Call To Action – The Shrinking Red Snapper Season – Let Your Voice Be Heard!

slide1 Call to Action CCA of Georgia Members Urged to Assist Our Gulf State Neighbors! Recreational fishermen along the Gulf of Mexico have been crowded into a very small corner when it comes to the red snapper fishery. NOAA has already awarded 70% of the commercial fishery to 55 individuals who do not even fish. These “Sea Lords” lease their rights to commercial fishermen for huge sums of money. That in itself is mind-boggling but the next move was to implement “sector separation” via Amendment 40 which split the recreational fishery into two groups: Charter operators and private recreational fishermen. These two groups, who previously were the best of friends, are now at odds with one another and fighting for table scraps, with the big dog, the charter for hire group coming away with the lion’s share of those scraps. Charter operators have been awarded 46 days in which they may take customers out to catch red snapper while the private fishermen have been crowded into a 9 day season which spans only one weekend. It gets worse. Sector separation was set up with a sunset provision that would end the practice of pitting fishermen against one another after 3 years. However, the charter operators are moving to have it extended indefinitely. This drives the private fisherman further into an ever shrinking corner. The charter operators are well organized, funded and focused, while the private fisherman is focused on his job and family and not nearly as in tune with this truly absurd process that is crowding them out of the fishery. That’s where CCA comes in with the power of its’ 115,000 members as the voice of the recreational fisherman. Why should we, as Georgians, be concerned about what is happening in the Gulf of Mexico? There are several reasons. First of all, many Georgians make the short trip to Gulf waters on a regular basis. Next, if this type of weed is allowed to foster in our neighbor’s yard it is only a matter of time before the seeds blow across onto our turf. Thankfully, at the urging of members of CCA of Georgia’s Government Relations Committee and others, several of Georgia’s Congressmen have signed onto H. R. 3094 as sponsors. Rep. Buddy Carter, Rep. Austin Scott and Rep. Jody Hice all are onboard.

Please take another moment to read the CCA News Release below and take action on this important legislation aimed at protecting your future access to all fisheries.

Coastal Conservation Association of Georgia

Nine-day red snapper season makes the case for state management Anglers urged to contact Congressmen to support HR 3094 Last week, NOAA Fisheries announced that the 2016 federal red snapper season for private recreational anglers – those fishing from private boats – will last just nine days, opening on June 1 at 12:01 a.m. and closing on June 10 at 12:01 a.m. , local time. The season for the federally permitted for-hire component will be 46 days, while the commercial red snapper season runs year-round using its privatized catch share system. The entire nine-day federal season this year includes a single weekend for families and friends to pursue the popular fish. It is the shortest season on record despite the fact that the total allowable catch of red snapper in the Gulf is the largest in the history of the species under management. This is as good as federal management gets for private recreational anglers. Nine days . Federal management has created a class of commercial Sea Lords (55 commercial operators who own more than 70 percent of the commercial harvest) and spurred development of hybrid ” catch share experience ” trips, in which charter operators lease fish from commercial harvesters to sell to recreational anglers. It has produced convoluted measures that are seen nowhere else in the management of wildlife in this country. Not in ducks or deer or bass. With the federal government now focused on private ownership programs for industrial harvesters and the charter/for-hire sector, the ability of recreational anglers to be a part of the process is being eliminated There is a better way. HR. 3094 , sponsored by Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), would transfer authority for the entire red snapper fishery to the Gulf states. The state fisheries directors for the five Gulf states are professional stewards of the resource, with extensive training in wildlife management in general and marine science in particular. They know what they are doing. Their state-based management plan for red snapper is based on concepts they have used so successfully on species like red drum and speckled trout in the Gulf. Neither of those fisheries were subjected to privatization schemes and the states still managed to provide an unprecedented level of access for their citizens. All have been cited as tremendous conservation success stories. The federal government has had decades to get red snapper management right and has given recreational anglers a nine-day season . The answer to complicated fishery problems cannot be to funnel access through fewer and fewer for-profit entities and leave everyone else tied to the dock. It’s time to let the states finally provide the remedy.

Please take a moment to click the link below and encourage your Congressmen to support HR 3094. Let’s put red snapper management in the hands of people who know how to manage both for the greatest conservation of the resource and greatest access for the public. Click the link below to log in and send your message: Coastal Conservation Association Georgia 2807 A Roger Lacey Drive Savannah GA, 31404 (912) 927-0280 Copyright © 20XX. All Rights Reserved. Coastal Conservation Association Georgia , 2807 Roger Lacey Drive Suite A , Savannah , GA 31404 SafeUnsubscribe™ Forward this email | Update Profile | About our service provider Sent by in collaboration with Try it free today

