Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Please come to our Edible Garden Festival being held at on October 15th from 9am to 1pm at the Brevard Botanical Garden greenhouse located just west of our Cocoa Extension Office, 3695 Lake Drive, Cocoa, FL. If you're interested in getting some edible vegetables and herbs for your garden this winter this is the place to get them!

SAFMC Approves Amendments for Public Hearings

Press release from the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council:

September 19, 2011 CONTACT: Kim Iverson
Public Information Officer
(843) 571-4366

Council Approves Amendments for Public Hearings
     Black sea bass fishery, wreckfish measures, and red grouper rebuilding will be addressed in November

     During its meeting this past week in Charleston, South Carolina, members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council moved forward with development of management measures impacting federal fisheries for black sea bass, red grouper, and wreckfish and approved two draft amendments to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan for public hearings this November.  Amendment 18A is being developed to reduce overcapacity in the commercial black sea bass pot fishery and reduce the rate of harvest for both the commercial and recreational sectors.  The draft amendment currently includes alternatives to establish a commercial trip limit (for all gear types), spawning season closures, and increasing existing size limits for black sea bass.

     The black sea bass stock is currently listed as overfished and undergoing overfishing.   The Council implemented regulations to end overfishing in 2010 as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, including establishment of an Annual Catch Limit of 409,000 pounds (whole weight) for the recreational sector and 309,000 pounds (whole weight) for the commercial sector.  The fishing year for black sea bass begins June 1st and both the commercial and recreational catch limits were met before the end of the 2010/2011 fishing year.  The fishery reopened on June 1, 2011 and the commercial fishery closed after meeting its catch limit in less than 45 days.  The recreational fishery remains open with a 5-fish bag limit.  NOAA Fisheries Service monitors recreational landings, which will likely meet the Annual Catch Limit before the end of the current fishing year. 
     As regulations have become more restrictive for other fisheries, effort has shifted and an increasing number of fishermen have begun targeting black sea bass.  One of the objectives of Amendment 18A is to limit participation in the commercial pot fishery, which accounts on average for 89% of the total commercial landings.  The amendment would establish an endorsement program to limit the number of participants in the pot fishery based on landings (historic and recent), limit the number of pots used during a permit year, and other measures to limit harvest and reduce bycatch.  In addition, the amendment contains alternatives for commercial trip limits, increasing size limits, and a spawning season closure for both commercial and recreational sectors to help extend the fishing season.  A new stock assessment for black sea bass is currently underway, and the Council will receive the results of the assessment in December. The stock is in Year 5 of a 10-Year rebuilding plan and fishermen have reported increases in the numbers and sizes of black sea bass encountered in recent years.  Amendment 18A also includes options to modify the current rebuilding strategy to allow for an increase in the Annual Catch Limit as the stock continues to rebuild, based on the results of the most recent stock assessment.
     Fishermen who target red grouper will also have an opportunity to provide public comment in November on Amendment 24 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan, which includes measures to end overfishing and rebuild the stock.  The amendment establishes a rebuilding plan, Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures and revises certain population parameters for red grouper.    Hearings were held in NC and SC in August but additional hearings were postponed due to the threat of Hurricane Irene.  At their September meeting, the Council reviewed the public comment received thus far.  The amendment will be included in the upcoming round of public hearings. 
     The Council also approved Amendment 20A to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan for public hearings.  The amendment addresses the current Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) program in place for the commercial wreckfish fishery; specific to the distribution of shares, including inactive shares, redistribution, and caps.  The Comprehensive ACL Amendment, which has been approved for submission to the Secretary of Commerce for formal review and implementation (see below), includes a reduction in the current wreckfish Annual Catch Limit from 2 million pounds to 250,000 pounds, based on recent landings.  Measures in Amendment 20A aim to make the necessary changes to the existing ITQ program so the fishery can continue to operate within the new ACL.

     Public hearings are tentatively scheduled as follows: November 14, Savannah, GA and N. Myrtle Beach, SC; November 15, Jacksonville, FL and Charleston, SC; November 16, Cape Canaveral, FL; November 17, Key Largo, FL and a final hearing will be held as part of the Council’s December meeting in Raleigh, NC on December 6, 2011.  Details regarding the public hearings will be publicized as they become available.

