Key West Fishing News and Updates

NACO INFO Alerts- Updates, & Industry News- National & Regional

Dear NACO Captains:

Below are items of interest to our industry Nationally and Regionally for this weeks NACO Alerts. Please review as some of these are calls to action on important issues facing our industry.

National Interest:

If you have not contacted your states representatives (Senators and Congressmen) we respectfully request that you do so to explain the concern of small vessel owners and the need for passage of S:2094 and the companion House bill co-sponsored by Rep Hunter (CA) and Cummings (MD)

Time is of the essence here and your help is needed.  If the session ends today and the S:2094 is not passed it all goes to lame duck after the elections in November; passage is nil at that point.  The current exemption expires in December and permits are already being generated by the EPA.  The industry needs a permanent exemption.

NACO comments letter on S:2094

Opportunity from NAVIONICS:

NAVIONICS is making an offer to NACO members to be one of the first in the industry to try the Navionics APP with Vexilar Sonar.  They will send out For FREE the Vexilar Unit, You Download the Navionics Boating APP and You keep the Vexilar unit.

NAVIONICS is looking for Feedback on their Facebook page.

This offer is based on  Limited quantities.  All you have to do is email with the following info Name, email address, Phone number, Shipping Address, Type of Phone (iPhone, Android), type of boat, do you own Navionics APP, most active boating season .

Jon R. Noel
Eastern Regional Sales Manager
Mobile: 508.322.0498
mailto:[email protected]

North Pacific Region:

Attached is the first draft of the staff discussion paper prepared by North Pacific Fishery Management Council and National Marine Fisheries Service staff regarding the Catch Accountability Through Compensated Halibut (CATCH) project proposal.  This proposal is a compensated reallocation mechanism that is intended to replace the Guided Angler Fish (GAF) provision in the Catch Sharing Plan (CSP).  Ultimately, the goal of this proposal is help the 2C and 3A charter sectors return to higher and more stable allocations.

This will be discussed at the October North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting.

CATCH Discussion paper

Atlantic Region:

NOAA, UNC-Wilmington study finds warming Atlantic Ocean temperatures could increase expansion of invasive, native species

Warming water temperatures due to climate change could expand the range of many native species of tropical fish, including the invasive and poisonous lionfish, according to a study of 40 species along rocky and artificial reefs off North Carolina by researchers from NOAA and the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.

The findings, reported for the first time, were published in the September issue of Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Transshipment, Port Inspection, and Vessel Identification

Publication Date: Thursday, September 11, 2014

Agencies: Department of Commerce;  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Dates: Written comments must be received on or before October 14, 2014.

Comments Close: 10/14/2014

Action: Proposed rule; request for comments.

CFR: 50 CFR 635

Agency/Docket Number: Docket No. 140324263-4705-01

RIN: 0648-BE12,

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes to revise the regulations governing transshipment and international port inspection for vessels with Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS) permits to implement recommendations adopted at recent meetings of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The proposed rule would expand the current prohibition on transfer at sea to include any tuna, tuna-like species, or other Atlantic HMS both at sea and in port inside the Atlantic Ocean, and also prohibit the transfer of Atlantic HMS by U.S. vessels outside of the Atlantic Ocean and its surrounding seas. However, tuna purse seine vessels would still be allowed to transfer Atlantic bluefin tuna from the catcher vessel to the receiving vessel in certain limited circumstances. Additionally, the proposed rule would revise current regulations for U.S.-permitted vessels landing tuna, tuna-like species, or other HMS in foreign ports or making port calls in foreign ports to update information and reporting procedures. NMFS is also notifying vessels with HMS permits of a proposed requirement that they provide an International Maritime Organization (IMO)/Lloyd’s Registry (LR) number on their permit application by no later than January 1, 2016. The purpose of this proposed rule is to ensure U.S. compliance with ICCAT recommendations and to facilitate implementation of international monitoring, control, and surveillance measures for Atlantic HMS.

North Pacific Region:

Overview of Puget Sound’s Marine Waters (5 MB pdf) 

A new report provides a comprehensive review of the marine waters of Puget Sound in 2013. The report was produced by the Northwest Fisheries Science Center for the Puget Sound Partnership’s Ecosystem Monitoring Program.

