Gulf Coast Fisherman
MDMR TO OPEN RED SNAPPER SEASON STARTING JULY16
Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR) has announced that Mississippi anglers will be allowed to harvest Red Snapper in state waters from July 16 through Oct. 31. Mississippi territorial waters will be open from 12:01 a.m. July 16 through 11:59 p.m. Oct. 31. The bag limit will be two Red Snapper per person with a minimum size of 16 inches.
“I believe a state season will have minimal impact on the resource and will benefit our local recreational anglers,” said Jamie Miller, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. “We want them to have every opportunity to fish for Red Snapper, and extending the state season through October will provide anglers greater flexibility to plan trips and will provide MDMR with additional landings data.”
In 2012, the state Legislature approved extending state waters to 9 miles for fisheries management, and the law went into effect July 1, 2013. However, fishermen are reminded that the federal government does not recognize this distance, and anyone possessing Red Snapper farther than 3 miles south of the barrier islands could receive citations from federal law enforcement officers or federally deputized law enforcement. Fishing between three and nine miles in Mississippi waters is at the angler’s own risk.
Anglers also are required to participate in MDMR’s reporting program for Red Snapper. Officials have implemented several methods for fishermen to report their harvest, including a smartphone app, a website, and a call center.
“The purpose of this electronic reporting system is to provide fishery managers the best available data to ensure Mississippi anglers the most opportunities and greatest flexibility for Red Snapper harvest,” said Matt Hill, director of MDMR’s Finfish Bureau. “The mandatory reporting system will provide for accurate and timely data that will be used for better resource management.”
The federal Red Snapper season ran from June 1-10, and Hill said there was a high compliance rate among anglers for that season. Anglers with smartphones can download “Tails N Scales” in the iTunes App store or on Google Play. They also can use the website, www.tailsnscales.org or the App to create a profile and plan a trip. However, anglers must close out one trip before creating a new one. They also can call 1-844-MSSNAPP (677-6277) to speak to a representative to create their profile and trip. For more information on reporting data, go to the Red Snapper page at dmr.ms.gov.
SCIENTISTS PREDICT AVERAGE GULF OF MEXICO DEAD ZONE
Scientists from NOAA, the U.S. Geological Survey, and six universities partnered to generate their annual forecast of the hypoxic zone that forms each summer in the Gulf of Mexico. A hypoxic or "dead" zone is an area of dissolved oxygen levels too low to support most marine life. This year's dead zone is forecast to be approximately the size of Connecticut, the same size it has averaged over the past several years.
NOAA SEEKS COMMENTS ON GULF RED SNAPPER REALLOCATION COMMENT PERIOD ENDS JULY 20
NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment on a draft environmental impact statement for Amendment 28 to The Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) is considering an action to reallocate the red snapper harvest between the commercial and recreational sectors. The purpose is to reallocate the red snapper harvest consistent with the 2015 red snapper assessment update to ensure the allowable catch and recovery benefits are fairly and equitably allocated between the commercial and recreational sectors. The Council is considering commercial:recreational allocation options ranging from the current allocation of 51:49 percent to 33.3:67.7 percent, respectively. The draft environmental impact statement analyzes the impacts of this proposed action on the human environment.
You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2013-0146, by either of the following methods:
ELECTRONIC SUBMISSION: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.
1. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAANMFS-2013-0146.
2. Click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields.
3. Enter or attach your comments.
MAIL: Submit written comments to Peter Hood, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
SUCCESS FOR FDA FISH FRAUD FIGHTING PROGRAM
The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ongoing integration of forensic science as a way of combating seafood fraud and mislabeling is paying off. The project known as Fish Seafood Compliance and Labeling Enforcement (SCALE) is being recognized by the Department of Health and Human Services at the HHS Innovates Awards for its outstanding success with DNA testing. The program’s educational component is also winning praise, while the combined effort is being called “state-of-the-art.” Project Fish SCALE is one of seven HHS projects to receive this annual award but is the only FDA program recognized.
“The integration of high tech science to root out fraud, with good old fashion training and promotion, and to prevent it, is a winning combination found in Fish SCALE,” said Lisa Weddig, Secretary of the Better Seafood Board. “Paying this type of strategic attention to seafood fraud will make a real difference.”
