Friday, August 26, 2011

4-H Fly Fishing Series Being Offered in October

The University of Florida Brevard County Extension Service 4-H Program is offering a 4-H Fly Fishing Series starting on Saturday, October 29th at 9am at the Old Boyer Homestead located at 633 E. Melbourne Ave, Melbourne. This is a 6-month program for youth ages 12-18 that will take place both at the Old Boyer Homestead and the UF Palm Bay Extension Office. Youth will meet twice a month on the 1st Tuesday evening and 3rd Saturday morning to learn about fly fishing techniques and all the different aspects of fly fishing. The program will be a mixture of both classroom and waterfront time where youth will learn about fly casting, fly tying, lines and knot tying, and many other topics. The waterfront time will be when youth will get to practice their skills and hopefully catch some fish! To register visit: and click on class registration. Space is limited so sign up soon!

Sea Tow in Port Canaveral Launches an Automatic Radio Check Service

In latest issue of Citizens for Florida's Waterways newsletter there is an article about Sea Tow in Port Canaveral announcing a public service for boaters in Brevard County. Boaters can now conduct automated radio checks anytime on VHF channel 26 in northern Brevard and channel 27 in southern Brevard. This service does not require the response of other boaters in order to work nor does it require any type of special equipment.

To conduct an automated radio check, turn a VHF radio to channel 26 or 27 (depending on where you are in the county waterways), key the mic, and ask for a radio check. The system will respond with an automated reply and replay your original radio transmission, letting you know how well your radio is working.

This is a wonderful service especially since most boaters do radio checks on channel 16, which is the hailing and distress channel and usually leads to Coast Guard reminding boaters that checks are an improper use of the channel. The automated radio check system will reduce radio checks done on channel 16 and, overall, encourage safe boating in our waterways. The antenna hosting this service is located at Port Canaveral Marine in Port Canaveral and Captain Butcher's in Sebastian.

SAFMC newsletter South Atlantic Update online

The most recent issue of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's newsletter the South Atlantic Update is now available online. The issue discusses:
  • Overview of Council Approved Amendments from August meeting
  • Appointments announced for Council members
  • Spiny Lobster Amendment 10
  • Council approves Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 2
  • Exempted Fishery Permit in NC
  • Black Sea Bass Snapshot
  • Council Goes to Congress
  • New Staff Members
  • September Meeting Information

Thursday, August 11, 2011

SAFMC News Release on Annual Catch Limits and Other Measures Approved by Council

August 10, 2011
CONTACT: Kim Iverson
Public Information Officer
Annual Catch Limits, Removal of Deepwater Closure and Other Measures Approved by
Council for Federally Managed Fisheries in South Atlantic

