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ARCHIVE | 2010

NOAA grants reprieve to South Atlantic anglers

New science removes threat of massive bottom closures in response to red snapper mess…for now

The rollercoaster of red snapper management in the South Atlantic took yet another turn this week when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced a six-month delay in implementing large-scale closures to all bottom fishing as a management measure to recover red snapper stocks. Expectations are that NOAA will use the extra time to fully process a new stock assessment showing red snapper stocks are in better shape than previously thought and hopefully reduce or even eliminate the total bottom closure as a result.

“We are relieved that NOAA heeded our call to review the science before implementing such a devastating management measure on the South Atlantic,” said Chester Brewer, chairman of CCA’s National Government Relations Committee. “This is another example of how important it is for groups like CCA to be engaged in the management process, especially when things aren’t going well. However, the root of this problem still exists in federal fisheries law, and we will very likely find ourselves in this kind of predicament again in the near future without a legislative fix to prevent it.”

The delayed closure was the result of Amendment 17A to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery, and was based on a 2008 stock assessment. That assessment indicated that snapper stocks were so overfished that in order to end overfishing of the stock, managers had to prohibit all bottom fishing in a massive area to avoid red snapper mortality even as bycatch. The fishery became the center of a firestorm of discontent over federal fisheries management as it became apparent that not only had a profound lack of science on red snapper allowed the fishery to reach a crisis point but that NOAA was grossly unprepared to implement tough new federal conservation laws by any tool other than the most draconian management measures available, such as total fishing closures.

In response to the crisis, the Fishery Conservation Transition Act (FCTA) was introduced earlier this year to give federal marine fisheries managers the time, resources and more specific direction necessary to address the chronic deficiencies in data collection and science that have plagued federal fisheries like red snapper.

FCTA was introduced by bi-partisan Members of the U.S. Senate and House. Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and David Vitter (R-La.) are co-sponsoring the Senate bill (S.3594). The House bill (H.R.6316) is co-authored by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus co-chairmen Reps. Dan Boren (D-Okla.); Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.); Mike Ross (D-Ark.), and Jeff Miller (R-Fla.). Other co-sponsors of the House measure include Reps. Rodney Alexander (R-La.); Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam); Henry Brown (R-S.C.); Rob Wittman (R-Va.), and Don Young (R-Alaska). FCTA is supported by CCA, American Sportfishing Association, The Billfish Foundation, Center for Coastal Conservation, Congressional Sportsman Foundation, International Game Fish Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association and others.

“This entire episode has been traumatic for anglers and the businesses that depend on them all along the South Atlantic coast. The supposed best science that we had two years ago nearly shut down the entire South Atlantic to bottom fishing, and today it appears we don’t need that. Yet we still have a closed red snapper fishery and a great deal of confusion and mistrust in the recreational angling community,” said Brewer. “No other wildlife resources are managed in such a haphazard manner. We need FCTA to maintain our conservation principles while addressing the chronic lack of basic information in marine fisheries management. We don’t need another train wreck like this one.”

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CCA honors memory of Walter Fondren III

CCA founder’s conservation legacy lives on at Fondren Conservation Headquarters

HOUSTON, TX – The Board of Directors of Coastal Conservation Association honored the conservation legacy of the organization’s founder during its recent meeting in Houston by dedicating CCA’s building the Walter W. Fondren III Conservation Headquarters. The building serves as headquarters for both the national organization and for CCA Texas.

“This building is the embodiment of Walter’s unwavering vision and drive for CCA,” said CCA Chairman Venable Proctor. “When you enter this building, you can feel Walter’s presence: his unflagging devotion to our marine resources, his faith in anglers as stewards of that resource, and his pride in CCA’s accomplishments. I think every angler who walks these hallways will always hear Walter’s voice and see his vision for our marine resources.”

