This is also copied from the “Offshore Discussion” page posted by Capt Mark Brown. WILDLIFESC posted the other day a link to your representatives so you may want to step up and send an email or call.
Last spring I was asked by the SAFMC if I would like to serve on an Expert MPA workshop in order to look at developing more Marine Reserves or MPAS (Marine Protected Areas) off of the SE coast in order to help protect Warsaw grouper and Speckled Hind from incidental bycatch mortality.
I fought this and condemned the process from the beginning because the NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service) was moving ahead with this process even though the scientific data to support these actions was not there. Even the chairman for the SSC (science and statistical committee) Dr. Luiz Barbieri, Chair
FL Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission/FMRI didnt agree with the NMFS.
A lot of things have gone on behind the scenes that a majority of the public has absolutely no idea about.
Amendment 17B in 2010 which included a deep-water closure from 240ft. seaward and a prohibition on harvest and retention of snowy grouper, blue line tilefish, yellow edge grouper, misty grouper, queen snapper, and silk snapper, beyond 240 feet (73 m) in federal waters of the South Atlantic in order to help reduce incidental bycatch of speckled hind and Warsaw grouper was implemented.
The deep water closure was determined that it was not working and was lifted last year (see below), but in its place comes a push now for more MPAs which will close off areas of the ocean to ALL bottom fishing.
Regulatory Amendment 11 was approved by the Council in August 2011 for submission to the Secretary of Commerce. The Final Rule approving the Amendment was published on May 10, 2012 with an effective date the same day. See Fishery Bulletin. The amendment eliminates a current restriction on the possession or harvest of some deepwater snapper grouper species in waters gre