Thousands protest federal fishing restrictions

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022510RallyThousands of fishermen converged on the nation’s capitol Wednesday to defend their right to fish and ask the federal government for more flexible rules until scientific data can prove stricter regulations are needed.

“We are not going to lose this one, because we are going to persist,” U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., said from the dais, according to media reports.

In a statement, Mica said legislation he introduced would delay fishery bans, but it was “stonewalled in Congress by the Administration and Maritime Council.”

“I am shocked and disappointed that the Administration would impose these economically damaging polices, especially during this time of distress and with so many Americans already out of work,” he said.

Fishermen from several Atlantic states turned up to blast federal bans on red snapper, grouper and other species that feed their livelihoods. They shouted, “Where’s the data?” and waved signs that read, “United We Fish” and “I Fish. I Vote.”

The National Marine Fisheries Service proposes banning commercial and recreational fishing for all 73 managed snapper and grouper species.

The ban makes the species off limits in federal waters from Florida to the Carolinas.

A red snapper ban went in effect on an interim basis last month and lasts through June. But the federal fisheries service can extend the ban another six months as it considers a year-round ban that also would apply to grouper and would stay in effect until red snapper rebound.

The council would ban fishing for the other species as a way to prevent bycatch of red snapper.

The final vote on the longer-term ban is expected later this year.

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7 comments on “Thousands protest federal fishing restrictions

  1. Ben

    How many fisheries have been wiped out already by over-fishing?  How many fishermen are now unemployed because the “right to fish” was abused?
    Sensible regulations and socially conscious self discipline are needed to maintain productive fisheries.  Everyone knows this, but not everyone acts accordingly.

  2. Bert Browning

    “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today.  Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”
    I guess this quote will eventually go out the door!
    It has started in California and now it is spreading to our region. Soon there will be nothing to share with your father, son, brother, or even your mother, daughter and/or sister. Next they will want to ban “fishing” boats, rod ‘n reels, and all the tackle. Let’s put even more people out of work and hurt the economy even further. Guess what…..this is HUGE industry and source of revenue for the state of Florida (where I live) through sales tax of supplies, fuel sales and license sales to name a few. As a recreational fisherman, it is currently barely worth making an offshore run (10-30miles in the big bend region of Florida’s gulf coast) grouper and snapper with the current limits set in place, without even considering the shortened snapper season or potential ban for snapper and grouper! I am certain the ”scientific data” did not come from our region because we cannot even drop a line for grouper without passing through the wall of snapper and having them take the hook first.
    If permanent bans happen to come, I might as well sell my boat if this happens……oh wait, hardly anyone is buying boats now days either.

  3. Marine Electronics Engineering

    Many of my customers and myself are having a hard time catching anything but Red Snapper, so where is the disconnect?  They are more plentiful than they were just 5 years ago and seem to have recovered well!
    A study was just done in FL to show that $8.5 billion dollars is generated in local economies due to recreational fisherman.  Are states willing to lose this money?
    The real problem is we have sold our souls to the Chinese and Japanese.  We need to extend our international boundaries and prevent foreign companies from fishing our waters.  And we need to enforce it like Canada does!  Fire a shot over their bow when they violate the boundaries.  If we stop letting the US Coast Guard spend $250,000 of US tax dollars to rescue dogs from abandoned ships and spending billions on controlling drug trafficking for people who are just going to get the drugs somewhere else, then maybe they could do their job of defending our waters!

  4. grouper doc

    If you think the govt or specifically NMFS is working to better the rishery, then you need a brain transplant…remember…NMFS brought fish trapping to the Gulf of Mexico when it was deemed to destructive for the south atlantic, NMFS continues to allow longlining when they themselves report that it is the most destructive fishery, but they still allow it , NMFS got a special law passed for the Magnus-Stevenson Act, where by its NOT the BEST science, but merely what NMFS SAYS is the best science, NMFS Red Snapper Rebuilding Targets are based on “best guesses” of what the traditional pre-1950 stocks where….NOT science, but admitted guesses, conjectures & what another whacko envoromental govermet agency chooses….HELL yes people should be protesting…ITS LONG OVER DUE!

  5. Malcolm- Australia

    Our hearts go with you all in the USA and surrounding fisheries. In Australia we have been fighting massive fishing closures from the government (Since 2002)who are reliant on the “Green Party” for their preference votes in order to hold goverment.    Yes the world is going mad, there is more and more unscientific mumbo jumbo which is effecting us all. We even have “PEW” trying to shut down the whole of the “Great Barrier Reef” region in Australia, and it is really tuff, trying to have any government deparment listen to ”truthfull science” put up to combat their B.S.. Just keep on fighting as long and as hard and as loud as you possibly can, and never give up. You certainly are not alone our fellow fisher folk. We have had to form the “Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party” in order to contest peoples rights over and above the “radical minority green groups”. Good luck all, and give back the very HELL they have started.

  6. Randolph Smith

    Well, we can thank the idiots who voted for Obama and other democrats for this sort of idiocy. It’s as if the inmantes are running the assylum. We have a chance to pull their fangs this fall. Get out and vote!

  7. bryce

    i think we should not have a federal restriction as everyone should be able to enjoy this great sport. if u want to save your fish why do u not have a bigger fish lemant
    this is what i think
    everyone want to injoy fishing it is a great sport and fun to do with your family and friends.

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