Fondren was among concerned recreational anglers who grew alarmed at the overfishing of redfish and speckled trout populations in Texas in the late 1970s, and was instrumental in launching the Gulf Coast Conservation Association (GCCA) in 1977 to turn the tide. When the “Redfish Wars” finally ended in Texas, red drum and speckled trout had gained game fish status, gillnets and other destructive, indiscriminate fishing gear had been outlawed in state waters, and GCCA had earned a reputation for effective conservation. The organization expanded to chapters all along the Gulf Coast and when Atlantic chapters were admitted in the mid-1980s, the organization changed its name to Coastal Conservation Association. As chairman of CCA, Fondren helped guide the organization’s growth into a national presence with 17 state chapters and almost 100,000 members on all three coasts.

“We are sitting in the shade today because Walter planted a seed 33 years ago,” said Patrick Murray, president of CCA. “Among Walter’s many strengths was his commitment to bringing together a diverse group of individuals for a common cause, without a care for recognition as long as the job was done. It is a very fitting tribute that this building forever bears the name Walter W. Fondren III.”

5 Nov 2010 – 13:03 by CCA North Carolina

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6th Annual Inside & Out Tournament

Morehead City, N.C. – Saturday October 23rd, marked the sixth annual CCA NC Inside & Out Tournament and did mother-nature ever cooperate! For the first time in six years, the weather was absolutely perfect and teams from all across the state showed up to fish the event with proceeds benefiting the N.C. artificial reef enhancement program. The event started on Friday night with the captains meeting and Crystal Coast banquet at the Crystal Coast Civic Center.

The next morning saw lines in the water at 7am and by three o’clock the weigh-in docks at Portside Marina came to life as teams made their way to the scales. In the end, “local’s ruled” as Beaufort’s own, and CCA Crystal Coast Chapter President, Bert Owens, guided Team Fly Guy to a first place finish in the Inside Division. With their tournament best 2.8lb flounder, a 14.08lb aggregate of redfish, trout and flounder, secured the 1st place prize, not to mention all of the species being weighed alive and released to fight another day! Second place was awarded to Team Ray Spray’s. Captained by Dave Bernstein the Sprays team, from Morehead City, were the only other team to weigh in all three species and their aggregate of 11.93lbs got them two Star rods, as well as cash! The largest redfish of the day came via Team Chasin Tails Outdoors. The Lamb’s have always been a fixture in this tournament when fishing and their 6.7lb red helped them secure a spot on this year’s leader board. In addition to the third place prize of Star Rods and Ocean Waves Sunglasses, they were the leaders in both the redfish and trout TWT’s.

In lieu of the hot inshore bite, several teams did decide to try out the king bite off the beach. Taking first place in this year’s event was the perennial favorite of Team Fishin Buddies. Capt. Bulow has got the bite figured out as he has placed 1st or 2nd in every Inside & Out Tournament, and his 17.6lb king was enough to secure another top prize in this year’s event. Second place went to the Pelagic Magic team. All you King fisherman better watch out as this up and coming crew came home with plenty of fish in the box and their largest of 15.5lbs got them two Star rods and cash money! Not to be outdone, Team Weekend Warrior, captained by Brooks Harrell, brought in an 8.2lb fish to secure two Star Rods and a pair of Ocean Waves Sunglasses for third place.

The festivities continued at Portside Marina, on the Morehead City waterfront, with an all you can eat Low Country Boil by CCA NC Triangle Chapter member Dale Madren. No one left hungry and after a hard day of fishing and fishing stories, it was a great way to end what was truly a perfect day on the Crystal Coast.

Thanks again to all of this year’s participants. With your help, over the last 6 years, we have been able to raise over $18,000 towards artificial reef enhancement. We are proud to announce that the first enhancement project will start at the existing New Bern Inshore Reef in the coming months. Thank you! Many thanks also go to Denard Harris and all the folks at Portside Marina for once again hosting.

A special thanks go to Grady-White Boats, Triangle RentACar, and Star Rods as our gold tournament sponsors. The tournament committee also wishes to thank silver sponsor NC Sportsman Magazine. See you in 2011!!

