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DEMA Legislative Alert – Meeting in Key West Regarding Goliath Grouper

Thursday, January 08, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rachelle Reimers
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DEMA Legislative Alert – Meeting in Key West Regarding Goliath Grouper

 

A meeting of the Joint Council Committee on South Florida Management Issues (“Committee”) will take place in Key West, January 13-15, 2015. The Committee includes the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC).  The Committee meeting will include a discussion of the status of Goliath Grouper stocks.  The agenda and notice for this meeting can be found here.

 

You may recall that in 2011 and again in 2014 the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) considered the possibility of lifting the current moratorium on harvesting Goliath Grouper.  In 2011 and 2014 DEMA favored continuing this moratorium, and continues to oppose changes in the current status of the Goliath Grouper moratorium, which prohibits harvest.  In September 2014 DEMA also surveyed members of the Diving Industry and determined that 73% of divers responding favored continuing the moratorium.

 

DEMA’s Legislative Advocate Bob Harris will be in attendance at this meeting to provide DEMA’s position to the Committee. YOUR public comments and input are also needed at this meeting; public comments opposed to lifting the moratorium could help maintain the current status, thereby preventing harvesting of this animal, which is slow to mature and reproduce.  There are substantial arguments against harvest, some of which can be found here.  Without your public comments, the status of the current moratorium could change, allowing harvesting of the Goliath Grouper for the first time since the 1990’s.  If you dive in Florida or live there, such a change in the moratorium status could impact your ability (and your customers’ ability) to see these animals.

 

The meetings are scheduled to take place at the Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel, 3841 N. Roosevelt Blvd., Key West, FL; phone: (305) 296-8100.  The meetings are scheduled from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on January 13-14, 2015 and from 9 a.m. until 12 noon on January 15, 2015.  However, as of this writing the discussion of Goliath Grouper stocks is scheduled for the morning of January 15.  Please note that the time and date of this discussion could change.

 

DEMA urges all professional members of the diving community to join DEMA in attending these meetings to offer public comment in favor of maintaining the current moratorium on harvest of the Goliath Grouper.  Public comments will be accepted at the end of each meeting day.  More diving community voices will be helpful. 

 

For those unable to attend, or wishing to submit written comments prior the beginning of the Committee meeting, send your comments (by mail) to: Robert Mahood, South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 4055 Faber Place Drive, Suite 201, N. Charleston, SC 29406 (or by email) to mike.collins@safmc.net. Briefing materials will be posted on both the SAFMC Web site at www.safmc.net and the GMFMC Web site at www.gulfcouncil.org by January 7, 2015.

 

DEMA, the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association, is an international organization dedicated to the sustained growth of the recreational scuba diving and snorkeling industry.  For more information on DEMA, call 858-616-6408 or visit www.dema.org.  


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