June 2014 SAFMC Meeting Public Comments
I am Chris McCaffity. Please post these comments in the public record for Regulatory Amendment 16, Regulatory Amendment 17, Amendment 29, and Ecosystem-Based Amendment 3.
Regulatory Amendment 16 needs to include ways we can avoid total closures of Black Sea Bass for hook and line fishermen to limit Regulatory Discards.
Regulatory Amendment 17 needs to include ways we can reduce by-catch mortality for Speckled Hind and Warsaw Grouper without closing more traditional fishing grounds. Descending Devices have proven to greatly improve survival rates for fish suffering from barotrauma that have similar life histories and anatomies as these two species. I have taken researchers out twice this year to study the effectiveness of Descending Devices and the results are very positive. We are planning a trip to target Warsaw Grouper this summer. It would be helpful if we had a pop-up satellite tag to use so we could collect valuable data on this data poor species. Please consider helping us get one of these tags. We could also take a fin clip for DNA testing if the SAFMC or NMFS is interested.
Amendment 29 needs to make sure we avoid the extended closures of Gray Triggerfish like we have seen the past two years. Please split the annual quota into two seasonal quotas that align with Vermilion Snapper. Please set a reasonable commercial possession limit for the first 75% of each seasonal quota and a by-catch allowance for the final 25% that is low enough to avoid long closures. Please do not put a size limit on Gray Triggerfish without talking to John Carmichael about the fact that is does not matter what size the fish we harvest are as long as the quota is not exceeded. It is actually better to leave more of the big breeders to keep stocks producing at Optimum Yield.
Ecosystem-Based Amendment 3 needs to be focused on reducing how much seafood we are required by law to discard while ensuring illegal fish have the best chance of survival. Please consider reducing Discard