Inside Division
1st Place: Inside Division: Team Fly Guy – Beaufort, NC
(Capt. Bert Owens & Richard Broughton)
2.13lb Trout
2.8lb Flounder
6.15lb Redfish
(3 bonus points for weighing all 3 species alive)

2nd Place: Inside Division: Team Ray Sprays – Morehead City, NC
(Capt. Dave Bernstein, Daniel Griffin, Raymond Davis, & Ryan Davis)
2.12lb Trout
1.7lb Flounder
6.11lb Redfish
(2 bonus points for weighing 2 species alive)

3rd Place: Inside Division: Team Chasin Tails Outdoors – Atlantic Beach, NC
(Capt. Matt Lamb & Ray Lamb)
2.2lb Trout
6.7lb Redfish
(2 bonus points for weighing all species alive)

Out Division
1st Place: Team Fishin Buddies ? Ayden, NC
(Capt. WF Bulow & Jill Whitehurst)
17.6lb King Mackerel

2nd Place: Team Pelagic Magic ? Willow Springs, NC
(Capt. Ian Hoffman, Jackson Weeks, Charlie Hoffman, Bill Hoffman, Jacob Hudson, & Mike Weeks)
15.15lb King Mackerel

3rd Place: Team Weekend Warrior ? Greenville, NC
(Capt. Brooks Harrell, Matt Amante & Colin Jansen)
8.2lb King Mackerel

25 Oct 2010 – 14:56 by CCA North Carolina

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Oyster Season Means Oyster Shell Recycling Season, Too

It’s time to pull out the iron grate and roast oysters over the fire pit. That means it’s time to recycle those shells, as well.

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Oyster Shell Recycling Program provides 126 drop-off centers for shellfish lovers to chuck their shucks, including new recycling sites opening Oct. 26 in Clinton. Also, 70 restaurants, in various counties, participate in the program. While prominent on the coast, the program includes sites in counties west of Interstate 95 such as Johnston, Wake, Orange and Durham.

Recycling oyster shells helps reduce waste flow into landfills and benefits the environment.

The Oyster Shell Recycling program returns the oyster, clam, conch and mussel shells to coastal waters where they serve as essential habitat. The program has collected more than 120,000 bushels of shell since it began in the fall of 2003.

When oysters spawn, the larvae need a hard substrate on which to attach and grow. Oysters will attach to many kinds of surfaces, but they prefer shell material.

Oysters serve as food for humans, birds and fish. They also clean pollutants from the water. One adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day. Oyster reefs also provide habitat for fish and other marine life which in return provide great hook-and-line fishing opportunities.

A list of public oyster shell recycling sites and restaurants that participate in the program can be found on the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries website at http://www.ncfisheries.net/shellfish/recycle1.htm.

Formore information, contact N.C. Oyster Shell Recycling Coordinator Sabrina Varnam at (252)726-7021 or (800) 682-2632 or Sabrina.Varnam@ncdenr.gov.

21 Oct 2010 – 10:58 by CCA North Carolina

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Legislation to Improve Federal Marine Fisheries Management System Picks Up Support in the House

Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus weighs in for a federal fisheries fix

WASHINGTON, D.C. -Oct. 1, 2010- Support is growing for legislation to address the crisis in federal marine fisheries management as a House version of the Fishery Conservation Transition Act was introduced by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chairs Representatives Dan Boren (D-Okla.); Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.); Mike Ross (D-Ark.); and Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), along with other Members of Congress. H.R. 6316, which mirrors legislation introduced in the Senate by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), has the backing of a broad coalition of recreational angling, boating and industry groups that see a critical need to give federal marine fisheries managers the time, resources and direction necessary to address chronic deficiencies in data collection and science that have plagued federal fisheries management.

The Fisheries Conservation Transition Act (FCTA) is hailed by American Sportfishing Association (ASA), The Billfish Foundation (TBF), Center for Coastal Conservation (Center), Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), International Game Fish Association (IGFA) and National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) as a decisive fix for dramatic lapses in fisheries data and science that are occurring in some federal fisheries.

“Those lapses have been highlighted in the South Atlantic red snapper fishery where management failures may ultimately result in a closure of all bottom fishing in a 5,000-square-mile area because of the lack of adequate, timely data,” said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman. “Similarly sweeping and faulty decisions are imminent with other fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. The total bottom fishing closure tied to South Atlantic red snapper is the first in what will likely be a series of fisheries train wrecks unless Congress takes action.”

