The CCA Atlanta Chapter partnered with Sweetwater Brewing to hold our annual banquet fund raiser. To build on a platform from previous success our goal is provide a fun and relaxed atmosphere for our members to enjoy a night for conservation. It is our goal as a chapter to provide an experience that can be enjoyed by conservation enthusiasts at a venue whose principals align with our common goal. Building from the momentum of the national campaign with Sweetwater and Building Conservation Trust (CCA Habitat) we continue to host our annual banquet at Sweetwater’s “Reel Room”. The success of our banquet is a three-part formula. Our local chapter is comprised of people who dedicate time away from their busy schedule to ensure we put on a quality event for people from all walks of life. The second piece to the puzzle is our enthusiastic participants. Year after year I am overwhelmed by the generosity of our members who attend the event. As a chapter it is the energy and generosity of our members that drives us to continue to innovate and deliver a better banquet experience. Lastly, without the support of our sponsors, donations, and individuals it would not be possible. Each year we solicit the help of national and local organizations to provide items for our raffle, silent auction, and live auction. As our banquet continues to grow, we provide feedback to our members each year of the success that the event and their donations have allowed in the previous year. Success for our chapter is defined by the experience we provide as a platform for improvement of local fisheries.
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New National Fisheries Chief Addresses Anglers’ Concerns Chris Oliver, the nation’s newest head of the National Marine Fisheries Service, responds in his first interview specifically on matters of importance to recreational anglers.
This past June, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross named Chris Oliver as assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries. His responsibility is overseeing the National Marine Fisheries Service. Oliver brings more direct fisheries-management experience to the role than some other recent appointees to head NMFS. The Texas native spent the past 27 years working with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, first as a fisheries biologist, then deputy director and – for the past 16 years – as the council’s director. Despite his experience, Oliver’s direction on policy matters of importance to the nation’s recreational anglers and attendant industries has not been well known. It’s the purpose of this exclusive interview to change that and begin to establish an idea of what we might expect from the latest head of NMFS.
*Management Strategies, Commercial Vs. Recreational * *SPORT FISHING:* *Do you feel that commercial fisheries and recreational fisheries can and/or should be managed by NMFS with the same fundamental approach, or that very different management strategies are required for each? As a fisheries manager, what differences, if any, do you see between the way these two stakeholder groups use a resource that would or should require different management strategies?*
*CHRIS OLIVER:* First, thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts with your readers. I am still getting my sea-legs here at NOAA Fisheries, but my experience in Alaska gave me a solid foundation for tackling the issues that concern both our recreational and commercial fishermen on a national level. So, on to your questions. I think we can agree that commercial and recreational fishing are different, but both share the common need for sustainable, science-based management and access, and both are subject to the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. As businesses, commercial fishermen appropriately seek to harvest fish as quickly and efficiently as possible, minimizing costs and maximizing profits. Recreational anglers, on the other hand, fish to enjoy time on the water or spend time with family and friends. I believe we need to recognize these differences and, where appropriate, use different management approaches to ensure both communities thrive. It think it is important to note that the Magnuson-Stevens Act was originally crafted as a commercial statute to Americanize fisheries occurring just off our shores and expand our domestic commercial fisheries – and it worked. However, applying the same tools used to achieve those goals and, more recently, rebuild depleted fish stocks, may not translate into successful management of recreational fisheries. Recognizing this, NOAA Fisheries was able to address a number of issues important to the recreational community, as well as the commercial fishing community, by adding additional flexibility for fishery managers as we revised the National Standard 1 Guidelines in 2016. This included greater flexibility to carry-over unused quota from one season to the next, use multi-year overfishing definitions, and determine rebuilding timelines, among others. More about National Standard 1 revisions can be found on our website. *NMFS Priorities in Managing Fisheries * *SPORT FISHING:* *As a follow-up to that question: Managing recreational fisheries was added to the responsibilities of this Department of Commerce agency long after it was created, primarily to look after the welfare of commercial fishing/fishermen in this country. In other words, managing recreational fisheries was an afterthought, and some insist that it still is, with NMFS committing neither effort nor funds necessary to manage recreational fisheries as effectively as it manages commercial fishing. To what extent do you feel that is a fair criticism?* *CHRIS OLIVER:* I am glad you raised that question because I believe the criticism is outdated. The Magnuson-Stevens Act expressly acknowledges as one of its key purposes that “commercial and recreational fishing constitutes a major source of employment and contributes significantly to the economy of the Nation” and includes “promot[ion] of domestic commercial and recreational fishing under sound conservation and management principles….” My predecessors in this role took this seriously and I do, too. I believe NOAA Fisheries has made remarkable progress these past few years in focusing on building stronger relationships and greater capacity to help the recreational community. One good example is the appointment in 2010 of our national recreational fishing coordinator, Russ Dunn. His sole focus is to understand the needs of the recreational sector and ensure those needs are heard and considered at the highest levels of the agency. I would also point out that recreational fishing is fully incorporated into the agency’s science and management programs through our National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy. We also have national and region-specific recreational fisheries implementation plans with nearly 300 public commitments included, many of which have been accomplished or are underway. I am committed to continuing an open, face-to-face dialogue with leaders in the saltwater fishing community. To that point, I am pleased to share with your readers that we will host a second National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Summit in Virginia in March 2018. The current Administration recognizes the importance of recreational fisheries and has made it a high priority to develop management programs appropriate to support those fisheries.
