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Fast start for Modern Fish Act; New BoatUS on-water training

The years of work to see the Modern Fish Act become law are already paying off within the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. In other news, BoatUS has announced its intent to expand its On-Water Training program.

A big shout out to the SAFMC. It is already developing new management activities for the recreational fishery that line up with the Act. SAFMC is launching MyFishCount, a recreational reporting website and smartphone app designed to allow anglers to voluntarily report their fishing activity, including numbers of fish harvested, numbers released, depth fished and other information expected to prove helpful for more responsive management.

Captains of for-hire boats (head boats and charter boats) with federal permits are currently required to report catches electronically. This year, however, those captains in the South Atlantic region will also be required to electronically report trip-level data for all trips and all species caught on a weekly basis, thus improving the timeliness and accuracy of data used for fisheries management.

In 2018, the SAFMC participated in a Recreational Fishing Workshop with the American Sportfishing Association, Coastal Conservation Association and Yamaha Marine. The workshop was part of a three-phase project to explore approaches for innovative management of the private recreational sector of the South Atlantic Snapper-Grouper fishery.

“The Council is very excited to be cooperating with the recreational fishing community to develop this new approach for the Council’s area and we look forward to receiving recommendations from the recreational sector,” said Spud Woodward, a SAFMC member.

Hopefully the SAFMC’s fast move to implement the intent and spirit of the Modern Fish Act will serve as a guide for immediate action by the other councils during 2019.

More On-Water Training

The BoatUS Foundation has announced a plan to partner with marinas, dealers, boat shows and other organizations around the country to deliver increased On-Water Training. Opportunities are open for dealer participation as the nationwide program is developed this year.

The 2019 national kick-off will take place next month at the Progressive Miami International Boat Show. BoatUS is seeking a number of partners and venues to conduct 10 to 15 pilot events around the country. Typically, these events draw between 40 to 60 students per day and present an excellent opportunity to market a facility and/or boat inventory.

Basically, a partner must be able to provide four to six boats that are reliable, clean, safe and suitable for instruction. Freedom Boat Club has already jumped on board for some sites. General requirements include: ample parking; reasonable access to bathrooms/shelter; and dock space, including open slips and header pier for docking techniques instruction and practice.

BoatUS handles all registration and billing. All student-contact information will be provided to any partner. BoatUS will also offer day-of event support with Foundation team employees on site for the event to handle all logistics. The team will also provide any relevant materials, such as lifejackets, promotional items, water, and insurance as well as USCG-licensed captains trained in the approved curriculum.

BoatUS will market the event through online properties, local event sites, print and through access to unique boater contact lists. Early events are already slated for: Warwick, R.I.; Miami, Fla.; Orange Beach Ala.; Stevensville, Md.; Acworth, Ga.; and Rochester, N.Y.

Any dealer or marina interested in conducting an On-Water Training event or to suggest an ideal venue can contact Alan Dennison at: adennison@boatus.com or 703-461-2878 ext. 8353. 

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