What the problem is:

What began in December 2011 as a push to increase marine zoning in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) is nearly at its midpoint. After working-group drafts by the Sanctuary Advisory Council and public comments last year, the process calls for internal reviews before final public comments in the spring and fall of 2014 before new zones may go into effect by summer of 2015.

“Right now, the plan is to discuss options with the Advisory Council in December and then come back to the Council with the economic/environmental analysis and potential alternatives probably mid-2014,” said Sean Morton, superintendent of the FKNMS. He added that information on the status of the process is at In reality, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ultimately calls the shots on the increased no-fishing zones, as the national
sanctuary system comes under its purview.

The FKNMS, designated in 1990, encompasses 2,896 square nautical miles and 60 percent of it lies within state waters. It shares boundaries with Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park and Biscayne National Park. Currently 24 no-fishing zones exist and NOAA seems intent on more. The original FKNMS management plan went into effect in 1996—the same year residents in the Florida Keys in a non-binding
ballot referendum turned thumbs-down to even having the FKNMS, in large part due to the contentious issue of no-fishing zones. Another version of the management plan was updated in 2007.

“Before all fishing is banned in any area, there can be strict, personal-use limits that do an equal or better job of managing these waters and still preserve the public good of recreational angling,” said FS Founder Karl Wickstrom.

Many sources also share a concern that the FKNMS has already bitten off more than it can chew. According to a 2011 report card conducted by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, 17 “State of Sanctuary Resources” categories of the FKNMS were graded: none received a good rating, two are listed as good/fair, three as fair, 10 as fair/poor, one as poor and one undetermined. The most telling category—the condition and health of key species in the sanctuary—is one of those earning a fair/poor rating.

Coral reefs are important nurseries for fisheries in the Keys, and they’re in dire straits for complex reasons. According to Professor Christopher Langdon at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, “The decrease of corals in the Florida Keys has been carefully documented since the 1970s. The decrease is on the order of 80 percent.”

Meanwhile, fishing activity in the Keys has plummeted. In a study from 1995 to 2008 cited by the FKNMS, the number of angling days decreased by 25 percent. It’s probably dropped even further since then, due to the dizzying regulations, zones and restrictions facing visitors. Even so, the proponents of no-fishing
zones claim that the zones covering these dying reefs are responsible for huge increases in fish and that anglers are clamoring for more banned areas. Utter nonsense.

Unfortunately, one of the species expanding rapidly in the Florida Keys is the invasive lionfish, whose indiscriminate diet threatens many key finfish species native to the coral reef ecosystem. The FKNMS sponsors sporadic derbies to spear or catch lionfish, but the no-fishing zones, ironically, protect this menace. So, fewer anglers, a reef environment in decline and a fair/poor rating of sanctuary’s
resources casts doubt on representations that no-fishing zones are wildly successfully.

Charts shown at public hearings [sample, above] suggest major new restrictions on angling, but for now, said Morton, “Neither the agencies, advisory council nor working group has proposed any changes to the no-take zones.” Anglers hope that will remain the case.
First Published November 2013

What we need and how any amount can help:

This is one of many articles written about the proposed closures we are facing. The Key West Charter Boat Association is in dire need of funding to help stop these closures. We are reaching out to fellow fishermen, anyone interested in preserving their quickly diminishing rights to make a living on the ocean, and those who enjoy visiting many of the islands that we have worked on protecting for generations. We are hiring an attorney, to represent all fishermen affected by the proposed closures. This attorney is not only very passionate about the total discrimination being exhibited by these countless councils and committees, he also specializes in maritime law, with extreme expertise on the Magnuson–Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. We feel very confident in his ability to passionately and professionally represent us. This fight that all fishermen have been fighting alone for many years is not going away anytime soon. We are also reaching out to anyone else whom can help us make a difference. Please e-mail the association: [email protected] with any questions or suggestions.

Donations in any amount can also be mailed to

The Key West Charterboatmens Association

PO Box 2309

Key West, Florida 33045