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus — the largest bi-partisan, bi-cameral caucus in the U.S. Congress with nearly 300 members representing all 50 states — lent its powerful voice to calls for legislation that will safeguard the strong conservation standards of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) while addressing fundamental flaws within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries).

“Flaws in marine fisheries management are causing a crisis of faith in the recreational fishing community that is jeopardizing essential conservation initiatives in our fisheries,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “In the absence of this legislation that gives NOAA Fisheries the guidance, time and resources to implement the Magnuson-Stevens Act the way Congress intended, we are faced with a looming fisheries management train wreck that will result in important fisheries closed unnecessarily along with severe economic impacts.

“We applaud the vision and leadership of Mr. Boren and the other co-sponsors of FCTA. The bill is a commonsense approach to marine conservation that ends overfishing; saves American jobs, and ensures management decisions are based on sound science,” Angers said.

FCTA has five key areas that will steer NOAA Fisheries back towards the true intentions of the overfishing amendments made to MSA in 2006. (See “2010 FCTA Fact Sheet” for more details.)
– Clarifying MSA regarding management of multi-species fisheries by mandating specific conservation and science-based actions that would be taken, in part, to allow fishing for healthy stocks;
– Allowing reasonable time to transition to a new management framework that will allow for the rebuilding of stocks undergoing overfishing based on scientific data;
– Refining MSA economic assistance programs to insure funding is directed to those most affected by closures after carrying out a full examination of who would be affected by closures;
– Requiring NOAA Fisheries to review alternative fishery management measures to enhance the sustainability of an overfished stock and carry out more frequent stock assessments;
– Directing the agency, along with the National Academy of Science, to conduct a long-needed study on the problems surrounding the management of multi-species fishery complexes and the suitability of attempting to manage all stocks in such a fishery for maximum yield.

5 Oct 2010 – 09:01 by CCA North Carolina

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MFC Once Again Fails to Comply

On behalf of the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC), Chairman Robert Bizzell, recently sent a letter to the Joint Legislative Commission on Seafood and Aquaculture requesting support of a clarifying amendment to Session Law (SL) 2010-13; An Act to Improve Success of Fishery Management Plans (FMP). The amendment proposed by the MFC would exempt those FMPs already submitted to the state for approval prior to the effective date of the law. The intent of the letter was to prevent the proposed Spotted Sea Trout (SST) FMP from falling under the new law.

The conditions in SL 2010-13 require restrictions to reduce fishing mortality to a level that will end over-fishing within two years. The law also mandates a return of the fishery to sustainability within ten years and a probability of success of at least 50%. The SST FMP, as now proposed, fails on all three requirements. The Commission is asking to exempt any FMP from the standard to end overfishing within two years for any plan approved prior to the effective date of the law.

CCA NC’s position is that the new law should not be amended as it has not been given a chance on ANY fisheries management plans. Furthermore, since the SST FMP has not been finalized (it is now at step 5 of 6), it is subject to the new law and thereby no exemptions should be granted.

The MFC had already adopted a “policy” of requiring all FMP’s to have a 50% or better probability of ending over-fishing within two years and recommended SL 2010-13 while in the N.C. Legislature. As we now have a law that provides a process by which we can address overfishing and restore depleted stocks in a reasonable timeline, CCA NC believes the MFC must abide by their adopted policy, not to mention the requirements of the new law.

In regards to the Speckled Trout, CCA NC believes the MFC could require NC Division of Marine Fisheries Director, Louis Daniel, to meet the intent of the new law by proclamation. Use of proclamation authority would allow proper management of Speckled Trout without requiring the SST FMP process to be revisited. As has been shown, the recreational sector is willing to sacrifice for the next two years to end over-fishing and protect the Spotted Sea Trout fishery (the current FMP proposal does not require an equitable reduction on the commercial sector). Delaying a decision that ends over-fishing within two years may result in very restrictive measures, including a possible moratorium. The restrictions and reductions needed to end over-fishing of the SST must be borne by both user groups in an equitable manner.

