April 24, 2013 (Washington, DC) - This morning, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) was joined by nine members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) and representatives of the recreational fishing community at a breakfast briefing on Capitol Hill. The briefing addressed the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) and highlighted the necessity for enhanced considerations of the value of the marine recreational fishery. The briefing concluded with a specific focus on the current dilemma that recreational anglers are encountering with red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico.
An array of speakers, including members of the CSC and leaders of the recreational fishing community, highlighted issues related to MSA and laid out a course of action for the reauthorization of the MSA in the 113th Congress.
Chris Horton, CSF’s Midwest Regional Director, opened the briefing by introducing Jeff Angers, member of the CSF Board of Directors and President of the Center for Coastal Conservation. Angers noted, “MSA is the overarching federal law governing marine fisheries. As the MSA expires this year, the recreational fishing community notes with clarity that it’s time for Congress to focus on an MSA reauthorization that properly addresses management of the marine recreational fishery.”
As an avid fisherman, CSC Co-Chair Representative Bennie Thompson (Miss.) asked the audience and fellow members of the CSC to come together for the resource. “We need your help, and I ask you as a member of the CSC and as a fisherman to set good public policy. This is an opportunity to do so.” Representative Bob Latta (Ohio), a fellow CSC Co-Chair echoed Representative Thompson’s call to action for responsible legislation.”It takes everyone in this room to get this bill across. I appreciate your support in the reauthorization and educating not only fellow members of the CSC, but other members of Congress on this topic.”
Representative Rob Wittman (Va.) spoke in detail on MSA and the need for science-based state and federal management of the nation’s fisheries. “If you manage with the best science and most recent information, what you find is that the user of the resources becomes your best advocate based on the most current findings. Intuitively, it is hard for the fisherman to see how the MSA is working. Decision-makers need to understand the resources and what is at stake in order to better conserve resources such as our nation’s fisheries,” Representative Wittman stated.
Matt Paxton of the Coastal Conservation Association spoke to the group on recreational angling needs in the upcoming MSA reauthorization and specifically the failure of the current management with Gulf red snapper. “This red snapper mess is unacceptable and an unintended consequence of the last reauthorization; it is something that should be rectified.”
CCA’s Dick Brame spoke to the successes of state-based striped bass management along the Atlantic Coast and how it can serve as a potential model for red snapper management in the Gulf. “There are successful recreational management programs already in place,” said Dick Brame. “Why reinvent the wheel? The interstate cooperation in the Atlantic States is not perfect but it provides a smart, workable model.”
As the primary statute governing fishing activities in federal waters, MSA expires at the end of fiscal year 2013. Several provisions in the last reauthorization of MSA in 2006 are beyond the capabilities of the National Marine Fisheries Service to adequately implement. The result has been a confusing series of non-science-based restrictions on America’s recreational anglers that have greatly eroded trust in the federal management system and significantly reduced recreational fishing opportunities.
The most glaring examples can be found in the South Atlantic black sea bass fishery and in the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery, both of which are enduring extremely short seasons and strict regulations despite strong population recoveries.
In the Gulf, NOAA Fisheries declared that in 2013 recreational anglers in Texas will have a 12-day red snapper season in federal waters; 9 days in Louisiana; 28 days in Mississippi and Alabama, and 21 days in Florida. With a stock that is recovering steadily, recreational anglers are being allowed to fish less and less, and there is no hint of willingness from NMFS to deviate from this present, unsatisfactory course.
The governors of four Gulf States released a joint LETTER to Congressional leaders that states current federal management of Gulf red snapper is evidence of a system that is “irretrievably broken,” and calls for passage of legislation that would replace it with a coordinated Gulf states partnership for red snapper management.
The breakfast briefing was co-hosted by the American Sportfishing Association, the Coastal Conservation Association, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, the Center for Coastal Conservation, the International Game Fish Association, and the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
A report released by the American Sport-fishing Association (ASA) this month makes a powerful case that from an economic perspective, recreational fishing is just as important as commercial fishing, despite having a much lower overall impact on the resource. According to the report, anglers landed just two percent of the total saltwater landings compared to ninety-eight percent caught by the commercial fishing industry.
This first-of-its-kind analysis — Comparing NOAA’s Recreational and Commercial Fishing Economic Data, May 2013 — provides an apples-to-apples comparison of recreational and commercial marine fishing from an economic perspective using NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Services (NOAA Fisheries) 2011 economic data. The report was produced for ASA by Southwick Associates. The full report and executive summary are available on ASA’s website.
