Suddenly and without warning the National Marine Fisheries Service closed Amberjack season in a decision made today. Quoting Senator Don Gaetz, “This decision combines too much authority with too little science.”
Here is the email he sent this evening:
Today, without warning and with apparent disregard for the impact on Northwest Florida’s economy, the National Marine Fisheries Service suddenly announced that it was closing the amberjack season. This decision combines too much authority with too little science.
I strongly oppose this arbitrary decision and have asked the NMFS to reconsider and recall their announcement. No valid and reliable scientific evidence has been presented that would justify this action.
NMFS is a federal agency outside of the jurisdiction of the State of Florida. Therefore I am appealing to our two US senators, George LeMieux and Bill Nelson, and Congressmen Allan Boyd and Jeff Miller to join me in a request for reconsideration.
It is a measure of the insensitivity of NMFS that the agency would take this last minute action while the Destin Fishing Rodeo still has a week to go. Destin is hosting fishermen who have come here from throughout the country. The amberjack fishery is important to visitors who spend millions of dollars a year supporting our coastal economy. Though we will feel the sting here, this draconian action affects communities along our entire Gulf coast.
It is ironic that a federal government handing out billions of “stimulus dollars” with one hand is, with the other, hurting the entrepreneurs, the small businesspeople who own, operate and work on fishing boats in our area. For many of our captains and mates trying to hang onto their livelihood, decisions like that made today by NMFS are an anchor rope around their throats.
Unfortunately, it appears we will see a continual attack on our sport fishing industry by federal regulators. Red snapper, grouper and other fisheries have already been victims of NMFS. Therefore, in my capacity as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Florida’s Economy, I have today requested Workforce Florida to develop and offer dislocated worker and training services to Northwest Florida fishermen who may have no choice but to seek other ways to earn a living.
Not being much of an angler myself and not fully understanding the ramifications of a decision such as this, and knowing that TONS of anglers read PCBDaily, please post in the comments below how this will effect the fishing industry in our area and what this means for our local economy.