Louisiana Private Rec - Red Snapper Allocation

If y’all have not heard, the State of LA is seeking approval of an Exempted Fishing Permit to test a catch share plan for pri rec anglers.  A strong rumor has it that EDF helped develop, if not totally developed the proposal for LA.  Pretty much every rec org has come out opposed.  If this efp is allowed to proceed it could be devastating to the recreational sector as a whole.  I sent the below to the Gulf Council as they will be discussing this next week at their meeting.  The RA for the NMFS Sero, Dr Crabtree can approve the efp regardless of any opposition.  I will keep all posted on the outcome.

I will be sending a similar letter to the SOC in a few days.


On behalf of the members of the Panama City Boatmen Association (PCBA) and the National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO) I want to express our extreme opposition to the proposed EFP presented by the State of Louisiana.  This proposal is an effort to explore a recreational catch share system, which the vast majority of all recreational anglers are adamantly opposed.  This proposed EFP does not even attempt to properly address a true catch share system.

This proposal provides for a lottery to select 150 private recreational boat owners to participate in the program which will provide 25,000 pounds of the LA recreational projected annual harvest of 14% (1.098 million pounds) of the total Gulf recreational harvest.  The 14% number was developed in the Council rejected proposed amendment 39.  A key problem with LA using this number for the EFP that is restricted to private recreational anglers is the 14% includes all recreational anglers which includes charter/headboat for hire recreational anglers.  The 25,000 pounds projected to be gifted to the 150 lottery winners will come out of the total recreational fishery.  The charter/headboat for hire fishermen will not be eligible to participate but will lose access to 25,000 pounds of available red snapper.  This proposal discriminates against LA charter/headboat for hire vessel owners.

In addition, the proposal will allow the 150 participants to fish under the LA state recreational red snapper season and be gifted approximately 20 red snapper +/- outside the state season.  Other than gifting 20 red snapper +/- how will this EFP prove that anglers will support and the fishery can be better managed under the proposal?  Frankly, anyone would support being able to land more fish than allowed under a state season, an EFP is not necessary to prove such a concept.

The use of a lottery to select 150 lucky participants only differs from having to pay for the right to have red snapper gifted exclusively by the fact the fish are provided without compensation.  Use of a lottery, by definition, allows only those individuals fortunate enough to win.  If such a system were to ultimately be the mechanism to select the lucky individuals those who are not selected will lose access to the fishery and have no opportunity to harvest red snapper.  This type of management is only to reduce fishing capacity and will cause much social and economic harm to the many small family businesses who support recreational fishing activities.  In addition it will be socially and economically destructive to the small local fishing communities in LA and eventually to the rest of the Gulf and the Nation.  This proposal is contrary to the current goals of the Trump Administration which is to promote business opportunities and to eliminate regulatory restrictions.

Another reason this proposal is unrealistic and should be denied is the math of the fishery.  LA proposes to provide 20 +/- red snapper to each of the 150 participants using only 25,000 pounds.  This equates to an average size of 8 + pounds per red snapper.  According to LA officials I have spoken to there are 15,000 to 20,000 LA offshore anglers licensed to fish off LA.  Using the 1,098,000 million pounds that are projected for the LA allocation under A39 and should the proposed EFP become the program for LA anglers and assuming the number is 17,500 (the middle of 15,000 to 20,000), and all anglers would be provided a share, it would amount to approximately 8 red snapper per angler, less than half of those provided for in the EFP.  Under a lottery system, in order to increase the number of red snapper to be close to 20 per angler, more than half of all LA offshore anglers would be eliminated from the fishery.  While this may be the ultimate goal of the proposed EFP to reduce the number of anglers able to fish, it is not fair and will work to destroy the recreational fishery in LA, the Gulf, and eventually the Nation.