“It’s something we’ve suspected for some time, but NOAA’s own data clearly shows that recreational saltwater fishing needs to be held in the same regard as commercial fishing,” said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman. “The current federal saltwater fisheries management system has historically focused the vast majority of its resources on the commercial sector, when recreational fishing is found to have just as significant an economic impact on jobs and the nation’s economy.”
Among the findings are: anglers landed just two percent of the total saltwater finfish landings compared to ninety-eight percent caught by the commercial fishing industry; saltwater landings by anglers contributed three times more to the national gross domestic product (GDP, or value-added) than commercial landings; and the recreational sector added $152.24 in value-added, or GDP, for one pound of fish landed, compared to the commercial sector’s $1.57 for a single pound of fish.
Within the jobs market, the recreational sector made up 54 percent of all jobs, both recreational and commercial. This amounts to 455,000 recreational jobs compared to 381,000 on the commercial side. For every 100,000 pounds landed there were 210 recreational fishing jobs but only 4.5 jobs in the commercial fishing industry.
Nussman further noted, “We’re not releasing this report in an effort to demean commercial fishing. Commercial fishing is very important to our nation’s economy. Our goal is to highlight the importance of recreational fishing to the nation. As our coastal populations continue to grow, along with saltwater recreational fishing, significant improvements must be made to shape the nation’s federal fisheries system in a way that recognizes and responds to the needs of the recreational fishing community.”
The Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), the primary law governing marine fisheries management in the U.S., was originally passed in 1976 and has been reauthorized several times since.
While the MSA has made significant strides to eliminate non-domestic fishing in U.S. waters and end overfishing, many in the recreational fishing community have argued that the law is written primarily to manage commercial fishing and does not adequately acknowledge or respond to the needs of recreational fishing, says ASA.
“For decades federal management of recreational fishing has been like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole,” said Nussman. “Perhaps the MSA was written to focus on the commercial sector because that’s where 98 percent of the overall harvest is taken. But when you consider that the economic impacts of the two sectors are similar, it makes a strong case for revamping the MSA to better meet the needs of the recreational fishing community.”
The MSA expires at the end of fiscal year 2013 (September 30, 2013), though many expect that a full reauthorization will take a year or longer to develop. On March 13, the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee held an oversight hearing focusing on the MSA reauthorization, and more hearings are expected this year and beyond.
Nussman concluded, “ASA and our partners in the recreational fishing community look forward to working with Congress to develop reasonable legislative solutions that will produce a federal fisheries management system that finally works for, not against, recreational fishing.”
The Shrimp Fishery Management Plan Advisory Committee to the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will have the following schedule. All interested persons should try and attend the meetings in your area.
2013 Shrimp AC Meeting Schedule
. March 20 (Wed.) 6:00 P.M.
. April 17 (Wed.) 6:00 P.M.
. May 15 (Wed.) 6:00P.M.
. June 19 (Wed.) 1:00 P.M.
. July 18 (Thurs.) 1:00 P.M.
. Aug 15 (Thurs.) 1:00 P.M.
The committee will assist the division in drafting an amendment to the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan that focuses on bycatch and associated issues. Bycatch is a term that refers to fish or other species unintentionally caught when a fisherman is targeting a different species.
ASMFC takes first step to finally bring menhaden under management
BALTIMORE, MD – For the first time ever, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) will reduce the industrial harvest of menhaden and finally begin the process of managing this critical forage base. The measure approved today by the Menhaden Management Board will reduce menhaden harvest in both the reduction and bait fisheries by 20 percent beginning in 2013.
“Coastal Conservation Association has been fighting this fight for 20 years as Atlantic menhaden have always been one of the most important species in the ocean to anglers,” said Richen Brame, Atlantic States fisheries director for CCA “The action taken today is an historical victory for recreational anglers, conservation-minded citizens and the most important fish in the sea – menhaden. For the first time ever, the Atlantic menhaden fishery is finally being managed. The key in today’s action is that the ASMFC made a decision to manage menhaden as part of an ecosystem rather than solely as a food fish. This philosophy is a major step forward for improving the marine ecosystem for anglers from Maine to Florida.”
