October Brings Even More Closures to the South Atlantic

 If you think the headlines about fishery closures in the South Atlantic are getting old, imagine being a fisherman in the region.  As these closures continue to pile up, they are looking at months off the water.

On October 8, 2012 the commercial black sea bass fishery will close for the year.  The fishery opened on July 1, 2012 after having eliminated half of its fishermen – many who had made serious investments in gear and relied on black sea bass for many years.  This was a result of a fishery management tool called “endorsements” implemented by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

Endorsements eliminate fishermen from a specific fishery to handle overfishing by setting a minimum average of pounds of fish that fishermen must have caught in the past to receive an “endorsement” to fish for that species in the 2012 season. The unfortunate truth about endorsements is that conservation-practicing fishermen who fish with less gear, catch less fish, and are paid a higher price for their quality fish are forced out of the fishery in favor of those who use more gear, catch more fish, and flood the market with lower quality fish.

In South Carolina this program eliminated 80 percent of the fishermen who had previously been trapping sea bass. It hurt fishing families throughout the region, and especially in the Carolinas – where in some fishing towns, not a single fisherman received an endorsement.  To make this hardship worse, after all of that, this year’s season only lasted 55 days longer than the previous year.

Fishermen are willing to sacrifice to ensure the long-term sustainability of the fish, but a program that results in blanket removal of fisherman, without any hope for a future stake in the fishery, isn’t good policy.

More closures are coming for fishermen in this region and the question of how long they can hang on is getting harder to answer.  The outdated command and control management isn’t working for the stocks and isn’t working for the fishermen.  They deserve better. Read More »

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More Closures Coming For South Atlantic Fishermen


Source: JamesAlan1986 at en.wikipedia

Earlier this month the South Atlantic was hit with a number of closures.  Many fishermen will be off the water until April 2013 and now the Southeast Regional Office of the National Marine Fisheries Service has announced another closure.

The Commercial Vermillion Snapper fishery will close on September 28th, 2012.  The fishery has exceeded its catch limit and will be closed through the end of the year.

This is an important fishery in the region, but short seasons are nothing new to the fishermen.  While there was good news for commercial yellowtail snapper fishermen, whose season has been extended, more closures are expected for commercial fishermen in the region. Many are worried about how they will survive such a long time off the water.

There are better ways to manage fisheries, and fishermen in the Southeast deserve better options than this.

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September Closures Will Bring Heartache to Fishermen in the Southeast

Beginning on September 8, 2012, a series of closures will begin for commercial fishermen in the South Atlantic.  Closures have become all too commonplace for fishermen in the region that spans from North Carolina all the way down the Atlantic coast of Florida.

The upcoming closures will include a number of species:



Closure Begins


Yellowedge grouper, blueline tilefish, silk snapper, misty grouper, queen snapper, sand tilefish, black snapper, blackfin snapper

 September 8, 2012

Gray triggerfish

Gray triggerfish

 September 11, 2012


Jolthead, knobbed, saucereye, whitebone, scup

September 8, 2012

Yellowtail snapper

Yellowtail snapper

 September 11, 2012

Command and control management that dominates the South Atlantic fisheries isn’t working for fish or for fishermen.  Stocks are continuing to suffer and fishermen are barely hanging on.  We continue to hear reports from fishermen that many are ready to leave the fishing business, some have had to look to government assistance to feed their families and many face a serious mountain of debt.  Being off the water for months at a time and working in constant fear of closures is no way to run a business.These species are crucial to many commercial fishermen in the region.  The closure of the gray triggerfish and yellowtail snapper fisheries are unprecedented. With spawning closures taking place at the beginning of 2013, this could mean more than six months off the water for many commercial snapper-grouper fishermen. Read More »

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