Petition to Re-Evaluate Science and Regulation that Led to An Early End to Fishing Season in Destin, FL
A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY OF DESTIN, FLORIDA URGING FLORIDA’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION TO APPROPRIATE FUNDING TO THE NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE (NMFS) SO THAT A NEW, FULL-BLOWN STOCK ASSESSMENT CAN BE CONDUCTED FOR EACH GULF SPECIES THAT IS TO BE MANAGED. FURTHER THAT THE NEW, FULL-BLOWN STOCK ASSESSMENT BE CONDUCTED BY A CREDIBLE INDEPENDENT THIRD-PARTY SOURCE. FURTHER THAT THIS NEW FULL-BLOWN STOCK ASSESSMENT BE USED BY THE NMFS IN ORDER TO COMPLY WITH THE FEDERAL MANDATES OF THE MAGNUSON-STEVENS FISHERY MANAGEMENT ACT (THE ACT).
WHEREAS, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is the governing body that is responsible for compliance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management Act, which requires management decisions to be based on “the best data available”; and
WHEREAS, the data that has been collected by the Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistical Survey (MRFSS) has been proven to be “fatally flawed” by the National Research Council, yet it continues to be used to promote the shutdown of specific fisheries; and
WHEREAS, in 2006, Congress required NMFS to take very specific actions to correct this data by January 1, 2009 as required by Title 16 of the United States Code, Section 1881(D), yet so far there has been no improvement to MRFSS; and
WHEREAS, the decisions of the NMFS – which have been proven to be based on “fatally flawed” data – are systematically and dramatically harming an economic engine that is so vital to our local, state, and national economies; and
WHEREAS, the fishing industry is vitally important to the history and heritage of the coastal communities that are affected by management decisions; and
WHEREAS, the Destin Charter Fishing Industry alone injects about $175 million in direct spending into the local economy, is responsible for directly or indirectly supporting over 7,000 jobs that pay wages in excess of $150 million, pays $24.3 million of State and local taxes, and including the Money Multiplier effect, generates $349 million to the local economy.
WHEREAS, such decisions which are based on “fatally flawed” data are devastating the economies of coastal fishing communities all across the Gulf of Mexico and shattering the lives of the men and women who work so hard to earn their living from the sea; and
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Mayor and the City Council of the City of Destin do hereby urge Florida’s entire Congressional Delegation to appropriate funding to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) so that a new, full-blown stock assessment can be conducted for each gulf species that is to be managed. Further that the new, full-blown stock assessment be conducted by a credible independent third-party source. Further that this new full-blown stock assessment be used by the NMFS in order to comply with the federal mandates of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management Act.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:
- That the Mayor and the City Council of the City of Destin request support for the establishment of a near real-time data collection system, and the associated update of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act so that faith and accountability can be restored in its scientific and management procedures.
- That the Mayor and the City Council of the City of Destin request support and movement of the Flexibility bills that are in the House and Senate. It is imperative to the future of our nation’s fisheries that Congress adopts policies that strive to promote sound science to the fisheries management process as their primary driver, and not settle for legislation which creates emphasis on arbitrary deadlines and data which has been proven to be “fatally flawed”. They allow fisheries councils much-needed time to evaluate all of the best available science when facing any potential closures of fisheries that are deemed as being over-fished; and
- That the Mayor and the City Council of the City of Destin support bills HR1584 and S1255 with this amended language: “Notwithstanding any provisions of law, the reef fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic shall not be required to be rebuilt, and over-fishing ended, by a specific date provided that the annual level of fishing does not exceed the net reproduction rate for that fishery such that the fishery is rebuilding each year. If the objective set forth in this section is not met for any of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic reef fisheries in one year, the Secretary of Commerce shall adjust the fishing rate in that specific fishery in subsequent years to compensate for any overages.
ADOPTED THIS 21ST DAY OF DECEMBER 2009
Craig H. Barker, Mayor
Rey Bailey, City Clerk