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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gulf Council: Shrimp Effort Should Decrease


In May, scientists announced at NOAA's Southeast Bycatch Workshop that reductions in the U.S. shrimp industry bycatch mortality rate have surpassed the ambitious goals set in the most recent Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR) red snapper stock assessment. The SEDAR report, which sets forth proposals to manage the overfished red snapper stock, called for a 50% reduction of juvenile red snapper bycatch mortality by 2007. By 2005, the shrimp industry's bycatch mortality was reduced by 58% due to substantial reductions in the amount of time the shrimp industry spent harvesting wild-caught shrimp.



However, the Gulf Council meeting on June 5-8 resulted in a recommendation that a further 18% reduction be made to shrimp effort to manage bycatch of juvenile red snapper. Under this proposal, the directed fisheries total allowable catch would be reduced to 5-7 million pounds rather than the necessary 3-4 million pounds. Ironically, the Gulf Council's proposal could cause the collapse of the shrimp industry and the red snapper stocks.


Well it looks like NMFS will have a big problem not restoring the Recreational Red Sanpper Season in Baton Rouge. We have said all along the current problem was the Commercial Over Fishing. Our bringing attention to the fact we should get credit immediately may have just worked. The normal procedure for handling data is to sit on it for ever at NMFS.

Jim Smarr
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manintheboat said:
too bad CCA is not on board.
I think CCA is involved at some level, but if not... you're right. They would be able to move the needle fast than anyone else. They usually base their fights/decisions to fight on factual research and good science. We'll see.
 

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CCA has time and again said that the only fight they are fighting is against shrimper bycatch. They claim that the recreational and commercial fishing sectors are not the problem. Of course, this is not verbatum, but you can find their thoughts in their magazine as well as their website, and they have been very consistent with their thoughts on the red snapper situation. They simply refuse to consider commercial overfishing as a problem. It really makes you think about where their hearts, loyalties and wallets lie.
 

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Give it hell Remy!
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Sure makes me wonder how the 1/2 mile trail of juvenile snapper died (most were under 6"s) that we followed last year right to a shrimp boat that was culling. Must have been a coincidence...
 

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Shrimpers still kill a lot of snappers, no doubt. I really do not think anybody is disputing that. I really think that all sides need to be looked at, that includes shrimpers, commercial as well as recreational fishermen. CCA only chooses to look at shrimper bycatch and by doing that ignores commercial over-exploitation.
 

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Give it hell Remy!
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I certainly agree there... it just read as if Shrimpers were not a significant part of the problem anymore. I don't understand CCA ignoring the commercial's quota either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Commercials need Jail and Stiff Fines for violations

The Commercials have wrecked our fishery this year. All up and down the coast the fish
are just under the Commercial slot out to 50-60 miles. They have no regard for getting along with the Recreational Sector. We have declared war.

We are working to implement a $250,000 dollar fine for Commercial Fisheries violations. We want mandatory Jail time for violations exceeding 10% of their allowable catch. TPWD is behind us on this. We would also like to see revocation of the permit shifting the TAC portion to the Recreational Sector as a stipulation of these violations. Texas should be easy the NMFS will be a battle to get these issues addressed. We will be relentless in our Mission to clean up the Red Snapper Fishery.

The Australians have implemented an $800,000 fine and Mandatory Jail Time being 3 Years! This action removes the "Just a Cost of Doing Business"statement often made by Commercials and places a serious consquence for their actions for once. Fines of this magnatude will place these cases in Federal Court or District Court getting them out of JP Court where they seem to get fairly small fines in some areas.

jim smarr
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that would be awesome, Jim. Of course, with that we, on the recreational side should expect to see stiffer fines for our transgressions as well. That would only be fair, and could possibly grease the skids to help get this implemented.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The Law should be The Law period

We should all stay inside the law. The 5% 'ers are either in Jail or headed there soon. These numbers hold for the general population I would guess they hold for Recreationals and but would have to believe since the Commercial Snapper Permit Holders are in the fishery for money their numbers are much higher.

I keep seeing folks say the Recreational for hire should be commercial. They take recreational anglers fishing. We feel they are far from Commercial. Without them a great percentage of recreational anglers would be locked out of the fisheries.

Once the Commercials are brought in line we will have our fishery restored to the good old days. Remember you can't crash a fishery with a rod and reel. You can though with bandit rigs and long lines.

Jim Smarr
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Give it hell Remy!
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The penalty should be per fish and the same $ for Rec and Comm fisherman... the only problem is enforcement. Unless we can figure out a way to monitor these boats (both commercial and rec.), they will continue to pillage our waters.

I really feel that the minimum limits on red snapper are doing more harm than good. If you have to release 8 of 9 in order to put one in the box, you are probably only releasing 2 or 3 out of 9 that will survive. I would love to see a strict fish limit with no minimum size for us rec's... and for commercials reduced tonnage quota's with no minimum size.
 

