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Thread: Public Comment- Greater Amberjack and Red Snapper

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Public Comment- Greater Amberjack and Red Snapper

    It’s me again… nagging you to submit some public comment before the next Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting. I want to give you heads up and let you know that there are a couple of issues that the Council plans to take final action on at the end of October. If you have any opinions about and in season closure for greater amberjack or the number of red snapper that can be harvested in 2011 and 2012 please read about what’s happening below. I strongly suggest that you submit some public comment about what you’re thinking and why you feel that way. Instructions on how to submit your thoughts can be found below.

    Council is scheduled to finalize its preferred alternative to close the recreational greater amberjack season June 1 - July 31st beginning in 2011.
    In 2008, Reef Fish Amendment 30A established a recreational quota of 1,368,000 pounds whole weight for greater amberjack. This quota was developed because greater amberjack has been considered to be overfished and undergoing overfishing since 2003. The stock is managed under a rebuilding plan that aims to allow greater amberjack to rebuild to a healthy population size by 2012.

    In 2009, the greater amberjack recreational season was closed on October 24th . This early seasonal closure was made as an attempt to avoid going over quota and triggering additional accountability measures. Despite this closure, the quota was exceeded by 124,817 pounds whole weight. The accountability measures that followed deducted the 2009 overage from the 2010 quota, which reduced the estimated length of the 2010 greater amberjack season. Current projections estimate that the 2011 quota will be reached by late August (if there is no overage in 2010.) Council has been considering alternatives to the trend of early seasonal closures.

    Alternative 1- No action- do not establish a recreational seasonal closure. (Close season when the amberjack quota is met.)

    Alternative 2- Closed season March 1 – May 31.

    Alternative 3- Closed season May 1- June 30.

    Alternative 4- Closed season June 1- July 31.

    Currently, Council has selected alternative 4 as its preferred alternative. Closing the greater amberjack season from June 1 to July 31 would allow anglers to target a trophy species year round. Recreational shallow-water grouper season is closed in February and March each year, and red snapper season does not open until June 1. Scheduling the greater amberjack closure for the months of June and July should allow fishermen to have at least one “trophy” species to target year round. The Council is scheduled to take final action at its October meeting, and I suggest you submit public comment in either written form or in person. Directions on how to submit your thoughts can be found below.

    Council is scheduled to finalize its preferred alternative to increase the red snapper total allowable catch for 2011 contingent upon the 2010 total allowable catch not being exceeded.
    A recent red snapper update assessment indicated that, although it is still considered overfished, the red snapper stock is no longer undergoing overfishing. This means that that the total allowable catch can be increased without compromising the plan to rebuild the red snapper stock to a healthy size.

    In 2010 the total allowable catch limit for red snapper was set at 6,945,000 pounds. A regulatory amendment is required to increase the total allowable catch for subsequent years. The Council is considering a few alternatives for the near future of the red snapper total allowable catch. Please note that for alternatives 2 and 3 the total allowable catch increases are contingent upon the previous years total allowable catch not being exceeded. If the previous years limit is exceeded, the following years total allowable catch will not increase as scheduled.

    Alternative 1- No Action- total allowable catch will remain at the levels set in 2010. This would allow a total of 6,945,000 pounds to be harvested (3,542,000 lbs for the commercial sector and 3,403,000 for the recreational sector.)

    Alternative 2- Increase the 2011 total allowable catch to 7,185,000 pounds, resulting in a 3,664,000-pound quota for the commercial sector and a 3,521,000 pound quota for the recreational sector

    Alternative 3- Increase the total allowable catch for 2011 and 2012. 2011 increase would be the same as above, and the 2012 total allowable catch would be set at 7,485,000 pounds. This would establish a 3,817,000-pound quota for the commercial sector and a 3,668,000-pound quota for the recreational sector in 2012.