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Sportsman Channel and DISH Network Collaborate ToSupport Gulf Region Recovery Efforts

Sportsman SD and HD Now Available as A la Carte Option; New Subscriber

Proceeds To Support Gulf Coast Fund & Coastal Conservation Association

New Berlin, Wis. (August 31, 2010) – Sportsman Channel, the leader in outdoor TV for the American Sportsman, today announced the network is available in both SD and HD as an a la carte option on DISH Network Ch. 395. In an effort to raise awareness and funds for Gulf regions working to recover from the recent oil spill disaster, Sportsman Channel will funnel this year’s proceeds from the a la carte pricing to a special “Sportsman’s Fund” created with the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) to benefit Gulf coast habitat restoration and research. CCA is one of the largest non-profit marine conservation groups in America.

To help support and bring awareness to these efforts, DISH Network is offering a free preview of Sportsman Channel Sept. 3 – 28. Additionally, Sportsmen Channel and its parent company, InterMedia Outdoors, are utilizing all print, on-air and digital assets to further promote the cause. Outdoor enthusiasts can subscribe to Sportsman Channel a la carte by visiting www.dish.com or calling (800) 894-9131. Sportsman Channel and Sportsman HD launched in DISH Network’s America’s Top 250 package in February 2010.

“Because we’re donating our monthly fee to CCA, every new Sportsman Channel SD and HD a la carte subscriber on DISH Network is helping Gulf region sportsmen, families and wildlife,” said Sportsman CEO Gavin Harvey. “We are proud to join DISH Network and CCA in this drive to raise money and also to raise awareness that Gulf communities still need our support.”

CCA has worked closely with government and regulatory agencies since the beginning of the Gulf oil disaster to ensure the Gulf’s habitats, fishing industries, marine life and resources are adequately represented and supported. CCA’s history and experience in marine habitat restoration and coastal conservation will continue to be a vital component in the recovery and restoration of Gulf marine resources.

“We are thankful to have this unique partnership with Sportsman Channel and DISH Network that helps to raise awareness and vital funds to restore the Gulf of Mexico,” said Pat Murray, CCA president. “There are some very positive programs and signs of progress occurring throughout the Gulf, but there is still much to do. This generous program will be an important part of restoring and enhancing the Gulf’s fragile habitats.”

1 Sep 2010 – 11:50 by CCA North Carolina

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A Win for Fisheries Management

CCA NC bill signed into law

Raleigh – June 23, 2010 marked a hopeful day for our state’s coastal fisheries. By signing into law House Bill 1713, Governor Perdue greatly improved the process for which our marine resources are managed. The bill establishes a requirement for all Fisheries Management Plans (FMP) to have a success rate of at least 50% in order to be implemented. In 1997, The Fisheries Reform Act put into law that all significant species of saltwater fish must have a FMP in order to be properly managed. Unfortunately however, there were no guidelines established to ensure proper success of those plans and past years have seen management plans that had been approved with less than a 25% chance of success.”HB 1713 represents a milestone towards Marine Fisheries Reform in NC. It is the most important piece of Marine Fisheries legislation since the Fisheries Reform Act of 1997. As a result, Fisheries Management Plans are required to have at least a coin toss of success. Incredibly, past FMP’s have been passed that everyone knew were going to fail, and they did” said Chris Elkins, CCA NC Fisheries Committee Chairman.

The NC Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC) in January 2009 adopted a policy for a minimum standard that FMP’s must have at least a 50% chance of success. While this is good policy, codification of minimum requirements for success will assure future FMP’s will have a reasonable chance of being effective and hold our marine management agencies accountable. “The Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC) supported this bill, and the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) worked closely with the Coastal Conservation Association of North Carolina to see this legislation through the lawmaking process. While the policy to only select management measures that have a 50% probability of success has been an MFC policy for several years, the bill helps to ensure that ending overfishing and rebuilding will occur as quickly as possible to provide a sustainable harvest to our fishing constituents and communities” stated Louis Daniel, Director of NC Division of Marine Fisheries.