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snapper

manintheboat said:
CCA has time and again said that the only fight they are fighting is against shrimper bycatch. They claim that the recreational and commercial fishing sectors are not the problem. Of course, this is not verbatum, but you can find their thoughts in their magazine as well as their website, and they have been very consistent with their thoughts on the red snapper situation. They simply refuse to consider commercial overfishing as a problem. It really makes you think about where their hearts, loyalties and wallets lie.
Howdy,

Here's some quotes from the CCA and Doug Pike;

"there is good science that pegs juvenile red snapper mortality from shrimp trawls as high as 80 percent". That's the number Coastal Conservation Association's Pat Murray, vice president and director of conservation, cited in a CCA release last week. If correct, or even close, it shows why restrictions on commercial and recreational anglers cannot fix what's broken with red snapper until a greater percentage of juveniles get at least one shot at reproduction.
"The directed fishery (commercial and recreational) has stayed within its quotas and done everything the council has asked us to do," Murray said in the release. "
"There's compelling evidence that shrimp trawl bycatch is the problem," Murray said. "The council and the National Marine Fisheries Service are going to have to address this if anything positive is going to happen with red snapper."

I'm wondering what "good science" Mr. Murray is referring to. I'm also wondering if the CCA is going to refund those $1,000 donations that they were asking for a while back to battle the shrimp bycatch issue.

If the shrimping effort has been reduced so dramatically due to economic forces, then the above assertions by CCA cannot be true. And, since the recreational TAC is directly related to the shrimper bycatch percentage, then this means that we should be looking at a 12 month season next year. This needs to be reinforced by a strong showing of recreational fishermen at the Baton Rouge meeting in August.

Things that need to be emphasized;
1) First 5 Rule - regulatory discards are killing more fish than are going into our ice chest.
2) Split Gulf into East/West Regions - if Alabama (with their 40 mile coastline) accounts for 43% of the entire Gulf recreational snapper catch, that means Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida are dividing up the remaining 57%. (The Texas coastline is 9 times longer than Alabama's by the way - does this sound fair?) Alabama's state fisheries dept. has developed an outstanding model for other Gulf states to follow (including Texas).
3) 12 Month Season - there is no reason to close the recreational snapper season for half the year - the problem lies with commercial overfishing.
4) Step up enforcement of existing regulations - fines of at least $350,000 if commercial fishermen are caught with over 10% of their allowable quota, and automatic forfeiture of their commercial permit...the corresponding poundage for that permit would be allocated to the recreational TAC. Mandantory jail time is alos needed for repeat violators.
5) IFQ's will only exacerbate the illegal overfishing - the message needs to be sent loud and clear that action WILL be taken if IFQ's are approved by the Secretary of Commerce. No IFQ's! The Gulf Council is already providing an avenue for egregious overfishing with the exorbinate number of commercial snapper permits out there - IFQ's will crash the fishery. Period.

Thanks to Jim Smarr for his hard work in keeping the Gulf Council's feet to the fire regarding their acting on incomplete and/or missing data. It is this type of pressure that is needed to keep things above-board regarding what is really needed to bring the red snapper fishery back.

All the best,
Tom Hilton
 

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If you think the commercials are cheating now, just wait till they get IFQ's! There should be no 10% allowage, those guys know how many fish they have within 50 lbs.That extra 200-300 lbs. pays their overhead! Nothing will help the snappers until all the commercials are severely restricted,just like we are.Plus, we haven't mentioned all the undersized snapper that they fillet and use for bait! They all do it! That doesn't get taken off their quota either and it's a staggering amount of snapper!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I agree

The Overage should all be subjected to a fine if it is more than one ounce.
Maybe the first 10% should be a mandatory 25,000 dollars with anything over 10% triggering the 350,000 dollars as Hilton said along with mandatory Jail time.
Tom raised the fine by 100,000 to 350,000 ok with me and RFA Board. We are still less than half the Australians At 800,000 and three years of Mandatory Jail time. Since the Commercials and Enviros sent a delagation to Australia to check
out IFQ's it sure is odd they missed this little detail of enforcement.

Jim Smarr RFA Texas
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snapper

Howdy,
What we have here (in Texas) is a system that allows violators (like the Energizer Bunny) to just keep on violating, as evidenced by the recent snapper bust last month....62 collective violations and one individual has 45 cases pending. There is a real problem not only with lack of enforcement, but lack of teeth when enforcement bites. As a businessman, any commercial permit holder is going to MAKE SURE that the boat fishing with his permit is abiding by the rules, but ONLY if the penalties are severe enough to burst the bubble of "just another cost of doing business", as the penalties now are considered.

When you look at the total picture, and the million$ of dollars that recreational sport fishing generates vs commercial fishing (it's not even a contest), the $350,000 proposed fine is pennies to the dollar for the protection of the resource. In addition, the dollars generated by these fines should be delegated to reefing projects - put the dollars to creating habitat for more snapper. Makes sense, no?

There needs to be a sea-change in the way the Gulf Council does business, and you fishermen are the ones to make it happen. Attend the meetings - RFA will keep you informed when and where they will be.

All the best,
Tom Hilton
 

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That is why it should be a per fish penalty and nothing else. Screw tonnage limits IMO... Also there should be a strict fish limit.. first 5 or first 10... no matter.. either would help.
 

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I've always wondered if there wasn't a better way to monitor and police those who 'purchase' these catches for resale or redistribution.

The restaurants and seafood distributors.

Seems to me that if you take down the illegal buying a few notches and make it harder for them to get rid of the fish that it might slow them down some.

Maybe not.
 
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