The following bulletin came across our newswire this week from Coastal Conservation Association.
Sector separation, while difficult to understand, is nonetheless a vital subject for Florida fishermen, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico where this controversial management tool is currently on the verge of implementation. For additional background, check out the report in the August 2012 print edition of Florida Sportsman Magazine, now on newsstands.
–Jeff Weakley, Editor
What is happening in the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is big. Really big.
At first glance, it may not look like a big deal but it is a giveaway that is scarcely conceivable in the management of other natural resources. The Gulf Council is considering dividing recreational anglers into two sectors, those with their own boats and those who own charter and for-hire boats. The Council would then take some portion of the fish now given to all recreational anglers and literally give it away to a select few businesses operating those charter and for-hire boats to use as their own, however and whenever they wish.
And what would those businesses pay for this windfall? Nothing. What are the tangible conservation benefits of this course of action? Nothing.
The manner in which proponents and NOAA Fisheries staff have attempted to force through sector separation without the basis of real information on impacts that could affect our Gulf fishing for generations has drawn the opposition of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. The CSC, with more than 300 members in the U.S. Congress, promotes and protects the rights of anglers and hunters and is one of many groups opposing this issue on behalf of Gulf Coast anglers
Sector separation is a bad idea, plain and simple. We need your help to beat it. A critical vote on sector separation could come as early as the next Gulf Council meeting, August 20-24 in New Orleans.
Please take a few moments and tell the Gulf Council to reject separation. It is important to defeat this measure now – we don’t want to discover the details of a radical new federal program after it is approved.
Click HERE to send your message.