Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, a consistent and vocal supporter of South Florida and the Florida Keys recreational, commercial, and charter fishermen, today sent a letter to NOAA Fisheries Service expressing her desire for a timely solution to the impending yellowtail snapper fishery closure scheduled for September 11, 2012. Yellowtail is one of the most important fin-fisheries in the Florida Keys and contributes to many well paying jobs, both on the water and on-shore.
In her letter, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen cites the recent stock assessment that concluded yellowtail is not over-fished, but rather that the fishery is abundant and healthy. She also urges Regional Administrator Dr. Roy E. Crabtree to facilitate an emergency meeting of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's Committee on Scientific & Statistical Selection as soon as possible to peer review this latest data. This peer review is a required step before he can issue an emergency rule that would re-open the fishery.
Detailed and accurate scientific data, such as stock assessments, are vital to maintaining a truly sustainable and working fishery. The flawed Magnuson--Stevens Act, of which Ms. Ros-Lehtinen is a leading proponent of revisiting, forced fishery managers to make decisions on mandatory Annual Catch Limits based on out-of-date, faulty, or speculative data that now threatens to put small fishermen out of business, costing thousands of jobs for an already struggling industry.
"I remain committed to working with Keys commercial fishermen and Dr. Crabtree to get an emergency rule that will open up the yellowtail fishery ASAP. The data is there saying the fish are plentiful, our guys and gals on the water sure see them enough -- it's just common sense to keep boats on the water and in this fishery. The life of a fisherman isn't easy business to begin with yet every month seems to bring more onerous federal regulation that keeps making it that much more difficult! Let's work in the right direction, let's work for the folks who put dinner on our plates."