Other Measures
     The Council reviewed updated information regarding allocations between commercial and recreational sectors for species in the snapper grouper management complex as included in the Comprehensive Annual Catch Limit Amendment.  Values for the allocations were corrected from the previously approved version of the amendment, and the Council approved the updated amendment in a split vote of 7 to 4 for submission to the Secretary of Commerce.   The amendment meets the statutory deadline to establish ACLs and AMs for all species managed by the Council by the end of 2011.   
     Council members elected David Cupka for a second term as Council chairman and Ben Hartig of Hobe Sound, FL as the new Council vice-chair.  Chairman Cupka, an at-large member from Charleston, SC also served as the representative for the SC Department of Natural Resource’s Marine Resources Division before his retirement.  Ben Hartig, a commercial fisherman with a marine science background, previously served on the Council from 1993-1999 and was appointed chairman during that time.
     The next meeting of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is scheduled for December 5-9, 2011 in Raleigh, NC.  Details for the meeting and meeting materials will be posted on the Council’s website as they become available.

Friday, September 16, 2011

National Fisheries Institute releases Top 10 list of America's favorite seafood products

On Monday, September 12th, the National Fisheries Institute released its Top 10 list of America's favorite seafood products for 2010. Following is the press release about the findings:

By Steven Hedlund, SeafoodSource editor
12 September, 2011 - The National Fisheries Institute on Monday released its Top 10 list of America’s favorite seafood products in 2010.
Eight of the top 10 spots on the list remained unchanged from 2009. But two farmed finfish species — tilapia and pangasius — continue to climb the list.
For the first time, tilapia overtook Alaska pollock to become America’s fourth most popular seafood item, at 1.45 pounds per capita in 2010, up from 1.208 pounds in 2009.
And pangasius, the catfish-like species raised primarily in Vietnam, which made its debut on the top 10 list at 0.356 pounds per capita in 2009, surpassed clams to become America’s ninth most popular seafood item, at 0.405 pounds.
The rest of the list remained unchanged, with shrimp again leading the way at 4 pounds per capita in 2010, more than one-quarter of the 15.8 pounds of seafood that the average American consumer enjoyed. That’s down slightly from 4.1 pounds in 2009.
Canned tuna held on to the No. 2 position at 2.7 pounds per capita, up from 2.5 pounds in 2009. Consumption of salmon, the No. 3-ranked species, dropped from 2.04 pounds per capita in 2009 to 1.999 pounds in 2010.
Alaska pollock came in at No. 5 at 1.192 pounds, down from 1.208 pounds in 2009, as the 2010 Bering Sea pollock quota had been cut significantly from 2009.
The next three spots belonged to catfish (0.8 pounds), crab (0.573 pounds) and cod (0.463 pounds). Rounding out the Top 10 list was clams at 0.341 pounds.
NFI’s Top 10 list came three days after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Fisheries Service released its annual Fisheries of the United States report. Americans ate 15.8 pounds per capita in 2010, down from 16 pounds in 2008 and 2009 and the lowest amount since 2002’s 15.6 pounds. The agency adjusted the 2009 total, which originally came to 15.8 pounds, recalculating it to 16 pounds.
“If you look at the numbers from 2008, 2009 and now 2010, keeping in mind population growth, we’re hopeful that we’re beginning to see seafood consumption steadying, a trend that makes it poised for gains,” said NFI President John Connelly.

Here is the list compared to 2009:


Shrimp 4.1
Shrimp 4
Canned Tuna 2.5
Canned Tuna 2.7
Salmon 2.04
Salmon 1.999
Alaska Pollock 1.454
Tilapia 1.45
Tilapia 1.208
Alaska Pollock 1.192
Catfish 0.849
Catfish 0.8
Crab 0.594
Crab 0.573
Cod 0.419
Cod 0.463
Clams 0.35
Pangasius 0.405
Pangasius 0.356
Clams 0.341
*Data in pounds per capita

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Local Seafood Class Being Offered Sept 24th

Please join us for our very popular Local Seafood Class being held on Saturday, Sept 24th at 9am at Wild Ocean Seafood Market, 710 Scallop Drive at Port Canaveral. The cost to attend is $15 and pre-registration is required. Please visit http://brevard.ifas.ufl.edu and click on Class Registration to register. We hope to see you there!