     Members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council met in a special one-day session to review and approve measures to set Annual Catch Limits (in pounds or numbers of fish) for several popular species, including dolphin (mahi mahi), wahoo, cobia, king and Spanish mackerel, and species in the Snapper Grouper management complex.  Allocations between commercial and recreational fishermen were also addressed. Under the amended Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, catch limits must be implemented by the end of 2011 that will prevent overfishing from occurring.  The limits are based on recommendations by the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee.  Accountability Measures (AMs), such as specification of catch targets, in-season regulation changes, post-season regulations that may include “payback” of overages from the previous year if the stock is overfished, and other management measures may be implemented if Annual Catch Limits (ACLs) are exceeded. 
     The Council approved the Comprehensive Annual Catch Limit Amendment in a split vote of eight to five for submission to the Secretary of Commerce during its meeting. The amendment would set ACLs for species in the Snapper Grouper management complex not undergoing overfishing, including scamp grouper, yellowtail snapper, mutton snapper and greater amberjack, and establish allocations between commercial and recreational fishermen.  Allocations are based on previous landings over a period of years.  After reviewing public comment, the Council modified the amendment to include management of several species initially slated for removal from the management complex and established additional “groupings” where species with similar characteristics would be grouped and an aggregate ACL applied.    
     The amendment also sets ACLs, AMs and allocations for dolphin (mahi mahi) and wahoo.  The ACL for dolphin would be set at 14,596,216 pounds (whole weight) with an allocation of 7.3% commercial and 92.7% recreational.  An ACL of 1,481,785 pounds (whole weight) would be set for wahoo, with a 4.3% commercial allocation and a 95.7% recreational allocation.  If the ACL is exceeded, the following year’s landings would be monitored in-season to see if there is a continued increase in landings.  If so, NOAA Fisheries would publish a notice to reduce the length of the fishing season as necessary to ensure the ACL is not exceeded. 
     In addition, the sale of bag limit caught dolphin would be prohibited, including dolphin caught by for-hire (charter) fishermen.  The bag limit sale of wahoo is currently prohibited. The amendment would also extend the current minimum size limit of 20 inches (fork length) for dolphin off the east coast of Florida and Georgia northward to include South Carolina.  No changes are proposed to bag limits or size limits currently in place for dolphin or wahoo.
     The amendment also establishes a new recreational allocation of 5% for wreckfish, a deepwater species historically harvested by commercial fishermen under an Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) system.  The ACL for wreckfish was reduced from the previous Total Allowable Catch of 2 million pounds to an ACL of 250,000 pounds (whole weight).
     ACLs and AMs for king mackerel, Spanish mackerel and cobia are addressed in a separate amendment to the Coastal Migratory Pelagics Fishery Management Plan.  Amendment 18, developed jointly by the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico fishery management councils and approved for Secretarial review at the meeting, would establish an ACL for Atlantic Migratory Group king mackerel of 10.46 million pounds, a slight increase from the current allowable catch of 10 million pounds.  The amendment sets an allocation 62.9% recreational and 37.1% commercial.  For Spanish mackerel, the ACL of 5.69 million pounds represents a decrease from the current allowance of 7.04 million pounds. For cobia, the amendment establishes a separate migratory group between the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic defined by the jurisdictional boundary between the two councils near the Florida Keys, and sets a new allocation at 92% recreational and 8% commercial.  The ACL for cobia would be set at 1,571,399 pounds.  The amendment would not change the current recreational bag or size limits in place for king mackerel, Spanish mackerel or cobia. 
Deepwater Closure 
     The Council also approved Regulatory Amendment 11 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan for Secretarial review to eliminate a current restriction on possession or harvest of some deepwater snapper grouper species in waters greater than 240 feet in depth.  The regulation was implemented in January 2011 to help protect speckled hind and warsaw grouper.  The Council approved the amendment after considering public testimony on the economic impacts of the restriction along with new data indicating the closure may not effectively minimize bycatch.  The Council will continue to explore options to help protect specked hind and warsaw grouper when it meets again in September.
     Each amendment approved by the Council must be reviewed by the Secretary of Commerce before measures are implemented. It is the Council’s intent to have these measures in place by the end of 2011.
         The next meeting of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is scheduled for September 12-16, 2011 in Charleston, SC.  Details, including the meeting agenda and briefing book materials will be posted as they become available at

Monday, August 1, 2011

SAFMC Public Hearings for Red Grouper Management Measures

From Kim Iverson with South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. The local meeting will be held August 25th at the Radisson Resort at the Port in Cape Canaveral from 5-7pm:

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will conduct a series of four public hearings from North Carolina to Florida regarding management measures proposed for red grouper.  Amendment 24 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan for the South Atlantic would implement a rebuilding plan for red grouper in the South Atlantic as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act for species determined to be overfished and undergoing overfishing.  The intent of the rebuilding plan is to end overfishing immediately and increase biomass of the overfished stock to a sustainable level within a specified period of time.  The amendment would also specify management parameters such as Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) and Optimum Yield (OY) for the red grouper fishery.  In addition, Annual Catch Limits (in pounds or numbers of fish) and Accountability Measures (should the catch limits be exceeded) would be established for both recreational and commercial sectors of the red grouper fishery.
     The public hearings will be held August 22-25, 2011 from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM.  Council staff will present an overview of the amendment and will be available for informal discussions and to answer questions.  Local Council representatives will attend the meetings and take public comment regarding the amendment.  Members of the public will have an opportunity to go on record at any time during the meeting hours to record their comments regarding Snapper Grouper Amendment 24 for consideration by the Council.
     A copy of the Public Hearing document for Amendment 24 will be available from the Council’s website at beginning August 12, 2011 or by contacting the Council office at 843/571-4366 or toll free 866/SAFMC-10.  Written comments should be sent to Bob Mahood, Executive Director, South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 4055 Faber Place Drive, Suite 201, North Charleston, SC  29405, or via email to: for Amendment 24 to the Snapper Grouper FMP.  Written comments will be accepted from August 12, 2011 until 5:00 PM on September 1, 2011.

Snapper Grouper Amendment 24 Public Hearing Schedule
(Hearings will take place from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM)

Monday, August 22
Hilton Wilmington Riverside
301 North Water Street
Wilmington, NC 28401
Phone: 910/763-5900

Tuesday, August 23
Hilton Garden Inn
5265 International Blvd.
N. Charleston, SC 29418
Phone: 843/308-9330

Wednesday, August 24
Jacksonville Marriott
4670 Salisbury Road
Jacksonville, FL 32256
Phone: 904/296-2222

Thursday, August 25
Radisson Resort at the Port
8701 Astronaut Blvd.
Cape Canaveral, FL 32920
Phone: 321/784-0000