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Integrate saltwater recreational/non-commercial considerations throughout NOAA and the federal marine fisheries management system.

See below for background information and comments received on this draft goal concept.

Background Information

Process, planning, and policy are fundamental to the efficient operation of organizations like NOAA and complex systems such as the federal fisheries management system.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What would you like us to know about this topic?
  2. How should we incorporate these considerations into the policy principles?

Some suggestions shared with NOAA Fisheries include:

Comments on Draft Goal

September 2014 Comments

  • As a general rule, non-commercial fisheries are considered in the NOAA/NMFS and Fishery Management Council process. The goal is unclear whether it is to include specific considerations or to clarify the current processes.
    Submitted September 12
  • As chair of the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management’s working group and a member of the Commission, I am submitting the following comments on behalf of the Commission and its working group regarding input for the National Saltwater Recreational Fishing Policy solicited by NOAA from the recreational fishing community. These comments are based on discussions conducted during the Commission workshops and working group meetings throughout 2013. Personally, I would like to thank NOAA staff for undertaking the effort to engage the public by conducting a series of meetings, webinars and seminars over the last four months. Many of the ideas discussed at these meetings reflect the sentiments and proposals that were suggested throughout the Commission’s workshops and have been made by the organizations supporting the Commission’s work. I and other Commissioners and working group members look forward to continuing to work with NOAA staff and the recreational fishing community at large as drafts of the policy and the final policy are developed.

    The Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fishing Management (Morris-Deal Commission) commends NOAA on its effort to engage the public and gather comments from anglers, charter captains and guides and the fishing and boating industry across our nation to help guide the formation of the National Saltwater Recreational Fishing Policy. The Commission and its supporting working group are also appreciative that NOAA personnel have recognized and credited the Commission and its recommendations made in the report “A Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries” as a primary driving force behind the effort to create this policy. As the Commission notes in its report, the creation of this policy is of vital importance because it will help the National Marine Fisheries Service continue to make progress towards elevating the importance of recreational fishing and recognizing the cultural and economic significance of recreational fishing to coastal communities and across America. Especially now, as lawmakers continue to advance their work and ramp up public engagement on a reauthorization of the Magnuson –Stevens Act, it is important that NOAA continue to incorporate saltwater angling into its policies and considerations of how to best manage our nation’s marine resources for the benefit of all Americans.

    The Commission’s comments are based on how the recommendations made in its Marine Vision report relate to the four policy draft goals listed in NOAA’s discussion guide distributed at the public engagement/town hall meetings. It’s worth noting that many of the Commission’s comments regarding what a national recreational fishing policy should include have already been detailed in the draft goals and ideas suggested to NOAA listed in the discussion draft. Many of these ideas were discussed at length during the Commission workshops and have been presented by the various recreational fishing and conservation groups that organized the Commission’s work. It is the hope of the Commission that these ideas serve as the foundation of the policy as it continues to be developed.

    DRAFT GOAL #2: Integrate saltwater recreational/non-commercial considerations throughout NOAA and the federal marine fisheries management system.

    The Commission and the organizations represented on the Commission working group have discussed at length, and NOAA/NMFS staff has repeatedly said, that the agency’s historic, institutional approach has been to manage commercial fisheries. Recreational fisheries have been, largely, an afterthought on the part of the agency as well as federal lawmakers. This approach is reflected in current laws and policy that manage saltwater fisheries. The Commission recognizes that historic approach is beginning to change. The fact that NOAA is undertaking the effort to develop this policy is a clear indication that progress is being made. This policy is just one step, however. In order to truly give recreational fishing the recognition it deserves from a cultural and economic standpoint, NOAA must make institutional changes to its approaches when it comes to personnel, data collection and analysis, habitat, interaction with state agencies and with the angling public.