The 20 percent reduction is far less than many recreational anglers would have preferred, but even that reduction in harvest was in doubt as Omega Protein, the only remaining company engaged in the menhaden reduction industry, brought enormous political pressure to bear on the management process.
“We would have liked to see a greater reduction to ensure the health of the stock, but it is important to keep an eye on the larger picture,” said Brame. “Throughout its history, menhaden were managed by a process dominated by industry solely for its own use and profit. Today’s action marks a sea-change in how this fishery is perceived and how it will be managed going forward. That is the real victory. Our work is not done, but we finally have the arena to manage menhaden for what it is – a critical forage base. Hopefully, this clears the way for further reductions in harvest.”
The latest menhaden stock assessment showed the stock was undergoing overfishing and abundance estimates were at the lowest level ever recorded. Current science indicates that the menhaden spawning stock biomass is at about 9 percent of a stock that is not subjected to any fishing pressure. The 20 percent reduction in harvest is an interim measure that will be in place until the results of the next benchmark stock assessment are known in 2014.
“The Board took interim steps today to protect this important stock while we await better scientific advice from a new stock assessment,” said Brame. “The picture is constantly evolving, and we appreciate that the Menhaden Management Board took steps now to finally begin rebuilding menhaden.”
North Carolina Sea Grant, along with various other conservation groups is sponsoring an opportunity to enjoy face time with members of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries and N.C. General Assembly. This forum is open to anyone who has an interest in marine recreational fishing.
The event is at the Mckimmon Center on NC State’s campus on Saturday, February 16, 2013 from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. The event is free to the public but must be pre registered to attend. Lunch will be provided.
Topics for the forum will include
– Marine Recreational Regulatory Discards vs. Catch-and-Release; what’s the difference, and how can we improve fish survivability?
– Economic Value of the Marine Recreational Fishing Sector – Relative importance and in what way is data being used in fisheries management.
– Understanding the Roles of the Regulators; who does what? – MAFMC, SAFMC, ASMFC, NCMFC.
The Forum is sponsored by North Carolina Sea Grant, a university-based coastal and marine science research and outreach program. Contact Lisa Humphrey, email@example.com, 910-962-2490 for information. You may also visit their website www.ncseagrant.org/recfishforum for further details.
Beaufort, N.C. – Saturday October 13rd, marked the eighth annual CCA NC Inside & Out Tournament. Anglers from across the state descended on the Crystal Coast anticipating a red hot bite! A low country boil and captain’s meeting on Friday evening kicked off the event as participants gathered at The Boathouse to strategize for the next day of fishing.
The next morning found anglers at the ramp as a strong NE wind met the contestants for the seven am start time. By three-thirty the weigh-in docks at The Boathouse came to life as teams made their way to the scales. Soon after the four-thirty weigh-in deadline, The fishing duo of Lee Padrick and father Elwood Padrick were declared the winners of the Inside Division. With their 5.15lb redfish, 2.5lb trout, and 2 bonus points for all of the species being weighed alive and released, their total score of 9.65 secured them the 1st prize. The team walked away with a 45qt YETI Cooler and Star Rods! What a great way to spend a day with father and son, and a day the two will soon forget. Second place was awarded to Team B&G. Captained by Daniel Grifee, the team from Havelock weighed in a 5.11lb Redfish and a 1.12lb trout plus two (2) bonus points for the live weigh in and release (8.23 total score) got them Fin Nor 40 reels and Star Rods! Team Fifer, successfully weighed in and released a 2.9lb Redfish and a 2.4lb trout which put Steve Fifer, Tony Jackson, and Billy Manger on the leaderboard, securing the team some great Star Rods.
Not to be left out, another father and son team, Curtis and Michael Scweitzer, with the help of David Payne had the tournaments largest Flounder (5lbs) for first place in the Founder TWT. The Reel Tarheel team, captained by Lee Sykes took first place in the trout TWT and rounding out the TWT prizes was Team Fisherman’s Post. Their 5lb Redfish was good enough for the cash prize and was one of many as the team also won the Tow Boat US TWT for the most Redfish caught! In a great gesture, the team donated all of their winnings back to the tournament benefactor Capt. Charlie Brown!
While those inshore were working hard against the elements, several teams did decide to battle the conditions off the beach in search of a king. Taking first place, and weighing the only king of the event in this year’s Out division was the Kelly B Team of Brooks Harrell, Josh Ferriere, Marion Smith, and John Mote . While the bite wasn’t red hot, their respectable 20.06lb fish was good enough to earn 1st place, as this team from Greenville walked away with Fin Nor 80 reels and a 25qt YETI Cooler.
