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Charter Fishermen Across the Gulf of Mexico Commend Commerce Secretary Pritzker for Approving a Separate Sector for the Charter-for-Hire Industry

13 Apr 2015 10:11 PM | Andrew Cantrell (Administrator)



(Galveston, TX) – Today the U.S. Secretary of Commerce approved the creation of separate catch limits for red snapper for Gulf of Mexico charter fishermen and private anglers. These two sectors were previously lumped together in a one-size-fits-all management plan that doesn’t actually fit anyone. This decision represents final approval of ‘Amendment 40’ as passed by a 10-7 vote at the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council last October. The Charter Fishermen’s Association (CFA), which represents hundreds of federally permitted charter captains across the Gulf, lauded the Secretary’s decision as a critical step toward stopping the downward spiral of failed management in the recreational sector of the red snapper fishery.

“It is not an understatement to say that Secretary Pritzker’s decision today will help save our businesses and make sure that hundreds of thousands of non-boat owning Americans will not lose their access to the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery,” said Capt. Mike Jennings who owns Cowboy Charters in Freeport, Texas and is the President of CFA.

“We were getting crushed by shrinking seasons and failed management in the recreational sector. We want to be held accountable for staying within a set limit of fish but we need the flexibility to go out on the water when it makes sense for our customers. Having a separate allocation allows us to develop a management plan that works for our industry and keeps Americans fishing,” said Susan Boggs of Reel Surprise Charters in Orange Beach Alabama.

“This is a critical step toward ensuring that all Gulf red snapper anglers get the added flexibility they need and increased access they deserve. Our industry is united in working together quickly to develop a plan for our new sector that holds us accountable so this iconic fishery can continue to rebuild,” said Capt. Gary Jarvis of Destin, Florida.

“Louisiana is a sportsman’s paradise but not all sportsmen can afford expensive boats that go 30 miles offshore. Those who aren’t lucky enough to own a boat get their access to the fishery through charter fishing boats and local seafood markets. Today’s approval of a separate charter sector protects their ability to keep fishing and will help us captains continue to support our families doing what we love,” said Capt. Steve Tomeny of Port Fourchon, Louisiana.

The final rule on this amendment should be published in the Federal Register in time to implement the separate catch limits by June 1, 2015. With a separate sector approved in the red snapper fishery in the Gulf, the next steps are for charter captains to work together to develop a sustainable charter management plan that can win a majority of support by the members of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

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The Charter Fishermen’s Association is trade association of charter and head boat fishermen who operate in the Gulf of Mexico. The for-hire fishing sector provides access to millions of recreational fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico every year

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