In October, the culmination of two years’ worth of Fish SCALE research found 85 percent percent of commercial seafood, tested at wholesale, was labeled correctly. This innovative DNA examination gives FDA the ability to focus its resources on higher risk species with more targeted investigations.
“The enforcement of correct labeling is vital to the integrity and future of the seafood community. It’s great to see such strong and focused efforts from the FDA recognized,” said BSB Chairman Jamie Marshall, senior vice president of food service at Trident Seafoods. “Mislabeling hurts businesses that are doing the right thing as much as it does consumers.”
The BSB encourages the FDA’s science-based approach and supports the innovate DNA testing initiatives provided by the Fish SCALE project. The Better Seafood Board (BSB) was established by the National Fisheries Institute to provide a mechanism for industry’s partners in the supply chain – restaurants, retail operations, producers and processors - to report suppliers suspected of committing economic fraud.(Source: The Fish News Desk June 29. 2015)
LOUISIANA REPEALS TED ENFORCEMENT LAW
On June 4th, the Louisiana Senate voted unanimously to repeal a 1987 state law that prohibits Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents from enforcing federal turtle-excluder device regulations. However, the legislation must return to the state House for a second vote, after a Senate committee added a provision that would strip tax credits, rebates, or other incentives provided by the state to retailers who boycott or otherwise refuse to purchase shrimp caught in Louisiana waters. Sen. Norby Chabert, R-Houma, said the change is required because "big box" retailers like Wal-Mart and Costco have abided by a boycott of Louisiana shrimp, in part because Monterey Bay's Seafood Watch program recommends seafood consumers avoid Louisiana shrimp because of sea turtle bycatch, pointing to the fact that Louisiana is the only state that doesn't enforce the trawl regulations.
The repeal legislation was unanimously endorsed by the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force on April 1.
"We applaud the Louisiana Senate and Louisiana shrimpers for recognizing that by protecting sea turtles, they're protecting their livelihoods," said Gib Brogan, fisheries campaign manager with the ocean conservation and advocacy nonprofit Oceana. "This bill will lead to the Louisiana shrimp industry having access to 13,000 additional restaurants and stores across the country to sell their product."
As the industry battles cheap shrimp imports from around the world, it needs every available market to sell its wild catch.
"It's simply unacceptable for thousands upon thousands of endangered and threatened sea turtles to be unnecessarily killed every year when there is a proven solution to this problem," Brogan said. "This bill is a win-win for both sea turtles and fishermen."
TEDs have been required in otter trawls for more than 20 years, but shrimpers using skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls, and wing-net trawls are authorized to use tow time limits instead, based on the time of year, to help prevent incidental turtle catch. There are five species of sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, and all are protected under the Endangered Species Act. They include loggerhead, green, Kemp's ridley, hawksbill, and leatherback turtles. Although, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently have proposed reclassifying the green sea turtle as simply "threatened" due to improvements in their populations.
NOMINATIONS SOUGHT FOR MARINE FISHERIES ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Nominations are being sought for appointment by the Secretary of Commerce to fill vacancy openings on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC or Committee) pending late October 2015. MAFAC is the only Federal advisory committee with the responsibility to advise the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) on all matters concerning living marine resources that are the responsibility of the Department of Commerce. The Committee makes recommendations to the Secretary to assist in the development and implementation of Departmental regulations, policies, and programs critical to the mission and goals of NMFS. Nominations are encouraged from all interested parties involved with or representing interests affected by NMFS actions in managing living marine resources. Nominees should possess demonstrable expertise in a field related to the management of living marine resources and be able to fulfill the time commitments required for two annual meetings and year round subcommittee work. Individuals serve for a term of three years for no more than two consecutive terms if re-appointed. NMFS is seeking qualified nominees to fill upcoming vacancies being created by term limits. Nominations must be postmarked or have an email date stamp on or before July 20,
Nominations should be sent to Jennifer Lukens, Executive Director, MAFAC, Office of Policy, NMFS F-14553, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
________________________________________________________________ This information was compiled by Dave Burrage, Peter Nguyen and Benedict Posadas. For more information, visit our office at 1815 Popps Ferry Road, Biloxi, MS 39532 or telephone (228) 388-4710.
MSU Coastal Research and