The law will minimize debate on the level of stock recovery needed, and focus efforts instead on how to achieve the management target. Jay Dail, Chairman of CCANC, lauded the bill becoming law as a significant step towards securing the sustained well being of our state fisheries, “Although this may not be viewed as a flashy piece of legislation, the passage of this bill will become one of the most important laws to affect and protect the many fisheries on North Carolina’s coast.”

CCA North Carolina wishes to thank Dr. Louis Daniel and the DMF, the MFC, and all the members that were involved in this process. CCA NC will continue to lead the fight for our state’s marine resource.

22 Jul 2010 – 09:23 by CCA North Carolina

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Sportfishing Community Applauds Legislation to Improve Federal Marine Fisheries Management System

Legislation introduces measures to address management deficiencies and prevent precipitous, massive fisheries closures

WASHINGTON, D.C.- July 15, 2010 – Today, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) introduced legislation designed to safeguard the strong conservation standards of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) while addressing a growing crisis within the federal marine fisheries management system. S.3594, the Fishery Conservation Transition Act (FCTA), will give federal marine fisheries managers the time, resources and more specific direction necessary to address the chronic deficiencies in data collection and science. Nowhere are these deficiencies more acute than in the South Atlantic where the lack of proper data exacerbated problems in the red snapper fishery and may ultimately result in a closure of all bottom fishing in a 5,000-square-mile area.

A coalition of marine recreational fishing, boating, and conservation organizations and businesses, including the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), The Billfish Foundation (TBF), the Center for Coastal Conservation (Center), the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) lauds the introduction of the FCTA and strongly supports the new bill. The coalition will continue to advocate with Members of Congress for their support of the bill and to seek additional sponsors.

While the Obama administration’s outreach to the recreational fishing and conservation community has been encouraging, the need to address the current fisheries management crisis is urgent given 2010 and 2011 MSA deadlines. After working to find solutions outside the legislative arena to address the unintended consequences of the 2006 MSA reauthorization, the coalition has determined that a legislative remedy such as the FCTA is the only option given the lack of feasible solutions outside the legislative arena.

After the 2006 MSA reauthorization, it became apparent that NOAA Fisheries was ill-prepared to implement new provisions to end overfishing by 2010 and 2011 without resorting to abrupt and precipitous fishery closures. Throughout its history, NOAA Fisheries has virtually ignored the recreational fishing sector, its $82 billion annual impact on the nation’s economy, its support of 533,000 jobs and its critical contributions to marine resource conservation. Under the current administration, NOAA is taking steps to improve their understanding and appreciation of recreational fishing and the wide array of associated boating and fishing industries. The FCTA establishes a logical transition time for NOAA Fisheries to make
improvements to data collection that will lead to science-based management decisions instead of hasty closures by default.

FCTA has five key areas that will steer NOAA Fisheries back towards the true intentions of the overfishing amendments made to MSA in 2006.
– Filling gaps in MSA regarding multispecies fisheries by mandating specific conservation and science-based actions that would be taken in part to allow fishing for healthy stocks;
– Allowing reasonable time to transition to a new management framework that will deal more rationally and scientifically with rebuilding of stocks undergoing overfishing;
– Sharpening MSA economic assistance programs to insure funding is directed to those most affected by closures after carrying out full examination of who would be affected by closure;
– Requiring the agency to look at alternative fishery management measures to enhance the sustainability of an overfished stock and carry out more frequent stock assessments;
– Directing the agency, along with the National Academy of Science, to conduct a long-needed study on questions surrounding multispecies complexes and how all stocks in such a fishery can be managed for maximum yield.

20 Jul 2010 – 11:14 by CCA North Carolina

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2nd Annual CCA Legislative Day

The Coastal Conservation Association of North Carolina invites you to our Annual Legislative Day in Raleigh on Wednesday, June 2nd. This is a unique opportunity for recreational anglers to come together to visit with and inform our state legislators about issues that affect our coastal resource. By speaking with and distributing informational packets to our state Legislators, we wish to make sure they know who CCA is and the legislative agenda we are supporting. The information packets provided will explain our position(s) clearly and concisely.
We want to visit every Senator and every Representative!