    Again, the recommendations listed in the discussion guide which include: establishing full-time recreational coordinators in each region; incorporating recreational fisheries considerations into strategic plans of each region or office; supporting equitable representation on federal fishery management councils; and supporting exploration of additional opportunities for co-management with states for recreational fisheries within both EEZ and state waters fairly represent the recommendations made by the Commission. Those suggestions incorporate the Commission’s recommendations of: Adopting a revised approach to saltwater recreational fisheries management; allocating marine fisheries for the greatest benefit to the nation; and codifying a process for cooperative management.
    Submitted September 12
  • Recreational fishermen are more interested in abundant fishing opportunities than they are in the “maximum sustainable yield”—a commercially oriented concept. Anglers are also interested in opportunities to catch large fish—not necessarily kill, but catch. Recognizing motivational differences such as these may have significant implications for management strategies of recreational fisheries, but it may also impact commercial fishing practices. Reducing commercial bycatch, for example, would enhance recreational opportunity, as would leaving more forage fish in the water.
    Submitted September 12
  • Disproportionate Amount of council time spent on Commercial Fishing
    As I am involved in both MAFMC and SAFMC fisheries, I have attended several meetings and I am extremely discouraged by the lack of mention of recreational fishing in the fisheries process. The councils spent the vast majority of their time, and I think 80% is a conservative effort, discussing commercial fishing interests.

    This is an unfortunate misallocation of resources as our recreational fisheries are of such great economic importance. There seems to be little considerations of the needs of recreational fishermen.

    Time needs to spent discussing recreational objectives at every step of the process over simply sustaining commercial fisheries.

    Only Hearing from the Loudest Voices

    I attended a port meeting of the SAFMC visioning project and, while I was not surprised by those who were in attendance, I was ultimately very disappointed. The SAFMC’s project was great but the crowd, like many of the meetings (Morehead City, NC) was filled with powerful fish dealers, aggressive commercial fishermen and even a paid lobbyist for the seafood industry who used the meeting as a organizing sounding board. Being in the presence of such “loud voices” is not conducive to good conversation and is one reason why many recreational fishermen do not attend these meetings, let alone council meetings.

    Charter boat operators, particularly those who only measure their economic value in the amount of fish they land, are not an accurate cross section of recreational interests.

    I am hopeful that this request for comments receives many from the recreational industry, but if it doesn’t…than NMFS needs to find new ways to better reach out to the recreational fishing community at large.
    Submitted September 12
  • Your focus on recreational cod and haddock in the Gulf of Maine fishing is both puzzling and amusing, and a clear indication that the new regulations have more to do with politics than actual conservation. The commercial fishing vessels continue to rape the ocean floor while blaming their reduced catch on everything from seals and cormorants to climate change...anything to deflect reality.

    When the fishery finally does collapse it will be due to the lack of political will to tackle the real cause. I'm sure we will hear about some fantasy cause that surprisingly will have had nothing to do with gill nets and daggers, and the need for a massive welfare bailout for these poor fisherman whose industry collapsed through no fault of their own.

    I am sure your new regulations will work wonders for the cod population.
    Submitted September 12
  • Healthy fish populations are the key to healthy recreational fisheries. Once such populations are established, anglers must be given adequate access (i.e., quota share) to such fisheries over the course of a season.

    More balanced membership on fishery management councils is one way to better allocate resources among the various sectors. Generally, the state fisheries managers present on the council take reasoned and balanced approaches to management issues, and conservation is a strong consideration. Commercial representatives naturally favor their industry; as far as conservation considerations go, they range from very responsible individuals to members who do all that they can to frustrate necessary management measures (the failure of the commercially-dominated New England Fishery Management Council to restore most groundfish stocks, and its recent disaster with respect to Gulf of Maine cod, is a classic example of what happens when economic, rather than conservation/management, interests dominate a regional fishery management council).