Governor Signs HB736 Into Law

We have good news for marine resource conservationists. Georgia’s latest vehicle license tag legislation, House Bill 736, which would amend the Official Code of Georgia to include the new tag to support coastal habitat improvements was recently passed by both the House and Senate has now been signed into law by Governor Deal. Coastal Conservation Association Georgia (CCA) Government Relations Committee in Atlanta has once again been instrumental in achieving very meaningful Legislation at the Capitol for our Coastal Fishing Community. Over the last 4 years we have facilitated the passing of GameFish Status for Redfish, getting the Marsh Buffer Rule clarified to protect our precious resource, working to change the legal minimum length of Seatrout from 13 to 14 inches with the GA DNR, bringing the cost of Wildlife tags back to the original price of $25, and now, initiating the creation of the new Coastal Tag for DNR’s Coastal Resource Division. At the urging of CCA-GA, HB736 was sponsored by Rep. Alex Atwood of St. Simons Island in the House, and by Sen. Ben Watson of Savannah in the Senate. The Coastal Conservation tag will have the same fee allotment structure as other Wildlife Tags and would provide the Marine Habitat Conservation Fund, administered by the Coastal Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, with funds to be used exclusively for projects to restore and enhance marine habitats through oyster reef stabilization, construction of man-made reefs along the shorelines of tidal rivers and creeks, and the construction of man-made reefs in the Atlantic Ocean. The initial tag fee is set at $25, of which $19 would be directed to a restricted fund administered by DNR- CRD while $1 would go to the issuing tag offices and $5 to the state treasury. Stay tuned for future announcements as distribution plans are developed for placing the new Tags into the State’s Motor Vehicle offices later this fall.

Skidaway CCA Chapter Holds Fishing Seminars

Landings fishermen and women were recently treated to a full day of seminars on resources, locations, and equipment for enjoying our local waters. Captain Jeff Soss of Savannah Fishing Adventures conducted the seminars that provided information for local anglers from beginners to advanced, who ranged in age from 9 to 78 years old. The day of instruction, held at Delegal Marina on Skidaway Island, was sponsored by the Skidaway Chapter Georgia CCA and The Landings Marinas. During the first morning presentation, Captain Jeff addressed beginners, focusing on their equipment, simple gear set-up, different bait fishing rigs, and knots. Fishing seminars-2Following a question-answer period, Captain Jeff moved on to more advanced topics, including species of fish to target, bait, rigs and gear, seasonal differences in fishing, top-water and bottom fishing tactics, and where and how to fish the significant tides along the Georgia coast. After answering more detailed questions posed by audience members, soft drinks, chips and hot dogs with fixin’s were available for participants. Following lunch, Captain Jeff hosted on-the-water sessions. Three fishers participated in each trip, visiting some of his “secret spots” in Delegal and Adams creeks, watching demonstrations of fishing techniques, learning how to “read the water” and seeing how tides affect where and how to catch fish. Participant Chuck Smith commented: “ We were shown how to recognize places where sportfish hold and ambush bait as it gets swept to them by tidal flows. A lot of good fishermen don’t want to tell their “Good Drops.” I really appreciated Jeff’s willingness to teach us how this process works.” Although weather predictions for the day were not favorable, the rain held off, and everyone gathered valuable information about fishing and our coastal fishing resources.Fishing seminars


Article and photos by Michael Welsh

The Invisible Threat- Article from Mar-Apr TIDE Magazine

By Chester Moore, Jr. TIDE March/April 2016

As the water warms up, be aware of the little bug with a big bite. It is the most insidious threat facing coastal anglers in the United States. With a death rate of up to 30 percent, this force is not only deadly but is invisible to the naked eye. It is Vibrio , a bacteria that thrives in saltwater and annually catches numerous anglers by surprise in terrifying fashion. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Continue reading “The Invisible Threat- Article from Mar-Apr TIDE Magazine”

Cobia Season To Close in Georgia’s Federal Waters on June 20

NOAA announced today that the Atlantic cobia season will close June 20. This applies to GA and points North stock. It does not apply to the Florida stock. NOAA explains the reason for the closing is because l ast year the recreational fishery caught 245% of their quota. The accountability measure in the FMP requires NOAA to close the fishery in the year following an overage in an attempt to reduce harvest back to the ACL or less. We’ve been further advised by the Georgia DNR/CRD that Georgia regulations will continue to allow 2 cobia per person per day and does not plan to recommend that the Board of Natural Resources change state regulations to match the federal change.

Good News for Georgia Coastal Habitat

State moves to ramp up funding for marine habitat
House of Representatives approves measure to direct
new license tag funding to Georgia coast

ATLANTA, GA – A measure carried by Rep. Alex Attwood (St. Simons) to strengthen the state wildlife license tag program was approved by the House last week and now needs only the companion bill carried by Sen. Ben Watson (Savannah) to pass the Senate to open the door for additional funding of coastal habitat projects. Coastal Conservation Association Georgia is the sponsor for HB 736 and has high hopes for the potential of the legislation. “We are truly grateful to Rep. Attwood and Sen. Watson for their work on behalf of recreational angling and our marine resources. HB 736 will ensure that the wildlife license tag program will be able to grow and sustain itself far into the future,” said Brooks Binder, chairman of CCA Georgia’s Government Relations Committee. “We have a great opportunity to provide our citizens, particularly those with an interest in our coastal area, with a new wildlife tag to provide voluntary funding for marine habitat conservation, restoration, and enhancement.” HB 736 will be a simple amendment to the existing program to direct $19 of every wildlife tag to a restricted fund administered by the Coastal Resources Division (CRD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, $1 paid to the local tag-issuing authority, and $5 to the General Fund. The Marine Habitat Conservation Fund administered by CRD would be used exclusively for projects to restore and enhance marine habitats through oyster reef creation, construction of manmade reefs along the shorelines of tidal rivers and creeks, and construction of manmade reefs in the Atlantic Ocean.

