Future talk: kids in boating and red snapper

Today we recognize two organizations — the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association and Keep Florida Fishing — for reaching out to support boating’s future, and seeking a much-needed change in fishery management that has shortchanged recreational anglers.

First, the MMTA declared Saturday, June 10, as “Massachusetts KIDS Boating Day.” There will be at least four major kids boating events taking place around the Bay State.

Events aimed at kids are an important element for the future of the marine industry. It’s known that more than 70 percent of adult boaters started boating when they were kids. Reason enough to find ways to get kids and boats together.

In Newburyport, for example, the “Touch A Boat” event includes meeting at Merrohawke Nature School where guests will learn about boats and which boats are open to visitors; they’ll meet local captains and crews; and kids and families will go aboard each boat at dockside to learn more.

Meanwhile, in Hingham, it will be “Touch A Boat” on the South Shore where the Friends of Hingham Harbor invite kids to step aboard a harbormaster patrol boat, explore a working lobster boat and cruise around picturesque Hingham Harbor. It’s actually Hingham’s sixth annual event and includes activities ranging from sand sculpturing to exhibits of boating safety education.

“Touch a Boat” Nantucket will also be celebrating National Marina Day at Swain's Wharf with boats, crafts and kids interactive activities. Meanwhile, over at the Charlestown Marina, the Kids Day celebration will include marina tours for families; the Pier 6 Restaurant will feature a Kids Day menu; and an outdoor movie on Pier 8 will top things off at dusk.

Input needed on red snapper

Keep Florida Fishing put out a call to dealers and anglers in Florida to become engaged with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s special public meeting online and via phone at 2 p.m. Friday.

According to Keep Florida Fishing director Gary Jennings, red snapper is the meeting topic and the discussion will center on a possible extension to the federal Gulf red snapper season for recreational fishermen by exchanging some state days for federal days.

Much to the chagrin of recreational anglers, the 2017 federal Gulf red snapper season was just three days (June 1-3), while Florida’s state season is set at 78 days total. Discussions between theU.S. Department of Commerce and all the Gulf states are focused on aligning an expanded federal season on weekends and holidays through the summer with existing state seasons. But the added federal waters days would require giving up some state days, mainly during the week through the summer and possibly in the fall.

Florida dealers and anglers will be able to listen to the meeting and provide public comment. Dial 1-800-832-0736 and then after the prompt enter star (*); the room number (3358288), then pound (#). You will also be able to view the meeting’s presented content online here.

Online comments on red snapper can also be sent in and will be considered during Friday’s meeting. However, they must be received no later than noontime today in order to be included in Friday’s session. Click here to submit comments.

Recreational fishermen have been shafted by federal management of the red snapper fishery in the Gulf for far too long. Our rational objections and pleas have been ignored, but no longer. Now, fed up (pun intended), the Gulf States and their millions of family anglers are taking actions and triggering overdue discussions of new policies for recreational anglers. Weigh in!


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