*U.S. Department of the Interior Vs. Department of Commerce to Manage Recreational Fisheries? * *SPORT FISHING:* *And as another follow-up: Why is NMFS better off under the U.S. Department of Commerce umbrella vs. the U.S. Department of the Interior (which includes several federal agencies with responsibilities for managing fish and wildlife)?*
*CHRIS OLIVER:* The core mission of the Department of Commerce-promoting American business-makes it well suited to bolster the economic benefits of saltwater recreational fisheries. In 2015, spending on saltwater recreational fishing supported 439,000 jobs, drove $63 billion in sales impacts, and contributed $36 billion to the national gross domestic product. Each of these economic markers has steadily increased since 2012, showing the positive effects of rebuilding overfished stocks. The Department of Commerce and NOAA understand that recreational fishing is big business and are committed to continuing this positive trend. Also, the successful management of our oceans, coasts, and marine resources-including fisheries-requires highly integrated information-sharing and decision-making with partners at every level. NOAA has an institutional capacity and infrastructure unlike any other, enabling it to collect and analyze needed oceanographic and biological information. This comprehensive and robust marine fisheries science capacity does not exist within Interior, and it allows NOAA Fisheries, in conjunction with our state and federal partners, to better meet our mandates under the law.
*Would Changes to MSA Empty the Oceans of Fish? * *SPORT FISHING:* *Recently, legislation has been working its way through both houses that would amend federal fisheries law (the Magnuson-Stevens Act, or MSA) in a way that recreational fishing interests would say finally recognizes their needs without removing built-in safeguards for marine fish stocks. However, some environmental groups insist such changes to the MSA would “empty the oceans” of fish. What are your thoughts on amending MSA?*
*CHRIS OLIVER:* I have gone on record as supportive of additional flexibility, particularly in fisheries for which real-time catch accounting data is not feasible, this includes most recreational fisheries. As a longtime director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, I can tell you from first-hand experience that the MSA has provided an invaluable and effective platform for ending overfishing and rebuilding overfished fisheries. It is because of the MSA that U.S. fisheries enjoy a global reputation of being responsibly managed and sustainable, and are considered the gold standard for the rest of the world. At the end of 2016, 91% of stocks for which we have assessments are not subject to overfishing and 84% are not overfished. However, there are challenges under the MSA as it is currently constructed, for some commercial fisheries, and particularly for recreational fisheries. No one-whether recreational, commercial, or environmental organizations, or fishery managers-wants to see the oceans emptied of fish; however, some provisions, such as annual catch limits and accountability measures, have posed a major challenge for recreational fisheries and data-poor stocks. My perspective is that the regional fishery management Councils, which includes recreational and commercial fishermen, and others with local, on-the-water knowledge, are best positioned to resolve these sorts of challenges, given the necessary tools from Congress.
I look forward to working with Congress, the Councils, and the recreational and commercial fishing industries to determine what additional flexibility would be appropriate-without compromising the health of our fisheries resources. –
*State Vs. Federal Management of Coastal Fisheries? * *SPORT FISHING:* *Thanks in part to issues with federal management of recreational red snapper fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico, there is an increasing push at a grassroots level as well as in pending legislation to allow states to assume more responsibility for fisheries now strictly within federal management jurisdiction. What are your thoughts on this?*
*CHRIS OLIVER:* The President’s 2018 budget blueprint identified fisheries management as a priority. I am also confident that sustaining our fisheries for generations to come is not just an Administration priority, but a bipartisan priority for Congress, the regional fishery management Councils, and all fishing interests. Some re-prioritization of focus and efforts is unavoidable, and we will need to align available resources with core, mission-critical activities such as basic stock assessment and catch accounting to meet Congressional direction. *Outlook for Significant Changes? * *SPORT FISHING:* *Can you offer any insight into areas of significant changes you plan to make or would like to see in NMFS policy/actions during your tenure?*
*CHRIS OLIVER:* One goal of the Secretary of Commerce, which I share, is seeing the United States make progress in expanding U.S. seafood production and exports, particularly through aquaculture and mariculture. It is quite alarming that more than 80% of the seafood we consume is imported. I believe our country is uniquely positioned to conduct more fish farming in offshore waters. From the recreational fisheries perspective, increased stability and predictability in fishing seasons and opportunities has to be a priority. There is no single change I see that can achieve this, but likely a series of improvements-in recreational data and how those data are applied, flexibility under the law, innovative management approaches, and collaboration with coastal states. And, as I’ve said, I think that local and regional decision-makers are best equipped to figure this out, within overarching guidance from Congress, but increased stability is essential. Consistent with numerous recent Presidential Executive Orders, I also hope to see improvements and efficiency gains in our institutional agency structures, as well as our various regulatory processes, through these agency and regulatory reform initiatives.