    However, recreational representation on the councils is tricky, as both for-hire operators and private anglers are considered "recreational." At least in the Mid-Atlantic, the for-hire industry is generally hostile to conservation concerns and needed management measures, and place the short-term health of their industry above either the long-term health of fish stocks or the interests of private anglers. Often, they vote in near-accord with commercial interests, supporting the least restrictive measures and the most liberal quotas that have a chance of surviving review at the regional office. Thus, what is needed on the councils are more individuals who represent the public interest; they may be private anglers, academics or representatives of the conservation community. The important thing is that they do not have any direct or indirect economic interest in the fishery being managed, so that such fishery can more easily be managed for health and abundance, rather than for short-term economic yield.

    Giving states, which are not bound by the strictures of the Magnuson Act, a greater role in fisheries management would be disastrous mistake. Again, one need only look at the mid-Atlantic region to understand why.

    There, various species are managed by either the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council or the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The Mid-Atlantic Council has successfully ended overfishing for every species within its jurisdiction, and at the current time, none are overfished. Important recreational species such as summer flounder, black sea bass and scup, once badly overfished, have been fully restored to abundance. However, ASMFC's record is nowhere near as good. Since 2000 (the year picked because of the court decision in National Resources Defense Council v. Daley, which set the minimum standards for federal fisheries management plans), ASMFC has not successfully restored a single stock under its sole jurisdiction. Instead, it has seen stocks of weakfish, northern shrimp, southern New England lobster, southern New England/Mid-Atlantic winter flounder (jointly managed with the New England Council, itself a commercially-dominated disaster), river herring (most runs) and American shad (most runs) collapse. It has failed to recover tautog (where it took fully 15 years--from 1996 to 2011--to accept biologists' recommendation for the proper Fthreshold), and is reluctant to take needed measures to protect American eels, which is now a candidate species for a listing under the federal Endangered Species Act (listing decision to be made in 2015). Even its flagship species, the striped bass, is in trouble, and is almost certain to be overfished in 2015, if it is not already; even so, managers continue to dither, with some attempting to delay reducing fishing mortality to the Ftarget out of fear of the "socioeconomic impact" of managing the fishery in accordance with the best available science.

    And that, in the end, is the greatest flaw of state management; unlike federal managers, state managers are not required to employ the best available science and so, quite often, they don't. That has been apparent in a number of recent ASMFC decisions, when its Northern Shrimp Section set higher quotas than recommended by its technical committee (until the stock collapsed so badly that a moratorium was inevitable), by its Atlantic Lobster Management Board, which rejected a recommended 5-year moratorium in favor of dubious input controls, by its Weakfish Management Board, which also rejected a recommended moratorium, even though the stock was at a mere 3% of its spawning potential, because, as one board member noted, people should be able to take a weakfish home if they happened to catch one and by its Winter Flounder Management Board, which ignored the fact that the stock had collapsed and was only at 8% SPR and extended the recreational season from 60 days to a full 10 months. None of those were wise or responsible management decisions, but all were typical of ASMFC and, by extension, typical of what can be expected from state managers.

    Angling industry groups like the concept of state management, because they believe that it will prolong seasons, increase bag limits and provide for greater short-term profits for their members. "Anglers' rights" groups like it because their members can kill a few more fish for a few more years, and thus will be happy.