The festivities continued at The Boathouse Marina, overlooking Taylor’s Creek, with an all you can eat BBQ and Chicken Supper provide by Smithfield’s Chicken & BBQ and NCWaterman. No one left hungry and after a hard day of fishing and fishing stories, it was a great way to end a day on the Crystal Coast.
While a great time was had, everyone had one objective on their mind and that was supporting a great ally to N.C.’s coastal resources. All proceeds of the CCA Inside & Out Tournament, over $3,500, will go to Capt. Charlie Brown as he battles a recent diagnosis with Cancer. The Inside & Out committee is honored to have a hand in helping a great local fisherman, as well as a great person. We would like to thank all of those participants and sponsors of this year’s tournament for their support. Congratulations to everyone who participated and our prayers are with Capt. Brown.
Special thanks go to Grady-White Boats, Triangle RentACar, Star Rods, and YETI Coolers as primary sponsors.
The tournament committee also wishes to thank the following sponsors:
MirrOlure, Fin Nor, Strike King Lures, Dog Island Artwork, Calcutta, Fisherman’s Post, Carolina Outdoor Journal, Capt. Ricky Kellum, Blue Water Candy Lures and The Boathouse
See you in 2013!!
1st Place: Inside Division: Team The Padrick & Padrick – Greenville, NC
(Lee Padrick & Elwood Padrick)
(2 bonus points for weighing & releasing species alive)
2nd Place: Inside Division: Team B&G – Havelock, NC
(Daniel Griffee , Aron Lembke, & Matt Stinsel)
(2 bonus points for weighing & releasing species alive)
3rd Place: Inside Division: Team Fifer – Newport, NC
(Steve Fifer, Tony Jackson, Billy Manger)
(2 bonus points for weighing & releasing all species alive)
1st Place: Team Kelly B – Greenville, NC
(Josh Ferriere, Marion Smith, Brooks Harrell, John Mote)
20.06lb King Mackerel
Proceeds to Benefit Capt. Charles Brown
The 8th Annual CCA NC Inside & Out Tournament will be held Saturday, October 13th out of The Boathouse in Beaufort, N.C. At the direction of the CCA Board of Directors, the tournament committee is proud to announce that all proceeds from this year’s event will benefit local charter captain Charles Brown who recently was diagnosed with small cell cancer. Capt. Brown, a former commercial fisherman and longtime friend to CCA NC, is a well-respected fishing guide and a great steward of our coastal resources. Board member Chuck Laughridge stated, “CCA NC has many friends from all walks of life and from all over our great state. One of the hardest workers and most colorful characters is Captain Charles Brown. These funds would normally go to NC’s artificial reef program, but this year they will go to a real man with a real battle on his hands that we all know he can win.” Please join us in participating in this fantastic event, for a fantastic cause.
The annual tournament features divisions for Redfish, Speckled Trout, Flounder, King Mackerel and False Albacore. A Captain’s party on Friday the 12th kicks off the event, with Saturday the 13th as the event date. The tournament is open to anglers of all skill levels and is a family friendly event.
For more information on this year’s event as well as an entry form, please visit
The 2012 NC Session Laws (SB 821) requires the Director of the Wildlife Resources Commission, the Director of the Division of Marine Fisheries, and the Commissioner of Agriculture to study the organization and function of the fisheries management programs in NC and to report their findings and recommendations for improvement to the NC General Assembly in October of 2012. As a first step in this process, the agencies have set up several public meetings to receive public comment on the subject of reorganization of the fisheries agencies in NC. The times and places with maps are given below:
Public Meetings to receive public comments on reorganization of the fisheries agencies in NC
6 p.m., Aug. 22 and 9 a.m., Aug. 23
N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Meeting
Brownstone Hilton DoubleTree Hotel
1707 Hillsborough St., Raleigh (Map)
5 p.m., Aug. 29
N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Committee Meetings
1751 Varsity Drive
N.C. State University Centennial Campus, Raleigh (Map)
6 p.m., Sept. 5
Craven County Cooperative Extension Office
300 Industrial Drive, New Bern (Map)
6 p.m., Sept 6
Dare County Administration Building
Commissioners Meeting Room
954 Marshall C. Collins Drive, Manteo (Map)
All comments offered on this issue will be presented for joint consideration by all three agencies.