In addition to providing habitat for aquatic species, these projects also provide nursery and foraging areas of many reptile, bird and mammal species. Oyster reefs also help stabilize shorelines protecting them from the effects of storm erosion. None of the restricted funds will be used for administrative, overhead or salary costs. “We believe that the marine habitat conservation tag is a great opportunity to enact smart public policy that does not require any new tax revenue or allocation of existing tax revenue from other programs,” said Binder. If all goes well and the coastal license tag becomes reality, CCA Georgia is ready with a recommendation for what the image on the tag should be. “The red drum is Georgia’s state saltwater fish and was given gamefish status by CCA Georgia efforts with the Georgia Legislature a few years ago,” said Binder. “Given the popularity of this species with anglers and its reliance of the marine habitats to be conserved by the funds generated by this tag, we think that this iconic fish would be a fantastic candidate for the first coastal tag.” ### BROOKS SCHOEN 404-786-1626 M

CCA March 8th Seminar – Walter Hopkins and Chad Dubose of Rivers & Glen Trading Company

CCA – March Meeting & Seminar – March 14th – (Correction NOT March 8) 

The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) of Skidaway will present an introduction to fly fishing at the March meeting and seminar to be held on Monday, March 14, at St. Peter’s Church beginning at 7:00 pm.  Walter Hopkins and Chad Dubose of Rivers & Glen Trading Company will be the featured speakers.

Walter and Chad will give attendees an overview of fly-fishing knots, casting, flies for fishing for coastal gamefish and fishing the lagoons in The Landings, as well as a complete rundown of the tackle needed, such as fly rods, reels, line, tools, and accessories.

Walker Hopkins is the owner of Rivers & Glen Trading Co. with locations in downtown Savannah and Augusta, Ga.  His two passions are golf and fly fishing, having over 20 years of fly-fishing experience in the Rocky Mountains West, Patagonia, and most of the Southeast.  He truly enjoys showing others his love and passion for fishing, whether salt or freshwater.

Chad DuBose is the manager of Rivers & Glen in its Savannah location.  He has been a fly- fishing guide in Montana for the summer season, and 2016 will be his 6th year guiding in there, following a winter spent guiding in Patagonia.  Having also fished Canada and too many states in the US to count, there are not many weeks in the year Chad is not on the water.

A fly-casting rod from Rivers & Glen will be the March raffle prize for attendees.

CCA is a non-profit organization with chapters on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf Coasts.  For more information about CCA of Skidaway contact Joe Tyson, 598-8765.  For more information about CCA’s Georgia District, contact Tom Rood, 598-9753.  For information about this month’s meeting and seminar, contact Dave Devore, 330-329-6457.  Area residents are invited to attend the CCA of Skidaway meetings and seminars held on the second Monday of the month at St. Peter’s Church.

Photo:  Chad DuBose holding a Redfish (popular gamefish species in the low country) caught on a fly in shallow water at low tide this January.

Donate Now for Joe’s Cut Habitat Project


Don’t Wait! Help CCA raise $12,000 to implement Joe’s Cut reef enhancement. Two of our four committed habitat projects (the Savannah Reef Enhancement and the Henry Vassa Cate piling reconstruction off Jekyll Island) were completed in 2015 at a cost of $34,200 to CCA GA. The next up of the final two projects is the Joe’s Cut reef enhancement scheduled to be completed in the April/May time frame and will require us to raise an additional $12,000. Joe’s Cut inshore artificial reef is located in Wassaw Sound. This reef was constructed in the 1980s but materials are mostly now covered in sediment. The intention is to deploy 50 Fish Attracting Devices (FADs) like the one shown below: Various forms of marine life will colonize these structures and should create improved fishing opportunities in this popular and easily accessed location. Thus far in 2016, we have received about $1300 in CCA member donations to go towards this project, so we need about $10,700 to get Joe’s Cut implemented by the April timeframe. So, we’re asking you, our CCA members, to again consider making a tax free contribution (CCA GA is a 501C3 organization so all donations are tax deductible) to help us obtain these needed funds. And, we have an easy way for you to make your contribution. Please click on the “Donate Now” button above or below and follow the instructions to make an on-line contribution or to obtain a Habitat Project Donation form to fill-out and mail in. Thank you for your consideration of this request. We will keep you posted on our progress of meeting our goal of making the reef enhancement at Joe’s Cut a reality.