CHARTER FOR HIRE FISHERY MANAGEMENT PLAN (FMP)
A separate fishery management plan (FMP) for the federally permitted Charter for Hire Industry would give Charter For Hire sector its own identity as a separate user group and stakeholder in present and future management plans. With that uniqueness comes political relevance,strength and influence as the Charter for Hire Sector becomes accountable for what it catches and as it operates within its own fishery management plan (FMP) becomes better stewards of the resource that has been allocated to the Charter for Hire sector.
MRIPP will the receptors of data that comes from a charter for hire data collection system ie E-log books rather than the producers of the data (random surveys). The charter for hire sector will produce the landing data and MRIPP will assimilate it. Programs like I-Snapper, O’l Fish,Blue fin or some other E-log system will allow for near real time data collection and help prevent over fishing the accountable catch limits (ACL) and any penalties that arise from over fishing. That alone, will help stabilize our fishing season lengths.
Under a separate Charter for Hire fishery management plan (FMP) and data collection system we can prevent over fishing the accountable catch limit (ACL) stopping further season reduction and at the same time gain more access and fishing days when accountable catch limits (ACL) are increased . The NMFS Office of Sustainability showed us that this was true as a separate charter for hire sector with its own fishery management plan (FMP)
Having our own accountability measures (AM) and data collection system will benefit the charter for hire sector due to the information not being watered down by the uncertainties associated with the private boat recreational sectors lack of data and accountability
Most regulations enacted by NMFS since the mid 90’S have been directed at the charter for hire fleet. We have born a unfair part of the burden to limit effort and landings yet have very little benefits to show for that burden. We have been managed as a separate sector, yet have no long term benefit from being managed that way.
As a identifiable user group with its own allocation of fish and FMP fishery management plan , we gain the much needed flexibility to find solutions and present ideas to NMFS and the Gulf Council. Our industry can have direct input that will enable all federal permit holders to develop a fishery management plan (FMP) to maximize the best use and most profitable management of their allocation of the fishery. A plan that saves fish and saves JOBS. Issue like going to one fish to double the fishing season, or a days at sea program or spilt seasons are more difficult to address due to resistance from the private boat recreational angler. Under the present system our business needs and the healthy management of the resource are very difficult to address.
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