We encourage you to attend one of these meetings and send the notice to all your fishing friends so they can attend too.
A website has been set up to receive public comments: http://www.ncsenatebill821.org/default.htm Visit this site and send your comments directly to the three agencies for consideration.
The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) has no role in the management or administration of fisheries resources. Their charge is to manage farm commodities and assist farmers, of which they do a very good job. No efficiency or economy could be gained by involving NCDA&CS in any of the fishery programs, except aquaculture, which they already handle. In fact, delegating reporting harvest statistics and monitoring fishery catches through NCDA&CS would add an element of uncertainty and additional bureaucracy to the current process, which is working quite well.
Legislature Overwhelmingly Passes SB 821
Raleigh, NC – The North Carolina Legislature overwhelmingly passed SB 821 after a concurrence vote today in the N.C. Senate. The bill, which now goes to the governor for signature, mandates the following:
*Prohibits the use of a mother-ship/multi-vessel purse seining operations for menhaden reduction in state waters (out to 3 miles from shore)
*Requires the MFC to have a “super majority” (6 out of 9 votes) to go against the Division of Marine Fisheries’ (DMF) recommendations in managing any species that is overfished or experiencing overfishing.
* Reduces the number of DMF Advisory Committees (AC) by combining some committees and reducing the Regional AC’s from three to two.
CCA NC introduced the legislation and is very pleased with the efforts of the Legislature. “It is an outstanding day for the resource”, stated CCA NC Executive Director Stephen Ammons, “With the passage of this bill, a vital forage stock has been protected from overfishing, and just as important, the management of our state’s fisheries is strengthened.
In addition to those above, the bill also directs two studies to take place that could be beneficial to the future of our state’s resource along with its anglers. The bill calls for a study of potential funding sources for inlet dredging, in addition to a study of the state’s fisheries management agencies and to consider reorganization to increase efficiency and productivity by the Wildlife Resource Commission and DMF Directors.
Greg Hurt, CCA NC President stated “CCA’s primary goal is to protect our state’s coastal resources and SB 821 does just that and it does it in a number of ways. As the largest organization representing the interest of recreational fishermen in the state, CCA NC greatly appreciates the actions of our elected officials and their support for the future of our coastal resources”.
The Commerce Department today announced the appointment of 30 new and returning members to the eight regional fishery management councils that partner with NOAA’s Fisheries Service to manage ocean fish stocks.
The councils were established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to prepare fishery management plans for marine fish stocks in their regions. NOAA’s Fisheries Service works closely with the councils as plans are developed, and then reviews, approves, and implements the fishery management plans.
“I’m pleased to announce our newest members to the regional fishery management councils,” said Sam Rauch, deputy assistant administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service. “Along with their colleagues, these new council members will help shape the science-based management of U.S. fisheries and continue the strong commitment to turning the corner on ending overfishing, rebuilding fish stocks and achieving and maintaining sustainable fisheries and vibrant fishing communities.”
Council members represent diverse groups, including commercial and recreational fishing industries, environmental interests and academia, and carry out the act’s requirements to end overfishing, rebuild fish stocks, and manage them sustainably. Each year, approximately one-third of the total 72 appointed members to the eight regional councils are appointed by the Secretary of Commerce. NOAA’s Fisheries Service selects members from nominations submitted by the governors of fishing states, territories and tribal governments and oversees the annual appointment process.
The new and reappointed council members begin their three-year terms on August 11. Council members are appointed to both obligatory seats, which are specific to a state, and at-large seats which can be filled by a person from any of the states in the council’s region. Council members may be reappointed to serve three consecutive three-year terms.
The Mid-Atlantic Council includes members from the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The appointees for 2012 fill obligatory seats for New Jersey and Virginia and two at-large seats.
*Christopher J. Zeman (New Jersey)
Jeffrey Deem (Virginia)
Anthony “Tony” D. Dilernia (New York)
*Preston “Pres” P. Pate (North Carolina)
South Atlantic Council
The South Atlantic Council includes members from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The appointees for 2012 fill obligatory seats for Florida and Georgia and two at-large seats.
*Benjamin “Ben” Hartig III (Florida)
Steve “BC” A. Amick (Georgia)
*Charles M. Phillips (Georgia)
Anna B. Beckwith (North Carolina)