COASTAL CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION MISSISSIPPI
ADVOCACY UPDATE is an informational release from CCA Mississippi intended to keep members aware of current issues and activities of the state and national association. News releases will also reach members with more pressing issues that warrant action by the association and may solicit member involvement.
FORAGE FISH (MENHADEN) SAGA CONTINUES. The menhaden fishing season is closed (the fish are offshore) but readers who harbor questions about the impact of this fishery on our predator species and ecology may want to consult some relevant links – some new and some old. Recreational anglers and the public get very little information on this fishery because most data are “privileged” and not made available. Questions are emerging about the major company pursuing this fishery, Omega Protein, a Canadian-owned company with extensive aquaculture activity focused on Atlantic Salmon (even in Pacific waters). The releases linked below tell the story of what we face in trying to manage the industrial menhaden fishery in Mississippi waters based on the example from the Atlantic States. The management issues are quite different since the Atlantic States Marine Fishery Commission (ASMFC) manages Atlantic menhaden for member states. The Gulf of Mexico Marine Fishery Commission (GSMFC) studies menhaden as a Gulf-wide stock but management is left to the five individual Gulf states of Florida (excludes purse seines), Alabama (only portions of the Mississippi Sound), Mississippi (only minimal distance from shore limits), Louisiana (a number of inland waters such as Chandeleur Sound are open), and Texas (imposes the only TAC).
Atlantic States: https://www.joincca.org/omega-protein-breaks-the-rules-in-the-chesapeake-bay-fishing-groups-call-on-atlantic-states-marine-fisheries-commission-and-department-of-commerce-to-take-immediate-action/
GULF OF MEXICO FISHERY MANAGEMENT COUNCIL MET IN GALVESTON October 21-24, 2019. With local media coverage of important proceedings such as the Gulf Council nonexistent, ADVOCACY UPDATE willkeep CCA members aware of the outcomes and how Gulf Council decisions could affect recreational fishing. Here are some of the issues that impact CCA and its members:
Release Mortality and Barotrauma Mitigation Tools. There is little doubt that release mortality is an issue with species such as Red Snapper and Grouper. Discards can have a major effect on the stock and efforts to mitigate these effects are therefore very important. Recreational anglers need to be aware of tools at their disposal such as venting needles and release devices that return fish to their prior habitat. The Gulf Council is seeking “best practices” that will enhance live release. CCA has a national program titled ReleaSense (https://www.releasense.org/) that will provide further guidance.
Greater Amberjack. AJs continue to occupy time at Gulf Council meetings and this one was no exception. Current management schemes that are Gulf-wide have resulted in closure even when the Gulf Council had set spring and fall seasons. CCA hopes that the success of state management, in this case likely regional for east and west Gulf of Mexico, has worked for Red Snapper and is available for extension to other reef fish species. If you have not signed on to Mississippi’s Tails n’ Scales, please do so if you ever plan to fish offshore
Commercial Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Programs. A number of issues plague the commercial IFQ programs (Red Snapper and Grouper) after the Gulf Council gave away 100 percent of the commercial quota and now has the task of figuring out how to get some fish under Council control to address issues such as bycatch. These are big dollar fisheries and world-wide in impact as researched in the book The Fish Market: Inside the Big-Money Battle for the Ocean and your Dinner Plate by Lee Van Der Voo (2016). Interesting and informative reading.
ELECTION 2019. CCA Mississippi will be contacting successful legislators in the House and Senate and state-wide offices of Governor, Lt Governor, and others to present information about the economic impact of recreational fishing, the importance of marine conservation and habitat improvement, and reasonable management of both commercial and recreational fisheries.
MCMR meets Tuesday, November 19. [ https://dmr.ms.gov/commission-main/ ] JOIN OR RENEW YOUR CCA MEMBERSHIP NOW!!!!!