|Timestamp||Enter your full name||email address||City, State, Zip Code||Check all that apply||Comments|
|9/21/2017 12:04:44||Testemail@example.com||Tampa, FL||Other||TEST|
|12/29/2017 12:06:44||montana steell|
Satellite Beach, Florida, 32937
|Private Recreational Angler, Other||I am writing to express my strong support of Action 2 for Spiny Lobster Amendment 13. Enhanced cooperative management between state and federal bodies is critical to ensuring that appropriate and timely decisions are made and acted upon. Improved conduits of communication between the State of Florida and NMFS would expressly enhance effective cooperative management practices. Factors such as bag limits, degradable panel parameters, and clear definitions of artificial habit are critical to the appropriate management of this species. The ability to rectify current incongruences between state and federal regulations would enhance the cooperative management that is necessary to insure the vitality of this species. |
As a member of multiple camps (my father and brother were/are commercial fishermen, I recreationally spearfish, and I hold a master's degree in fisheries science), I implore you to support Action 2 so that the spiny lobster fishery can be enjoyed by future generations.
|12/30/2017 12:59:42||Lee Starlingfirstname.lastname@example.org||key west , fl 33040||Private Recreational Angler, Charter/Headboat For-Hire, Commercial Fisher||First , I can't imagine any area in Federal waters a bully netter could actually operate . The water would be too deep .|
Second I am against open access permits for bully netting .
This is unfair to the original lobster divers who had multiple permits on several boats . I personally had 3 , one on my skiff (16ft) which I used for shallow inshore waters ; another on my offshore boat (36 ft) to work the reef and west of Key West . Also an individual permit .
These permits were necessary for the area I worked in due to bottom depth.
Due to pressure from the trap industry and FWCC's lack of proper permitting procedures , the amount of dive permits exploded and artificial bottom became standard for those newly issued permitted lobster divers . Most of whom did not actually qualify for the income requirements ; and held other full time jobs as firemen , County , City workers and other occupations . They received "crew share member statements " which were not vetted properly and they received dive permits .
These permits were immediately abused by harvesting from artificial bottom in the Gulf back country ,and pre season harvest . When a harvester sells 800 lbs of lobster on opening morning at 8:00 , the trappers notice , and they were angry about these blatant violations .
They used their political numbers and representation to pass stringent laws against lobster divers . Loss of holding permits on 2 boats , permit holder had to be on board , and a limit of 250 lobsters per day . Severely limited and reduced income of legitimate , honest harvesters in order to punish a handful of Offenders who basically only worked the first opening month and then had to return to their full time jobs .
Many were eventually caught working illegal artificial bottom and fined . Still , the honest harvesters were penalized by the new rules favoring trappers .
Then despite levels of divers having not being lowered to pre casita periods , FWCC opened the limited entry permitting and allowed leasing and sales of the permits bringing more competition in the field .
Since the divers who had entered the industry primarily to work artificial bottom as their source of lobster were pushed onto the bottom that pre casita harvesters had worked traditionally . This created user conflict in the industry . Areas which previously supported 2-3 divers now had 8 or more constantly pounding the same area , the pie was cut into many small pieces and the amount of catches fell and lobsters that should passed through these channels to make it to the reef and spawn were reduced dramatically . Not all lobsters should be harvested , in order to have a sustainable fishery some actually need to make it to the shallow reef to spawn . Unfortunately the amount of intense harvest in these "choke points " allowed few to migrate there .
Then came a large influx , demonstrated by your landings , of bully netters who had an impact on the flats before the lobsters made to the channels , to make it to the reef . How much impact can that population absorb ? No , there does not need to be bully net permits handed out recklessly , like the dive permits were , with out serious consideration of the consequences. Over the past 4 years I have seen landings fall every year in the Key West area , while landings increase in Marathon and Big Pine , could it be the lobsters aren't getting past the concentrated effort of harvest in those areas ?
Any new permits should have a serious vetting process , why should I have to compete with someone who also has a full time job ?
I feel I was treated unfairly when I had to choose which vessel I would keep my only allowable dive permit on , even though both vessels met all qualifying standards for landings and income . It extremely hard to go work an area of 3 ft depth when your only permitted vessel draws 3 ft . It removes 20% of available bottom from harvest , which was accessible prior with my skiff .
So , I say No, to open access permitting , considering these circumstances .
Lee Starling , F/V Green Turtle