    The council has selected alternative 2 as its preferred alternative regarding the red snapper total allowable catch. Choosing this alternative does not inhibit an increase for 2012, it will require another regulatory amendment be written and voted upon in 2011 to increase the total allowable catch in 2012. Again, I suggest you submit public comment in either written form, or in person at the October Council meeting


    You can submit public comment by emailing gulfcouncil@gulfcouncil.org or by sending letters to The Gulf Council at 2203 North Lois Ave. Tampa, Fl 33607. Materials received on or before October 19, 2010 will be included in the briefing materials given to council members before the meeting, and all later arrivals will be passed along to council at its meeting. Please include your contact information and a rational for why you feel the way you do.

    If you care to comment in person the Council is scheduled to meet at the Embassy Suites at 4919 Constitution Ave in Baton Rouge, LA October 25, 2010 through October 29, 2010. Public comment will be taken beginning at 2:30pm on October 28, 2010.

    If you have any questions regarding these, or any other issues please don’t hesitate to contact me at Emily.muehlstein@gulfcouncil.org or (813)348-1630 ext.238.

    Your Chum,
    Emily Muehlstein
    Fisheries Outreach Specialist
    Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council

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    Based on past my experiences over the past 19 years with these public comment opportunities, if I thought my input would have ANY impact on the council's decision I might have shown up and given my 2 cents. However, based on past history, and the fact that the council has already selected its preferred alternatives, that pretty much negates any need for me to attend. Fool me once, shame on you. Letting the council fool me about 50 times over the past 19 years..............makes me an idiot for attending more than a few of these meetings.

    Gandy Girl, I know you are just the messenger, but for the record............I truly wish this were not the case. A person/business in my position has a tremendous amount to lose in this process. I honestly wish I could show up, give my EDUCATED opinion to the council, and truly believe that my comments were taken SERIOUSLY, and that my opinions at least had the POTENTIAL to become part of the rule making process. Unless or until this RUBBER STAMP council changes it's ways, COUNT ME OUT.
    Last edited by Ocean Rhino Spearguns; 10-14-2010 at 08:38 AM.
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    Gandy girl, are you just keeping us informed, or can you get answers?

    If so: Is there a by-catch number factored in AJ and RS in the rec side?
    Is this fictious number added to the total quota there by reduceing the actual pounds comming to the dock?
    If there is a by-catch number on AJ, how is it calculated?

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    i've been to many public input meetings and i've never seen the publics input make any difference in their decision making.

    here is an idea. why doesn't the gulf council close grouper, amberjack, and red snapper all at the same time for 6 months. that way the recreational sector will die a quick death instead of this slow painful agony.

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    I can remember going to a few of those meetings and seeing Ben (Fishkilla) with his video camera. I wish he could play back some of his video for you. Instead of "all" council members watching and listening to the person speaking from the general public. Some were texting on their cell phones,gathering their paperwork and notebooks together, far off look on their faces (their mind was elsewhere), etc.. A few actually were paying attention. I finally stopped banging my head against the brick wall and no longer go.

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    I'm going to echo the same sentiments above-

    Does public input do anything but mark off a check box that says "we solicited public input" as part of the process.

    I've seen overwhelming public input on issues that were completely ignored by the pre-chosen decision.

    The only way we've gotten anything done is through contacting our elected representatives or the courts.

    Why bother wasting our time or yours when this is just a charade, or worse, used to collect ammunition against different opinions when the court or representative route is used?

    Since the people on the council are 'experts' (despite not fishing or diving), what do we 'little people' hope to accomplish other than satisfying some bureaucratic feel-good provision of "we solicited input!"

    (Can you give any example where public commentary changed the preferred selection- and by this I mean these comments, not the public raising up and raising hell with their elected representatives).
    "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." A. Lincoln

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    Yup I agree with all of the above.
    we are all wayfarers with a wish to stay alive
    for a cause for a dream
    theres much to move in a moving sea

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    The only public input that the Gulf Counsel even considers is that from a Federal judge in a court order, and even then they often don't comply and should be held in contempt of court.
    Don't tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don't tell them where they know the fish.
    Mark Twain

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    The only reason most people show up to these meetings these days is to draw in press coverage in hopes that a politician above and beyond the clutches of the NMFS will observe the public contempt. Not a single person in any of the meetings believes they will be heard. In the SAFMC meetings, the council members actually roll eyes to comments from time to time.

    At the last SAFMC meeting in Canaveral I believe they had 1000 or more people at a public input meeting with only 2 or 3 public commentators supporting the closure. Yet it happens. Explain that bullshit!

    So let's evaluate this a bit, shall we? Here we have public input meetings where many who have been involved with in the past 20 years don't care anymore because the council obviously doesn't take public input into consideration. When these laws are instated, what makes you think many in general will abide by them, and if not, how on earth can the NMFS enforce them if they CAN'T EVEN EFFECTIVELY ENFORCE THE ONES THEY HAVE NOW???!!!!??? That's great diplomacy, invite people to public input meetings and openly ignore them, take away their rights and livelihood, come onto the forums and act like the NMFS gives a shit, informing us of issues we've known for months yet answering any specific question with a referral to someone else or a "go look it up yourself" response, expect the people to respect their laws founded on bullshit, and in the end, only have a few state enforcement officers make one or two examples out of the lawbreakers all the while knowing that they have created a perfect storm for a serious poaching problem.

    Better up the law enforcement budget. I sure as shit don't believe in breaking the law, but this country was founded on contempt for bullshit laws, so I guess illegal harvest may become more widespread when a government mismanages a public resource that impacts people's lives. There are a lot of good honest people out there who work hard for their dollar, who take off work (no $$) to be ignored at these meetings, and come to learn that a 500:1 public rejection of closures doesn't mean squat. That goes over real well There sure are some real brainiacs there at the NMFS. Let's spend all this money making up bullshit science to push all these bullshit laws to support the anti-fishing agenda but have no money to enforce it. Brilliant.
    Last edited by inletsurf; 10-13-2010 at 04:41 PM.
    we are all wayfarers with a wish to stay alive
    for a cause for a dream
    theres much to move in a moving sea

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    MRFSS

    "pick your closure"
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -sedar-mrfss-darts-jpg  
    we are all wayfarers with a wish to stay alive
    for a cause for a dream
    theres much to move in a moving sea

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    Righteous Rant! Every word true too! I'll never forget the guy who brought the sweet video of a reef loaded with mule snappers to show the 'experts' at the meeting and they wouldn't even pay attention to it. I felt so bad for that guy and instantly knew that I'd completely wasted my time driving 1.5 hours to goto this meeting. It's really sad. I gave up all hope years ago, left commercial spearfishing and never looked back, I feel for my friends I left behind, especially when Jan 1 hits.
    I still hope to own a boat one day and do all the things Steve does with his son.. but what's the point? There's almost nothing worth harvesting, you have to have a serious multi-species-targeted fishing/dive plan to make the day worth it. Something like: Hit the water at 4AM, haul ass to the break to catch the sunrise bite on pelagics, bottom fish the break for some muttons/beeliners/pinkies/triggers/groupers, come inshore dive for bugs and whatevers left of the grouper limit, come further inshore and dive for flounder/mangos/sheephead/triggers. So after hauling all my offshore tackle and a bunch of tanks, burning extra fuel for all the added weight, I think I ended up scrapping together a decent day. What a pain in the ass... and I had to run 150+ miles round trip to do it. Shit.. with the new MPA I can't even bottom fish the break. Thankfully since my plan worked out I don't have to pay for it all over again for another month or two since I loaded the freezer. It's downright criminal... it's getting to the point where it's just cheaper to goto the fish house, but that's no fun.
    Can someone please throw a jug for me. -Rob Wolfe

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    In many parts of the world, when the citizens are treated unfairly they rise up and run the bastards out of town.... but maybe it just doesn't hurt bad enough yet.... so much for "Serving the public"

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