    But such management would harm the public interest in the long-term health of out fish stocks, and thus should be avoided.
    Submitted September 12
  • I have a dislike and trust of NMFS. It has shown it's colors in regards to jobs and job creation. It uses the MSA as for its actions to restrict the recreational fishing industry but it falls to use economic impact on costal communities. It dose not use real time data. It uses computer models to make calculated assumption of fishing effort. They are not accountable for their actions. They do not answer to congress mandates to improve data. It has been hijacked by environmentalist groups with endless money supply. In its effort to reduce the number of people that use the Resource that belongs to all of us not just for a chosen few. Please understand my dislike and trust of this Gov. agency.
    Submitted September 12
  • When fishery management entities primarily conduct the business of fishery management during business hours when recreational constituents are working at their full time jobs, the recreational sector cannot receive the consideration they deserve without a system they assures their representation in the legally mandated management systems. And NMFS makes it even worse by continuing a chimerical bias that is so bad they cannot even see it.
    Submitted September 11
  • Thank you for including the input from he recreational industry in our plans. Often I think decisions are weighted too much on dollars and we also need to place more emphasis in understanding the benefits of families spending time together in the outdoors. While these benefits are tough to quantify, we do know the long term family and individual well-being is highly enhanced. Extra time spent together fishing also grows the knowledge and appreciation of the outdoors which will in turn help form support for future involvement and policies.
    Submitted September 11
  • Something needs to be done to keep the recreational fisherman safe from fishing quotas that close the season due to commercial overcatch. The Red grouper Season being closed for the year on Sept. 16th is a good example. I find it hard to believe that the recreational fisherman has impacted the catch total enough to cause them to lose the rest of this year. I have been fishing in Florida for over 20 years and have NEVER been surveyed for Red Grouper statistics by NOAA. None of my fishing friends have been either. Florida Grouper rules allow an aggregate of three fish per angler per day. Reds need to be 20 inches and Gags 22 inches. Separate/monitor the quotas on Reds between the Commercial Line Boats and the recreational fisherman. The Line boats are doing the damage, not the recreational guys. The line boats have an 18 inch length, allowing them to kill more of the juvenile stocks. Also, separate the Gulf States and regulate them based on local data. The Eastern Gulf is a radically different fishery than the Western Gulf.
    Submitted September 11
  • This is the key element in forging an initiative that establishes a paradigm shift within NOAA and the federal marine fisheries management system, originally identified as "institutional orientation" as defined four years ago at the initial summit.

    Inertia within is the greatest obstacle and leadership commitment will remain the key if such paradigm shift is to be realized.

    We recently lost our Recreational Coordinator and could sense the obstacles he faced in an attempt to initiate a focus commensurate with the stated national goals within this region.

    I pray that this time NOAA is serious, since talk has not achieved any previously stated goals but implementing complementing actions will. Is NOAA committed?
    Submitted September 10
  • I think being more explicit of what the "considerations" in the recreational / non-commercial fisheries are is important. For example, "such as for stable and predictable fishing opportunities" is important.

    Additionally, how is this integrations going to take place? Is the process going to be through appropriate inclusive, transparent and accountable consultation processes?
    Submitted September 10
  • Develop methods of communication with stakeholders that would make it possible to do fisheries population and health forecasts. Every other food item in the US uses an organization like USDA to plan for the future. I don't see that in fisheries management.
    Submitted September 10
  • The over abundance of seals needs to be addressed.
    Submitted September 9
  • Seems the NOAA and the federal marine fisheries management system does not define "sport" and "commercial" properly. "Sport" is where the catcher of the fish eats it; "commercial" is where the fish is caught to be sold for money. A management system that defines the things it manages improperly should not be trusted with their management.
    Submitted September 7
  • Make striped bass a game fish simple.
    Submitted September 7
  • Regulations should be changed to remove halibut charter boats from commercial regulations. I find it ridiculous that when I take a halibut charter I am imposed with more restrictive limits than if I were on my own boat. I buy a sport fishing license, use a fishing pole, and have a 2 fish limit...Why am I a commercial fisherman included in a commercial allocation on a charter vessel, I am the same guy, just someone else driving. It is wrong and needs to be fixed.
    Submitted September 6
  • Maine fishermen need help!!! The NFR has shut down the Cod and Haddock fishery as of Sept 1st. Now we (the charter fleet) can't even give a trip away! This has hurt many Maine family's. The federal government has set up a fund to help support the commercial fishermen, but has completely forgotten about all the charter fishermen who need to support their family's too!!! Some of this money should go to the charter fleet!
    Submitted September 5
  • I would like to see the end of commercial striped bass fishing. Also make one recreational size limit of 32" one fish per day for every state. If anglers are catching 31" fish all day they will continue to fish everyday. Right now, they buy bait and tackle, gas, food, beverages and other items, go fishing and don't catch anything. They chock it up to a bad day and try another. The next time same thing, no fish! After a couple of times they just don't go back and economy looses out. In 2006 an angler could fishing and catch schoolies all day, nearly every cast and have a blast doing it. That is gone.
    Submitted September 5
  • Recognizing that the development of a national policy on recreational fishing is a daunting task to say the least, it would be in all of our best interests not to allow a single species or fish stock affect its development. When this national policy is finalized, it should first and foremost ensure that it mirrors the conservation measures mandated in nine of the ten national standards. Secondly, the policy should do more to recognize that there are two distinct components of the recreational fishery and each have different management needs. Those components are: The often silent non-boat owning public who use federally permitted charter for hire vessels to access the resources. The second and often more vocal group are the private recreational angler who use their own boat to access the resources. Both are equally important groups and neither should be given preferential treatment when establishing a national policy.

