then add your species (use the search feature to save time of scrolling) then enter how many you caught and kept and how many you caught and released

    Then once done click done, save and at the bottom should be a green submit button.... unless you have errors, if you have errors it will be red and at the top you can click 'show errors' and then you can fix what they are and then it will let you submit **REMEMBER - when you hail out there will always be errors since your only filling out that very top portions**

    Federal Register for VMS Requirements: FR to allow cellular based units - July 8, 2020 


    Federal Register for ELB final rule: - July 21, 2020








  • 24 Sep 2020 5:29 PM | Gary Jarvis

               CFA Large Fleet and Marina

                       Hurricane Plan

    Our management pays extra close attention to any possible tropical conditions anywhere in the region. Our team watches all storms closely to inform our clients, staff, crew and captains as soon as possible. Advanced communication to guests is important. Utilize auto generated system emails, texts and social media.

    If a possible threat develops, when we are five days out storm watch begins with tropical update schedule which is 8am, 11am, 8pm and 11pm EST. Must start our storm meetings by having daily meetings with updates to follow at each tropical update time. Daily meeting to discuss route of the storm, intensity, affects it will have on our area, and clearly define each of our duties preparing and supplies needed.

    1.    Fueling underground tanks.

    2.    checking hurricane doors, and shutters. Make sure inventory is correct and fasteners are on hand

    3.    Getting hurricane lines out of storage and sizing up.

    4.    Preparing hurricane anchors with ground tackle and pull from storage.

    5.    Checking for new hurricane holes for big boats to hide.

    6.    Take photos and videos of area and put is safe place. 

    7.    Assess current assets and ensure all are properly categorized

    8.    Ensure inventory on rental equipment and retail is up to date with insurance company

    9.    Secure all locations with vital inventory


    Three days out under a tropical storm / hurricane watch start active storm preparations

    1.    Cancel all Charters

    2.    Fuel all boats to the top and fill all the tanks with fresh water.

    3.    Fully load boats with ice so ice machine will make new fresh ice and we have ice stored.

    4.    Load the boats with all equipment lose on the docks, make sure fishing tackle is up to par levels.

    5.    Start moving smaller boats to predetermined and identified storm refuges and tied in a manner to allow the boats to move up and down with the tide and moored to take excessive wind.

    6.    Load the larger party boats with all the perishables foods from all galley storage.

    7.    Add hurricane lines to boats dock lines and put hurricane anchors on board.

    8.    Fill company vehicles with gas, extra diesel tanks filled too.

    9.    Start moving all equipment, computers, and stock up off of floors in marina store and storage area in parking garage. If a high storm surge is expected move equipment to necessary location to avoid damage.

    10. Confirm VHF communication equipment, prepare sat phones for each boat and mangers.

    11. Pass list of emergency phone numbers around with who they are and how they can help.


        Two days out and our area under tropical storm / Hurricane warnings.

    1.     All boats should be moved and secured on storm anchorage

             2.   Remove all free-standing signage, fish mounts, and decorations.

             3.   Lash down or remove bait tanks from dock and store in parking garage.

             4.   Start putting storm shutters up securing windows and doors in the marina    

             5.   Shore up and add water breaks, sandbags, and walls to break waves.

        6.   Shut off fuel system, shut power off, and secure all openings of marina fuel  


        7.   Confirm crews for boats if we need to take boats off the dock.

     Check VHF communications equipment between boats and base station &    satellite phones

        8.  Bring down computer servers and unplug all and secure in safe place.

    Secure all inventory locations with ‘hurricane locks’ to prevent theft during or post storm with keys only to those on site for storm & management.

    • 9.    Lock down main office


    Day of storm:

    1.    Get everyone set where they are riding the storm out, including crews for boats.

    2.    Move vehicles up to high ground.

    3.    Turn power off to the docks & offices


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