(NEWSLETTER - Spring 2019)
Great news! NOAA Fisheries is funding the MyFishCount recreational electronic reporting pilot project for an additional year. This continues the support expressed by the Hon. Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce, and Chris Oliver, NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, for expanded electronic reporting by private anglers at the 2018 Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Summit. We are extremely grateful for their continued support and all those who supported the continuation of this important work. Here is what’s happening to explore new management approaches and to improve recreational data to better inform management and stock assessments:
For-Hire Electronic Reporting Amendment– The Council began working on this amendment jointly with the Gulf Council in 2012. Recognizing the very different approaches (Gulf versus South Atlantic), this changed to a separate South Atlantic Council only amendment in September 2015. The South Atlantic Council approved the final amendment in December 2016 and sent the document for formal review by the Secretary of Commerce on March 4, 2017. The proposed rule was published on April 4, 2018, (13 months later) and we are still waiting on the final rule to be published. Hopefully, after two years in the review process, the final rule will be published in the near future. In anticipation of the final rule being published, the South Atlantic Council is holding two training sessions, jointly with NOAA Fisheries, during the June 10-14, 2019, Council meeting in Stuart, Florida. The agenda and other materials can be found at: http://safmc.net/safmc-meetings/council-meetings/.
New Recreational Management Approaches– The Council continues to consider management approaches based upon the input provided on behalf of private recreational anglers by the American Sportfishing Association, Coastal Conservation Association, and Yamaha Marine. The Recreational Report was presented to the Council at the March 2019 meeting. Council member Spud Woodward writes more about the report in his article included in this issue of the newsletter.
MyFishCount– The Council will continue to support and improve private electronic reporting with the private recreational fishing public and associated groups (American Sportfishing Association, Coastal Conservation Association, and Yamaha Marine) to demonstrate how individual anglers can provide data about their fishing that is very useful to management and ultimately, stock assessments. Please use MyFishCount when you are out fishing, especially during the 2019 red snapper season.
Permitting and Reporting Amendment – The Council will continue discussions on permitting and reporting in Snapper Grouper Amendment 46 at the September 16-20, 2019,meeting in Charleston, SC.
Stay tuned as the Council works through these issues, attend meetings to hear about progress, and participate in training sessions to learn about reporting.
Get Involved! Let your voice be heard!