    As a federally permitted charter fishing guide operating in the northern Gulf of Mexico, and who depends on having a lot of fish for my customers to target, I want the NOAA to manage our fisheries to abundance. Secondly, I want NOAA to manage our stocks for a better age and size structure, which means, I want to have more big fish for my customers to catch. I want to see conservative, science based management with real accountability measures in place that will ensure that all recreational anglers don’t exceed our quotas each year. I want yours, mine and our kids, grandkids and great grandkids to have fish to catch. I want to see fishery management and policy go beyond just having our fish stocks "rebuilt." From a conservative approach, I believe we all would benefit from having fish stocks that are much bigger than Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), because they will ultimately lead to having larger fish and the recreational anglers will have a greater chance to actually hook, fight and hopefully land a trophy fish
    Submitted September 4
  • Due to my attendance at meetings and the general regulatory output thereof, I have no confidence in the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council for equitable, unbiased decisions based on scientific research. I have seen much of unbridled greed and self-serving control. I see disjointed consideration of the use of public resources disallowing much meaningful state and public input and environmental consequences. I have little faith in NOAA and the NMFS, with its present organization and power, for remedy.

    I suggest integration of commercial and recreational policy and strategy. I would like to see reorganization of the budget and the research functions toward more responsible spending and more dependence on relevant data evaluation and coordination.

    The health of our population and government needs doctoring.
    Submitted September 4
  • Data is obviously lacking in the recreational fishery and MRIP is working hard to improve this situation. Observer coverage on head boats, charter boats and major fishing piers will aid in incidental take and bycatch data in high traffic areas. Additionally,obtaining age structures and tagging programs by observers in these areas would be beneficial in the collection of data.
    Submitted September 4
  • In the far western Gulf of Mexico (Texas), our red snapper populations have exploded over the past several years. Our current regulations have been a big factor in this species recovery. However, it is time to expand and revamp these regs.

    In Texas, our red snapper population has expanded to the point of overpopulation in most areas. Anywhere where there is structure you can catch red snapper. Many times red snapper will be the only species present because their voracious appetites have decimated many other species of reef fish, particularly triggerfish and spade fish. We have also lost several age classes of red snapper because of cannibalism. There are fishable populations of red snapper in several of our bay systems.

    Another problem is lack of structure. Too many fish are being pushed to fewer areas of proper habitat. There must be a stop to the removal of oil platforms off of the Texas coast. In fact, we need to provide more structure for all reef species.

    Finally, the Gulf of Mexico should be split into at least two, possibly three distinct fishery management units. The western gulf should have totally different regulations based on data taken from boats fishing in the western gulf, both recreational and commercial. The entire Gulf of Mexico cannot be managed based on data from Florida. There is no comparison.
    Submitted September 3
  • Well, this seems to make good logical sense to me (but maybe I am a bit biased on this issue?) Who other than NOAA is more qualified to integrate a national/federal marine fisheries management system? Again, this topic is inherently political in nature and context. If you speak with State Agencies, they will most likely tell you that they should be able to govern and make their own decisions based upon individual State-by-State mandates and considerations. Fair enough..? However, the question then becomes - if individuals States make individual policy decisions, then how can we have an integrated, national saltwater marine fisheries management system? That seems to me to be a bit counter intuitive. So, therefore, I think that it is of vital importance that NOAA authorizes a Federal Marine Fisheries Management System, yet still recognize the inherent differences on a State-by-State basis. I know it's a huge political and pragmatic task, but the US Federal Government is there for a million of very important reasons…The States have their place, but we still need comprehensive, national and federal governance and management.
    Submitted September 3
  • It's about time that Hawaii had a saltwater recreational fishing license. It's something I've endorsed for over 40 years. Let's stop fooling around and get moving.
    Submitted September 3
  • Establish a full-time regional recreational coordinator in each NOAA Fisheries region and.

    Incorporate recreational fisheries considerations into the strategic plans of each region or office; or, develop recreational specific plans in each region or office.

    Support equitable representation on federal fishery management councils to ensure appropriate consideration of recreational fisheries issues. The NPFMC is dominated by commercial interests and the recreational users are not represented. The latest Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) took 1 million lbs of halibut from the recreational fishermen and gave it to the commercial interests. All user groups need to be represented!
    Submitted September 3
  • There should be both recreational and commercial voices.

    The changes don't help America they lesson the cause, people are out of work!

    Any consideration should reduce, not halt fishing. This stops the many advantages that the commerce of rec. fishing adds to the good of many city and towns throughout our Country.
    Submitted September 3
  • My comment on this goal is that fair representation from the recreational community needs to be a part of the management system.Bodies making decisions impacting the recreational community should include proportionate members from the recreational communities such that the vast number of (often silent) private anglers are fairly represented.

    Additionally protections to assure that public access for the many is not unfairly restricted/compromised by financial interests of the few should be in place.
    Submitted September 3
  • Most federally imposed recreational seasons run consecutively for a number of days, red snapper for instance. This is not a recreational friendly schedule as recreational anglers can rarely fish during the week. Also, a season that runs for 40 or 60 days forces anglers to fish when weather conditions are unfavorable. In a 40-day season, a recreational angler would have 5 or 6 weekends, several of which will probably be unfishable due to weather. Remove 2-3 weekends for weather and most weekdays, and you have a considerably shortened season from the already limited Federal season. A better recreational season would be to stretch those 40-days over 12 weekends that would be Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

    Other issues - There is little confidence in the methods that NOAA uses to measure fish stocks. Anecdotal field evidence suggests that GoM fish populations are much larger than federal agencies calculate. NOAA needs a better method to evaluate fish stocks and allocate those stocks fairly to recreational and commercial interests. Recreational fishing is an enormous economic impact and cultural part of our country, yet the recreational industry always takes a back seat to the commercial interests. This bias should be changed. Otherwise there will never be any confidence in the federal fisheries management. To prove this point, all 5 Gulf states are non compliant with federal management. Does this sound like all 5 states are out of line or is the Gulf Council out of touch. The Gulf Council and its leadership needs to be overhauled to start any meaningful dialogue on fostering a management partnership with the recreational industry.
    Submitted September 3
  • First of all I need to state that I have been salt water fishing since the early 50's. I have fished both recreational and commercial in those years.

    National Marine Fisheries thru the years has been anything but transparent and for the fisheries in any of my experiences. NMFS has been controlled by the environmental lobby back to the early 70's and not by stakeholders. NMFS has a lot of PR work to do to get the stakeholder trust.

    The first thing that must be done is to give the stakeholders equal representation on the councils eliminating some of the environmental seats.

    The second need will be to give up on NMFS need to control everything and everyone with their heavy handed law enforcement tactics and rigged judicial system. We the stakeholders are not all criminals, guilty until proven innocent.

    The third thing that must happen is that the Bio assessment must be done based on FACTS not computer models that are at best a guess and then cut to an even more conservative measure and than when refuted NMFS always has the final say even when wrong.

    The fourth thing would be that NMFS and State Marine Fisheries just leave us alone to enjoy those things which we have enjoyed for over a century and that is to be able to throw a line in the water and be left alone to enjoy ourselves without having to look over our shoulder looking for pistol packing Pete to wonder over to find out how many new laws we have violated.

