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Keep Florida Fishing Proposes Alternative to Charter Captain Limits

"Limited Entry" proposal to reduce number of charter captains; alternate option available

December 1, 2016
red grouper fishing
Red grouper — like this one being landed by Capt. Dave Albritton for angler Paul Michele off Fort Pierce, Florida — is one species that would be impacted by a new limited-entry proposal for fishing-charter boats. Doug Olander

NOAA’s South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) is considering a plan called “Limited Entry” that will reduce the number of charter captains who get you out on the water. Since these proposed amendments target charter/for-hire captains, they affect nearly all South Atlantic sportfish — snapper, grouper, dolphin, wahoo, and mackerel.

Why is “Limited Entry” being proposed? The stated reason is because a few captains have failed to properly process their required paperwork.

But instead of doing their due diligence to explore other regulatory or educational approaches, the plan is to simply cut the number of captains allowed to take recreational anglers like you out fishing.

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If implemented, this policy will eventually have a significant effect on your opportunity to catch nearly all species of sportfish in federal South Atlantic waters.

Fortunately, there’s an option already on the table to stop this before it goes too far. Option 3 for Amendments 45, 31, and 11 will stop work on the For-Hire Limited Entry Amendment.

Tell the SAFMC that you want Option 3.

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How to send a message

First, click here to go to the council’s online comment form. Fill out the name, email address, address, and participation sections. In the “Amendment or Issue” section, check the box for “other” and type in “Amendment 45, 31, 11.” Copy the sample letter below and paste it into the “Your Answer” section. Feel free to add your own thoughts and comments.

Sample Letter

As an angler who is committed to conservation, I am opposed to limited entry in South Atlantic federally permitted for-hire fisheries.

I urge the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to pursue Option 3 of Amendments 45, 31, and 11 and stop work on the for-hire limited entry amendment.

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The council should explore other regulatory and educational approaches that can improve reporting by charter for-hire before considering limiting participation. For example, requiring that log books must be complete and up to date before a renewal permit is issued.

I also oppose limited entry in the South Atlantic because experience in the Gulf of Mexico has shown that it is the first step towards sector separation. This issue has been extremely divisive in the gulf and has been detrimental to the recreational fishing community and the fishery itself.

Limited entry is being promoted to the council by a select few that would stand to profit financially from this action. With many other options available, limited entry should not be considered at this time and should only be considered in the future as a last resort.

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Again, I strongly urge the council to approve Option 3 in Amendments 45, 31, and 11 to the fishery management plan for the snapper grouper, coastal migratory pelagics and dolphin wahoo fisheries.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

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