This proposal is not necessary to achieve the stated goals of the plan.  There are many other less destructive ways to improve real time data collection without eliminating participants.  Flexibility for anglers fishing time is restricted to a predetermined number of anglers selected by state managers.  The rest of the anglers are eliminated.  The simple fact is if you want to provide more flexibility to anglers in order to fish whenever they want, eliminate more than half and the rest will certainly be able to fish whenever.  There are also other, less destructive  means to provide fishery managers with real time harvest data.

This proposed EFP is ill-conceived and only serves to prove what is known, eliminate anglers and those few that are left will have unlimited access to the fishery.  This proposed EFP must be rejected.


Capt. Bob Zales, II




I and many others will not be in attendance for the Council meeting beginning on Monday since we will be fishing for red snapper for the short 49 day season.  The above is my testimony that would be stated if I was there.

Proposed Limited Entry on Charter For-hire Vessel Permits

From: Bob Zales 2 [mailto:bobzales2@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, December 05, 2016 10:53 AM
To: 'Gregg Waugh'
Cc: 'michelle.duval@ncdenr.gov'; 'ga_capt@yahoo.com'; 'AnnaBarriosBeckwith@gmail.com'; 'timgrinersafmc@gmail.com'; 'bellm@dnr.sc.gov'; 'conklinsafmc@gmail.com'; 'capt.markbrown@comcast.net'; 'fishzack@comcast.net'; 'doughaymans@gmail.com'; 'WCBLAW@aol.com'; 'mackattackben@att.net'; 'McCawley, Jessica'; 'Roy Crabtree - NOAA Federal'; 'nick wiley'; 'Bademan, Martha'; 'Doug Gregory'
Subject: proposed limited entry on charter for hire vessel permits
Importance: High


I am President of the National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO) and we represent for hire charter boat owners and operators from Alaska to Maine including Hawaii, the Great Lakes, and Caribbean Territories.  Many of you know me and the rest have heard of me and my over 26 years of active involvement in the fishery management process on all levels.  For anyone who does not know of my history here is a brief recap.

I was the charter boat representative working with the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission and helped develop the current “For Hire Survey” which was and is a dramatic improvement on how for hire recreational data is collected in the Gulf and South Atlantic.  I served on the working group that developed the current guidelines to build and place artificial reefs.  I was among the first 30 appointees to the Marine Protected Area Federal Advisory Committee where I served as Vice Chair during my last two years on the Committee.  We developed the original “Framework for the National System of MPAs of the United States of America”.  One of the most important panels I served was as Chairman of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Ad Hoc Charter/Headboat Moratorium Advisory Panel.  Our recommendation for the current for hire charter/headboat limited entry program in the Gulf was the foundation of the current Gulf Moratorium on charter/headboat permits.

NACO has been and currently remains adamantly opposed to charter/headboat limited entry programs.  Our position was developed and has been reinforced several times since 2010.  I and others were first recruited by Drs. Hogarth and Crabtree in late 1999 to recruit and garner support for a limited entry program for charter and headboats in the Gulf in order to, in their words, “be able to maintain a 6 month season and 4 fish bag limit for recreational red snapper.”  They also told us that by creating a limited entry program we would not be reducing capacity, we would only cap capacity and this would ensure that our 6 month season and bag limit would be secure.  We were promised that the program would work to the benefit of the recreational sector as capping the number of charter and headboats would prevent expanding the fleet and prevent over harvesting.

The AP members worked hard to convince for hire vessel owners that the NMFS program would be good for them, even if they did not fish for red snapper as many for hire vessel owners and operators did not catch red snapper at that time as other reef fish were their targets.  After the Ad Hoc AP finished our work the council developed the current moratorium program.  Once the program was finally enacted, it was delayed due to NMFS mistakes, it was not long before many of us realized we had been duped, lied too!  The moratorium and capping of available permits did not work to maintain our season, indeed in 2007 we were restricted to 4 months and have seen a steady decline in the number of available days since with a reduction in the bag limit from 4 fish to 2.  The limited entry program has resulted in an additional stock market for fisheries along with IFQs as permits are traded back and forth for profit.   

