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 & 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.