In order to do this we need YOUR help!

Legislative Day Agenda

8:00 AM: Breakfast for Conservation. Meet at the Legislative cafeteria to host a breakfast for the Congressional members of the House Marine Resources Committee, Senate Agriculture & Environmental Committee, and the NC Sportsmen’s Caucus.

9:00 AM: “Walk the Halls”. CCA informational meeting in the cafeteria. Visit with State Congressional Members

2:00 PM (optional): Stay and observe the House and Senate Sessions

Location

North Carolina Legislative Building
16 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
(Across from the State Capital; note: Cafeteria is on the lower level)

Parking: Pass the Legislative Building and turn left on North Wilmington. Merge left at the end of the block and you will essentially turn around onto North Salisbury Street. Visitor parking is located at the third parking deck on the right (Deck #75). The Legislative Office Building and the Legislative Building are located on the left side of the road.
Please make your plans to attend!!

For more information please contact CCA NC
www.ccanc.org
(919) 781-3474

17 May 2010 – 09:20 by CCA North Carolina

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DEIS ORV Plan for Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Recreational Area

The Coastal Conservation Association North Carolina?s position on the recently released Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the ORV Management plan for Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area (CHNSRA)issued by the National Park Service (NPS). The objective of CCA is to conserve, promote and enhance the present and future availability of these coastal resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the general public. As such the thousands of members and volunteers of CCA NC and their nearly three quarters of a million associated recreational anglers are very disappointed in the six options for ORV management on CHNSRA. First of all the document itself is very difficult to follow in its 800+ pages. The tragedy is that none of the six options reflect the wishes of the vast majority of the CHNSRA visiting public and CCA NC. While there are preferred environmental and NPS options, there is no pro-access preferred option. The CHNSRA was established specifically for the American public to enjoy the seashore. To propose no option which provides a maximum access option certainly violates the spirit and perhaps the letter of the laws establishing this national park. Without serving the visiting public, the NPS has failed in its responsibility to our citizens. All the options presented in the DEIS seek to restrict public access well beyond any reasonable or legal requirement.

It is clear that significant facts have been ignored in the preparation of this DEIS. The success of turtle nesting and piping plover nesting and fledging is virtually unchanged since the de facto ORV plan was implemented in 1978. The primary causes of failed nesting and fledging are overwhelmingly predation and weather events which have occurred for hundreds of years. ORV caused mortality is a fraction of 1%. The USFWS and NPS personnel have caused more plover mortality. Yet, the NPS chooses to attack those users who are very sensitive to the wildlife in the CHNSRA.

The DEIS options all include restrictions which, when implemented as they have been under the consent decree, will unnecessarily close miles and miles of beach access both from the ocean and sound side. The many options describe no action which can circumvent a nesting closure in order to access an open area of the beach. Thus, while a stretch of waterfront may be “open” it is inaccessible. This represents nothing more than verbal trickery and masks the true available waterfront.

The specifics of option F, the NPS preferred option, require at least some comment as commenting on all options would extend beyond the available space and time constraints. Overall, the DEIS suggests there would be 52 of 68 miles of the waterfront “open” to ORV access but it is not clear that this includes any calculation of sound side access for ORVs or pedestrians. CCA NC strongly believes the “buffer” or closure areas suggested for piping plovers in various stages of nesting and fledging are beyond excessive. For nesting piping plovers 50 meters is more than adequate and as is 200 meters for unfledged chicks. To suggest that unfledged chicks of a bird that is less that 1 foot tall requires over a mile of seashore is ludicrous! All this with no pass through or corridor around these areas closes vast areas of the CHNSRA to the American public. All other shore birds should be allocated no more than 30m for nesting and 30m for unfledged chicks with pass through corridors as there is no legal requirement to provide excessive buffers. In addition, the NPS fails to recognize the role played by the spoil islands behind Bodie Island, Hatteras Island, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and Ocracoke Island in the breeding of shore birds. These areas are typically with a few hundred yards of the CHNSRA and harbor large populations of shore birds. If the NPS truly wants to help the population of piping plovers they should investigate the usage of large cages placed around the nests to keep predators out of the nests. These are used in the Northeast where the major piping plover nesting takes place. The NPS and the USFWS seem content to kill hundreds of other wildlife to try to protect piping plovers but refuse to implement simpler techniques improve shore bird breeding success while improving access as well.