Shortly after the moratorium program was implemented and I began to see how we were grossly misled and the program was working to eliminate for hire vessel owners from the industry I admitted  my mistake of advocating and support.  Working to develop the moratorium has turned out to be one of the biggest mistakes I have made in my fishery management activities.  This is why I fully support the NACO decision to oppose any form of limited entry and catch share program for recreational for hire charter and headboats.  The SAFMC will do a great service to the recreational for hire charter and headboats in their region and others by voting for status quo on proposed amendments 45, 31, and 11 and oppose limited entry.  Limited entry in the recreational for hire industry will only serve to destroy the for hire vessel industry and will work to eliminate access and opportunity for the many people who utilize recreational for hire vessels to recreationally fish. 

NACO strongly encourages you to OPPOSE any form of limited entry.

Thank you,

Capt Bob Zales, II



2014 Regional Fishery Council Appointments

U.S. Commerce Department Announces 

2014 Regional Fishery Council Appointments

June 26, 2014  -- The following was released by NOAA:

The U.S. Commerce Department today announced the appointment of 22 new and returning members to the eight regional fishery management councils that partner with NOAA's Fisheries Service to manage ocean fish stocks. The new and reappointed council members begin their three-year terms on August 11.

The councils were established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to prepare fishery management plans for marine fish stocks in their regions. NOAA's Fisheries Service works closely with the councils as plans are developed, and then reviews, approves, and implements the fishery management plans. Council members represent diverse groups, including commercial and recreational fishing industries, environmental organizations and academia, and they carry out the act's requirements to end overfishing, rebuild fish stocks, and manage them sustainably.

"All of us at NOAA Fisheries are eager to start working with our new council members, and to continue the work we've been doing with returning members," said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. "The partnerships we have with the councils are more important than ever in order to continue the positive momentum we've been making with federally managed species in recent years."

Each year, approximately one-third of the total 72 appointed members to the eight regional councils are appointed by the Secretary of Commerce. The Secretary selects members from nominations submitted by the governors of fishing states, territories and tribal governments.

Council members are appointed to both obligatory (state-specific) and at-large (regional) seats. Council members serve a three-year term and can be reappointed to serve three consecutive terms.Asterisks preceding a member's name indicate a reappointment. 

New England Council

The New England Council includes members from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The appointees for 2014 will fill four at-large seats.

At-large seats:

*Thomas D. Dempsey (Massachusetts)

Elizabeth "Libby" M. P. Etrie (Massachusetts)

*Peter T. Kendall (New Hampshire)

*Mary Beth Nickell-Tooley (Maine)


Mid-Atlantic Council

The Mid-Atlantic Council includes members from the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The appointees for 2014 will fill obligatory seats for Maryland, North Carolina, New York, and Pennsylvania and one at-large seat.


Obligatory seats:

*G.(George) W. Elliott (Pennsylvania)

*Francis "Dewey" Hemilright, Jr. (North Carolina)

*Howard J. King, III (Maryland)

*John G. McMurray (New York)


At-large seat:

*Laurie A. Nolan (New York)


South Atlantic Council

The South Atlantic Council includes members from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The appointees for 2014 will fill two at-large seats.


At-large seats:

William "Chester" Brewer, Jr. (Florida)

Mark E. Brown (South Carolina)


Caribbean Council

The Caribbean Council includes members from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The appointee for 2014 will fill an obligatory seat for Puerto Rico.


Obligatory seat:

Marcos R. Hanke (Puerto Rico)


Gulf Council

The Gulf Council includes members from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The appointees for 2014 will fill three at-large seats.


At-large seats:

*Pamela J. Dana (Florida)

Gregory W. Stunz (Texas)

David A. Walker (Alabama)


Pacific Council

The Pacific Council includes members from California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The appointees for 2014 will fill an obligatory seat for Washington and one at-large seat.