*On Reducing Release Mortality * *SPORT FISHING:* *In a 2014 interview, I asked a predecessor of yours, then-NMFS Administrator Eileen Sobeck, why more fishery management councils aren’t encouraging the use of release tools to minimize barotrauma mortality in deepwater fishes such as red snapper. The response basically indicated that NMFS would continue to evaluate options. Now, nearly four years later, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council still doesn’t require the use of these proven devices that could save a great many fish released to simply float away and die. Are you aware of this issue?*
*CHRIS OLIVER:* Absolutely, Alaska and the Pacific Coast states have been great advocates of addressing release mortality in partnership with the recreational community. NOAA Fisheries understands that reducing the mortality associated with released fish is an important tool for limiting the ecological footprint of the recreational fishery, and may, under some circumstances, allow for additional fishing opportunities. Release mortality remains an important focus for the agency, and we have continued to work on this since your 2014 interview. For example, the agency organized and co-chaired a symposium on release mortality at the American Fisheries Society meeting in the summer of 2014, released an Agency Action Plan for Fish Release Mortality Science in 2016, and in July of this year organized and co-chaired another scientific symposium on the subject at the World Recreational Fisheries Conference. As you know, the Gulf Council removed a venting tool requirement of questionable ecological value a few years ago, and as I understand it is now considering requiring descending devices to reduce release mortality. I think there are differing opinions about whether it is best to mandate that anglers possess and use descending devices, or whether anglers should be made aware of the benefits of doing so and left to make the choice for themselves. *Should Catch Shares Manage Recreational Fishing? * *SPORT FISHING:* *The use of catch shares (via individual fishing quotas) has grown contentious, with some groups pushing hard for their adoption in all or most fisheries. What’s your take on: (1) the criticism that IFQs give away to an elite few a public resource at no cost (unlike other public resources, such as oil, timber or —???, the rights for which private entities must pay)? and (2) the push to manage recreational fisheries (red snapper, for example) on a catch share basis?*
———————————————————————— *CHRIS OLIVER:* Catch share programs are just one management option Councils can choose to meet their management objectives. We have had substantial success with catch share programs in the North Pacific, though many of those programs are in larger, more industrialized commercial fisheries. Catch shares are neither required nor appropriate for every fishery. Ensuring regional fishery management Councils have flexibility to tailor their management plans to maximize fishing opportunities is important to our continued success. It will come as no surprise that I am a big believer in the Council system, and a big believer in regional solutions to regional problems. I am not a big fan of one-size-fits-all approaches that may not fit very well with the specific conditions of very different fisheries across the country. While catch share programs are a very effective tool for many fisheries, I personally do not believe that private recreational fisheries lend themselves well to this management tool, and we need to focus our collective efforts on other, more appropriate management approaches for these fisheries.
* Coastal Conservation Association Georgia 2807 A Roger Lacey Drive Savannah GA, 31404 (912) 927-0280 www.ccaga.org *
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Georgia’s Marine Habitat License Plate
During the 2016 session of the Georgia General Assembly, members of the Coastal Conservation Association spearheaded an effort to get coastal legislators to amend Georgia law to authorize Continue reading “Habitat License Plate”
CCA-GA is the Georgia affiliate of the Coastal Conservation Association, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, with over 100,000 members. The objective of CCA is to conserve, promote, and enhance the present and future availability of our coastal marine resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the general public. On a local, state and national level, CCA initiates scientific studies, funds marine-science scholarships, builds artificial reefs, creates finfish hatcheries, monitors the quality and quantity of freshwater inflows, supports local marine law enforcement, helps establish game fish status for recreational species, supports pro-fisheries legislation, battles arbitrary no-fishing zones, seeks to implement bycatch reduction regulations and works to prohibit destructive commercial fishing gear.
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.
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: www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/NJshCf8t0t8DwrOUuDD92w Coastal Conservation Association Georgia 2807 A Roger Lacey Drive Savannah GA, 31404 (912) 927-0280 www.ccaga.org Copyright © 20XX. All Rights Reserved. Coastal Conservation Association Georgia , 2807 Roger Lacey Drive Suite A , Savannah , GA 31404 SafeUnsubscribe™ email@example.com Forward this email | Update Profile | About our service provider Sent by firstname.lastname@example.org in collaboration with Try it free today
ENCHANCEMENT OF THE TROUPE CREEK INSHORE ARTIFICIAL REEF IN GLYNN COUNTY, SAINT SIMONS ESTUARY
Concrete/PVC attractors will be placed inside steel drum frames and deployed on the reef to resurrect the original reef, much of which has been
One of the four 2015-2016 Habitat Enhancement Projects recently completed
ENHANCEMENT OF THE
6 NAUTICAL MILES
SOUTHEAST OF TYBEE
The project will involve
deployment of 192 poultry
transport cages and other