Holly Binns, a project manager for the Pew Environment Group, issued the following statement today in advance of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's public hearings during the next two weeks on a new plan to set fishing limits on dozens of species. The plan is a prescription to prevent overfishing by setting limits now—before species suffer population declines.
“This proactive plan by the council will help prevent overfishing and avoid steeper restrictions in the future. It is like visiting the doctor for preventive care rather than waiting until things get so bad you end up in the emergency room.
“The idea is to avoid what happened with red snapper, which is in such severe trouble that a total fishing moratorium was needed in 2010 to save the species. Such a drastic measure might not have been necessary if the red snapper problem had been addressed more proactively, as this new comprehensive plan calls for.
“This strategy to avert overfishing is also essential to help deal with the consequences of the red snapper fishing moratorium and additional protections approved in 2010 for about a dozen other species, such as red and gag grouper. Without those species to target year-round, anglers are likely to shift their focus to the fish covered by this comprehensive plan, which could lead to unhealthy population declines.
“This is a plan that takes a big-picture look at fish and fishing, helps avoid problems in the future and sets the course for restoring a healthy, balanced ocean ecosystem.”
For more details about the plan, please see our tip sheet here.