Obligatory seat:

*Richard "Rich" H. Lincoln (Washington)


At-large seat:

*Jeffrey "Jeff" N. Feldner (Oregon)


North Pacific Council

The North Pacific Council includes members from Alaska and Washington. The appointees for 2014 will fill an obligatory seat for Alaska and an obligatory seat for Washington.


Obligatory seats:

*John J. Henderschedt (Washington)

Simon Kinneen (Alaska)


Western Pacific Council

The Western Pacific Council includes members from American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The appointees for 2014 will fill an obligatory seat for Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and two at-large seats.


Obligatory seat:

John E. Gourley (Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands)

At-large seats:

*Edwin "Ed" A. Ebisui, Jr. (Hawaii)

*Frederick M. Rice (Hawaii)

Info Alerts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, II took a leading role today in the House Natural Resources Committee’s approval of legislation reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the primary law governing America’s fisheries. The committee approved on a bipartisan basis five Southerland amendments injecting common sense into fishery data collection and fishery disaster declarations.

“Today’s votes in committee were the first step in ensuring our fishermen have a voice in establishing any new catch share programs, while addressing inflexibility in rebuilding plans and moving us closer to a data collection solution,” said Southerland. “At a time when our coastal communities are suffering due to flawed fishery management based on inadequate science, I am pleased this bill puts us on a path to a more common sense approach that addresses the problems we currently face in the Gulf of Mexico. I look forward to ensuring our fishermen’s interests are addressed as I work with members of both parties to pass a Magnuson-Stevens Act reauthorization in the House this year.”

The Southerland provisions approved by the committee would:

• Direct the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to issue a fishery disaster determination within 90 days of receiving a request;

• Ensure that the tens of thousands of red snapper killed by rig removal explosions, also known as “Idle Iron,” are not counted against the annual catch limit for Gulf fishermen;

• Ensure that red snapper confiscated from illegal foreign poachers are not counted against the total allowable catch for American fishermen;

• Prohibit the harvest rights of fish allocated for public consumption to be traded away from the commercial sector by sale or lease.

Permalink: http://southerland.house.gov/index.cfm/2014/5/southerland-takes-leading-role-in-fisheries-reauthorization


Nominations sought for open positions on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee. Nominations accepted through July 7, 2014.

(May 23, 2014) The Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC) advises the Secretary of Commerce on all living marine resource matters that are the responsibility of the Department of Commerce. The Committee draws on its members’ expertise and other sources to evaluate and make recommendations to the Secretary and NOAA on the development and implementation of Department regulations, policies, and programs critical to the mission and goals of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

MAFAC members represent a wide spectrum of fisheries, protected resources, and marine habitat interests; environmental, academic, tribal, consumer, and other related national interests. 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 between-meeting subcommittee work. Individuals serve for a term of three years for no more than two consecutive terms, if re-appointed. 

The committee functions solely as an advisory body (complying fully with the Federal Advisory Committee Act) who reports to the Secretary.

Full nomination instructions and guidelines are detailed in the Federal Register notice

For more information please contact:  Executive Director, MAFAC

MAFAC current schedule of known in-person outreach events, CLICK HERE This will be updated as new events are added or specific dates are identified. If there is a meeting near you, PLEASE do your best to attend, and have folks from your community attend.

In addition to the in-person events list review the quick fact sheet. CLICK HERE  that you should feel free to share, and last but not least, the website! http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/management/recreational/policy/index.html MAFAC will be accepting online comment soon, but for now the website is the place to find everything you may want to know about their process, including info for a few webinars.

NOPC Update
I. Mid-Atlantic RPB Approves Ocean Planning Framework, Charts Next Moves
Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body(RPB) convened in Baltimore, MD last week for its second in-personmeeting
The RPB approved a
regional ocean planning framework, talked about next steps to carry out the goals and objectives identified in the approved framework, received briefings on and discussed energy, habitat, and navigation-related activities in the Mid-Atlantic, and heard public comments (see summaries below, and meeting presentations are available here). The RPB noted that some things not reflected in the approved framework could still be incorporated going forward.