Option F describes measures required to “improve turtle breeding success”. Many of the restrictions described in option F have little basis in peer reviewed science. For example, there is no evidence that night driving of ORVs has any impact on turtle nesting or hatchling survival. There have been no female turtles killed by ORVs. To protect turtle nests and improve hatchling success, CCA NC recommends relocation of turtle nests when they are laid in areas exposed to weather events. Using the fences used on the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge that are keyhole shaped are more effective for turtle hatchlings and would allow continued use of ORVs at night.

The surf zone of CHNSRA has been used for a hundred years for the purposes of swimming, sunbathing, fishing, birding and shelling. ORV usage is critical to the pursuit of these activities as much of the surf zone would be inaccessible without ORVs. The NPS, throughout the DEIS, seeks only to restrict ORV usage without proposing ways to improve access for ORVs and providing expanded habitat for those species which are threatened or endangered. It seems the NPS has forgotten the CHNSRA was established as a recreation area. Pea Island National Wildlife Sanctuary is for wildlife, yet under the de facto rules in place from 1978, there has been little difference in the successful breeding of piping plovers or endangered sea turtles. CCA NC urges you to revert to those rules put in place in 1978 to provide maximum access for ORVs and the American citizens.

10 May 2010 – 08:38 by CCA North Carolina

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ASMFC Continues Effort to Increase Commercial Bass Harvest

Gamble to increase commercial take by up to 50 percent heads for public hearings

WASHINGTON DC – Anglers will soon have the opportunity to comment on a new effort to increase the coastal commercial harvest of striped bass by 20 to 50 percent, after the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Striped Bass Management Board voted this week to send the proposal out for public hearing.

Last February, conservationists were stunned when the Board chose to ignore a litany of significant concerns from scientists and enforcement officers about the health of the striped bass population, and instead directed its staff to draft the proposal. This week’s 10-6 vote to send the proposal out for public hearing indicates that many members of the Board are committed to ramping up commercial harvest even as anglers are seeing serious warning signs on the water.

“This is the wrong message at the wrong time for striped bass, but it is not surprising,” said Charles Witek, chairman of CCA’s Atlantic Fisheries Committee. “When recently faced with even worse situations involving weakfish and the southern New England stock of winter flounder, both very badly depleted and both faced with apparent increases in natural mortality, ASMFC ignored clear scientific advice and voted to maintain harvest at unsustainable levels. Our greatest conservation challenge may simply be to convince managers at ASMFC to do their jobs.”

Among the recent information presented to managers was a report on the declining trend in the striped bass Juvenile Abundance Index, a report from law enforcement personnel on “significant and unreported” poaching in the Exclusive Economic Zone, and a report on the potentially devastating impact of Mycobacteriosis in Chesapeake Bay, the primary striped bass spawning ground for the entire Atlantic Coast, where 70 percent of the fish sampled had lesions associated with the disease. In aquaculture, Mycobacteriosis infections are virtually always fatal.

“While the stock is still not overfished nor undergoing overfishing, ASMFC’s Striped Bass Technical Committee recently issued a report which predicts that the number of adult bass will steadily decline through the year 2015. Clearly, a cautious approach is warranted, yet the Board has chosen to roll the dice with the most important recreational species on the East Coast,” said Richen Brame, CCA’s Atlantic Fisheries director.

Unlike the 1970s when rampant overfishing was the primary cause of the stock collapse, the current wide variety of factors that are negatively impacting striped bass will be much more difficult to address. Nonetheless, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Delaware, Maryland, the Potomac River Fisheries Commission, the District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service voted to push forward with increasing commercial harvest.

“This is a dangerous, unnecessary gamble,” said Brame. “We will be doing our part to make sure managers know that anglers do not want to risk the future of this fishery by increasing commercial harvest.”

7 May 2010 – 12:58 by CCA North Carolina



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