    The reality of this new move against the recreational group is just more control and another reason to grow the size and arrogance of another segment of the Fed. Gov't.

    Do I have any faith in NMFS the answer is past performance with the Commercial side shows they have no idea what is reality, only what the computer and the fudged statistics prove so the recreational group should be an easy target. The answer is NO!!!!!!!!!
    Submitted September 2
  • I am concerned about the Haddock fishing regulations. I read comments from charter boat owners that Haddock along with Cod fishing will close September 1, 2014. I think the Haddock population is doing great on its recovery. Increasing the size will not work because the throw-backs die at the surface or eaten by sea gulls.

    The problem is we are too reactionary instead of looking at sound management of commercial fisheries US commercial fishermen have to think of how much they take manage their harvest. I remember seeing factory ships off our coast in the 60s and 70s do we know how much is taken by foreign countries today?

    I have been sport fishing for 55 years, and have seen the decline of many species during this time. We are not being good stewards of the land and sea.
    Submitted September 1

August 2014 Comments

  • Implement same size limits everywhere for rec and commercial.
    Submitted August 29
  • I hope this isn't off-topic. For those of us who are older and lack the resources to have access to a boat, I would like to see NOAA either independently or by encouraging state agencies, to expand, develop, and open access to shore locations, including additional piers and jetties where "good" fishing opportunities would be available. Many of the existing, due to tidal issues and other impediments, seem to be in areas where few fish are to be found.
    Submitted August 29
  • 1. Putting up the size limit information at the fishing sites will have the fishermen aware.

    2. Putting up the reminder of cleaning the fishing site after fishing would improve the quality of the shore line fishing.

    3. Providing trash bag for cleaning the site.
    Submitted August 28
  • I would like to see regional management of reef fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. In southwestern Louisiana we don't have anywhere near the fishing pressure as some of the other areas. We have so many red snapper, we can't catch anything else. It makes no sense to have the same controls here as other areas. You can't do a population study on the whole Gulf. It should be sectioned. Snapper don't migrate.
    Submitted August 27
  • Recreational input should be an equal voice at the table. Equal at a minimum given the economic input is much more than that. Limits for Red Grouper in Florida should be cut back to 2 and the season left open all year around. The planned red grouper closure is during a time that tourist and seasonal residents are there, significantly impacting recreational charter owners. The red grouper limit should have never been 4. That error should be corrected. 2 fish each is plenty. It was proven that keeping it open all year did not impact spawning if the line for the 120 foot deep water is retained during the spawning time. Thank you for considering my view point.
    Submitted August 16

July 2014 Comments

  • It is imperative that there is a combined effort by ALL involved sectors in ensuring sustainable fishing practices both commercial and recreational. Commercial fishing has become so efficient that it could readily deplete the sea irreversibly if not regulated to the hilt. We all understand it is their livelihood but they wouldn't even have one if they weren't restricted from hauling every last fish out of the ocean. Recreational fisherman should understand and be fully willing to agree to any and all limits/moratoriums to ensure the future of all stocks. In my opinion, striped bass should NOT be fished for commercially and recreational limits should be cut way back.
    Submitted July 3

June 2014 Comments

  • As far as I know the recreational community does not have a defined voice within NOAA policy. I think this is a mistake. The recreational/non-commercial "community" has a great deal of economic power far more than the commercial sector. However it is a very diverse group with a wide vary of voices, some of those conflicting. In a previous comment I said that the party boat/large charters should be reclassified to be part of the commercial sector. There primary goal is to remove fish from the ocean for profit. There is a vast difference between those "non-commercial" fishermen and a shore bound saltwater fly fisherman who practices catch and release 98% of the time, such as myself. The one thing that the captain of a party boat and myself have in common is that we both want to see abundant fish populations. Abundant fisheries will benefit all constituencies, commercial, non-commercial and recreational alike. This should be the main consideration in setting management system policies.
    Submitted June 26