II. NOAA Regulations for New Sanctuary Nomination Process Expected In June
Unified Agendareleased by the White House Office of Management and Budgetlast weekprojectsthat NOAA will take final action in June to re-establish the national marine sanctuary nomination process.

III. Infrastructure Bill Includes Resiliency Provision, Excludes Ocean Endowment
Following six months of congressional negotiations that culminated with the
announcement of a conference agreement earlier this month, the U.S. House andSenate last week passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014.

IV. NOAA Seeks To Fill Vacancies On 8 Nat’l. Marine Sanctuary Advisory Councils
NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries earlier this month
announcedthat it is seeking applications for vacancies on 8 national marine sanctuary advisory councils.

V. NOAA Seeks Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee Applications 
NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) last week
announcedthat it is seeking applications to fill upcoming vacancies on theMarine Fisheries Advisory Committee(MAFAC) beginning in fall 2014. Nominations are due by Monday, July 7, 2014
Please read the complete NOPC Update by Clicking Here

NACO CoVid19 Safety Measures for Consideration

NACO Captains and Affiliates:
The National Association of Charterboat Operators is the voice of the for hire charter boat industry in the United States. As such the NACO Board of Directors has produced the following suggestions about the Covid-19 virus issue as we understand it at this time. It provides general advice, based on input from across the USA, for charter boats - fishing, diving, sailing, sightseeing, dinner cruising, eco tours, and any other vessel - carrying passengers for hire. 
This is not a one size fits all recommendation on how each operator should work to ensure the safety of passengers and crew. Even though many operations are similar, every operation is different and unique.  
Some states and marine resource agencies have issued required guidelines which owners in those areas have to comply. These vary widely. Some states, counties and municipalities have simply implied owners should follow CDC guidelines. In others, strict rules have been dictated for charter boat operators to follow. In addition, some local charter associations have developed guidelines for their members which should also be followed the best they can.
NACO recommends each member develop a written protocol on how to ensure your vessel and equipment remains safe and uninfected. This should include:
1)    How you will sanitize any area where customers and crew could be exposed including the boat, equipment, gear, booking booth or others.
2)    List how you intend to disinfect and clean before, during and after each trip.
3)    List what personal cleaning agents (hand sanitizer, hand soap, etc) will be available for use. 
4)    If you intend to check body temperature of customers and crew list how and when that will be done. 
5)    If you require the use of masks, list if the customer should provide their own or if you will provide them and when to wear them. 
6)    List how you plan to ensure social distancing where possible to keep customers separated.
7)    Once you have developed your guidelines, print them out and post them on your vessel and work place. Have printed copies available to provide to customers should they ask for one.
8)    Develop a basic orientation similar to your normal safety orientation you use before departing. 
NACO members from across the country have provided input and we know in some areas specific requirements by government authorities are treated only as “suggestions” while in others, the leaders may order arrests for non-compliance. You know your own situation better than anyone. You should make the decision on what is best for your particular operation. Clearly, charters of family groups or groups of friends can be handled differently than strangers or groups of non-related people.
The most critical issue here is your potential liability should an accident or medical issue come up. Check your marine insurance policy liability section, or call your agent to determine if your coverage depends on following federal, state, or local regulations. Insurance companies are notorious for looking for an out on payment for any accident or liability. Be certain of what your policy states.
We hope this information is helpful. If you have any questions, please contact us. In many cases, especially at the state and local level, individuals or representatives of local charter associations have been able to affect changes or exceptions to Executive Orders or other general rules concocted by bureaucrats and political leaders, simply by contacting them politely. If you would like additional support at your local or state level, feel free to contact NACO and make us aware of your problem. We will be happy to provide a letter of support or make a phone call to whomever to help with your situation.
Thank you, stay healthy, stay safe.
NACO Board of Directors

Notice: Lead Sinker Ban Issue

NOTICE of ISSUE: Lead Sinker Ban
"I have seen references to your organization’s previous opposition to proposals to ban use of lead fishing tackle.
The Interior Appropriation bill previously included a prohibition on this proposed regulation, however, the FY 20 House Interior Appropriations bill excluded this language and would allow the federal government to ban lead fishing tackle. While such a ban or regulation may not move forward immediately, it will be more difficult to reinstitute the protective language if it is removed in the final funding bill later this year.
If you have a position or statement relevant to this issue please let me know.
Thank you.
John Dutton
Office of rep. harris"
“All, John Dutton with Rep Andy Harris’s office has requested letters from your respective assns, supporting keeping language in legislation that will continue to allow the use of lead sinkers, jigs, and other fishing tackle when fishing. Apparently the language that protects being able to continue to use lead products has been removed from proposed legislation and there could be another move to ban the use of lead products while fishing. This was an issue back in 2010 and NACO, the MD Charter Assn and others were successful in having legislation passed that protected the use of lead products. Feel free to use any or all of the content from the attached NACO letter.
Capt Bob Zales, II “
Click the following link to download NACO's comment letter: Lead sinker Ban

Executive Order Regarding the Ocean Policy

NACO is pleased to announce that today President Trump issued an Executive Order Regarding the Ocean Policy to Advance the Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States, which includes a revocation of the 2010 National Ocean Policy Executive Order issued by then President Obama.

President Capt. Bob Zales, II stated; “In the Gulf, as well as all areas of the country, in recent years recreational and commercial fishermen have been over-regulated and negatively impacted in every arena.  The National Ocean Policy was an unforced error created by a stroke of the pen that added to those burdens by needlessly draining resources and energy away from what our industries should and need to be focused on, which is generating economic activity and providing recreational and commercial opportunities and enjoyment of our natural resources, all under the oversight of responsible regulation as authorized by Congress. 

By taking this action, the President has removed a significant threat to the survival of our industry -- the potential for new and expanded regulatory requirements, more regulatory burdens, and increased costs to our businesses as a result of the National Ocean Policy -- while focusing on priorities that will pave the way for a more prosperous future and ocean economy.”

To Read the Executive Order please Click Here

VIDA Myths vs Facts!

From American Waterways Operators

VIDA is a commonsense, bipartisan solution to an urgent problem. But myths about VIDA are keeping Congress from acting.

33869731 1905924172753248 5919366503358005248 oGet the facts. #PassVIDA #VIDAisVital https://t.co/bZwzlBEXm5


NACO-USCG_Serious Marine Incident & Reportable Marine Casualty

NACO has been involved in working with the USCG to modify the current reporting requirements for anyone involved in a reportable marine casualty property damage incident and the changes in serious marine Incident (SMI) property damage threshold.  The current financial requirements for reporting a marine casualty damage incident is only $25,000 and the financial threshold is $100,000.  These figures were established years ago.  In addition, the crew involved in a SMI is also subject to immediate drug and alcohol testing.

This new rule will take effect on April 18, 2018.  It modifies the financial requirements from $25,000 to $75,000 in property damages and from $100,000 to $200,000 in the threshold.  These new figures represent the increases in inflation since the original figures were established.  What this rule does is reduce the reportable accidents which reduces the potential burden on all passenger vessels and will also reduce the potential for mandatory drug and alcohol testing of the crews involved in such accidents.  NACO has worked with other passenger vessel associations and the USCG to have this new rule implemented.

This is just one more in a long history of benefits that NACO provides our members.  This rule will reduce the regulatory burden and potential expense for all passenger carrying vessels.

Here is the Federal Register notice.


Capt. Bob Zales, II


Capt. Bob Zales, II

NACO goes to Ohio

Captains Bob Zales, II, Mike Schoonveld, representing NACO & Gallagher Charter Lakes Mark VanEpps
at the OHIO Charter Boat Captains Conference March 10th - had a great turn-out even with the colder weather.

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