RFA Southeast Members Urged to Attend Public Hearings

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RFA Southeast Members Urged to Attend Public Hearings

South Atlantic & Gulf Councils Taking Public Comment on Cobia and Mackerel

Federal fishery managers are now soliciting public input on measures proposed for species managed jointly by the South Atlantic (SAFMC) and Gulf of Mexico Councils (GMFMC), including king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and cobia. Annual catch limits (in pounds or numbers of fish) and accountability measures (AMs) must be set for these species by the end of 2011, as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Act to prevent overfishing, and measures will impact both commercial and recreational fishermen who fish in federal waters along the Atlantic coast and Gulf of Mexico.  According to the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA), Southeast anglers who target these particular fisheries should take particular note of what's on the agenda. 

RFA member Stan Jarusinski, a captain out of Stella, NC, attended last night's hearing in New Bern, NC as an interested angler and representative of the Southern Kingfish Association (SKA) which sanctions 50 king mackerel tournaments from the Carolinas to Texas said there is some good news on the horizon for coastal kingfish anglers.  "The announcement for this meeting stated the following and I quote, 'no additional restrictions would be necessary, the stock is not overfished nor undergoing overfishing; the allocation for king mackerel would stay the same,' we at the SKA took pride in reading that statement." 

A series of seven public hearings in total has been scheduled, with the next meeting scheduled for this evening in Charleston, SC.  Southeast RFA members, particularly RFA-SC and RFA-GA are anxious to hear recommendations pertaining to the cobia fishery.  RFA-GA chapter member Luke LaBrecque said Georgia anglers are concerned that the SAFMC and GMFMC are looking at reducing cobia bag limit from two fish per person to just one per boat per day.  "They have no viable scientific evidence to base the reduction on, and in our opinions down here there isn't a problem with the cobia stock," LaBrecque said, adding "matter of fact last year was the best cobia year I've ever seen. We need everyone there to help stop this."

Members of the public are invited to attend the meetings at any time between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Council staff will provide presentations on the amendments and be on hand to answer questions.  Local council representatives will be available to accept formal public comment any time between 5-7 p.m.  Written public comments accepted until 5 p.m. on April 29, 2011. Email addresses for individual amendments are included below. Hard copies may be mailed to the Council office using the address at the bottom of this page.

Amendment 18 to the Coastal Migratory Pelagic Fishery Management Plan for the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic: establishes Annual Catch Limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs) for king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and cobia.  See the news release for additional details.  (Note: Public hearing documents will be posted as they become available.)  Email comments to:   MackAmend18Comment@safmc.net

Tuesday, April 12
Hilton Garden Inn
5265 International Blvd.
N. Charleston, SC 29418
Phone: 843/308-9330

Wednesday, April 13
Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum
175 Bourne Avenue
Pooler, GA 31322
Phone: 912/748-8888

Thursday, April 14
Crowne Plaza Riverfront
1201 Riverplace Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32207
Phone: 904/398-8800

Monday, April 18
Radisson Resort at the Port
8701 Astronaut Blvd.
Cape Canaveral, FL 32920
Phone: 321/784-0000

* Tuesday, April 19
Hawks Cay Resort
61 Hawks Cay Blvd.
Duck Key, FL 33050
Phone: 305/743-7000

* Wednesday, April 20
Doubletree Grand Key
3990 S. Roosevelt Blvd.
Key West, FL 33040
Phone: 305/293-1818

*Denotes joint hearing with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council

We want your input: