Thank you for your Sept. 1 editorial “Fishy business on fish rules” on the debacle at the recent Marine Fisheries Commission meeting. After 10 years of insufficient measures to address over-harvest of southern flounder, the MFC finally has a measure before it that will end over-fishing of this important public resource.
If the MFC is successful in passing a measure to eliminate using large-mesh gill nets for harvesting flounder, it will:
▪ End over-harvest of southern flounder.
▪ Greatly reduce interactions between fishing gear and sea turtles.
▪ Very likely eliminate the need for the Division of Marine Fisheries to spend over $1 million each year observing the gill net fishery in order to comply with a federal mandate that allows the fishery to operate at all.
▪ Eliminate by-catch of other unmarketable species that are encountered while targeting flounder.
Unfortunately, Sen. Bill Cook attached a measure to the budget bill that would prohibit the MFC from acting on any supplement this year. This is nothing more than an attempt at the behest of the commercial fishing industry to allow the commercial industry to continue its over-harvest of a public trust resource.
And I am greatly offended. Policy measures have no place in a budget bill.