Gulf Charter Fishermen Challenge Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus
Small business for-hire operators seek Caucus to substantiate speculative claims that an allocation to preserve public access via their services will negatively impact state fishery funding
New Orleans, LA, August 22, 2012: The Charter Fisherman's Association (CFA), a group of small business owners across the Gulf of Mexico who provide public access to offshore fisheries to the non-boat owning public, challenged the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus in a recent letter to substantiate speculative claims from a recent Caucus letter that stabilization of their industry through the regional fishery management process has the potential to decrease funding available for state fisheries management.
Mike Jennings, President of CFA stated "CFA and its members are proud of our contribution history to the $7 billion granted via the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Sport Fish Restoration program since its inception. To ignore the diminishing viability of our business is to ignore the significant support we’ve provided states for conservation of habitat as well as recreational opportunities for anglers and boaters." In late July the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus had written a letter to the regional oversight agency in the Gulf of Mexico stating their opposition on the industry’s efforts to preserve non-boating owning public access via their services.
"Charter fishermen are predominantly small business owners whose business operations rely on significant purchases of fuel and fishing equipment, all of which provide a steady, annual contribution to the budgets of state wildlife agencies via the self-imposed surcharge of the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act" said Jennings. "CFA contends that without stabilization of the industry's viability to provide public access to fisheries, state agencies would lose a cornerstone to their fishery and wildlife funding."
Charter fishermen and the recreational fishermen who need their services to safely access offshore fisheries have been experiencing reductions in catch limits to rebuild over fished species. While boating owning private fishermen can adapt their recreational experience, charter fishermen are losing the viability to operate a small business and provide the majority of the American people the ability to safely access offshore fisheries.