Louis Rossignol 0

Allow Spearfishing in the Flower Gardens National Marine Sanctuary

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NOAA, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, To whom it may Concern:

This petition is in regard to the proposed, extension of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. This is to inform you that we, the undersigned, are not opposed to an extension of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, but we are opposed to the proposed regulations that spearfishing will not be allowed as a selected gear type in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Extension as well as the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

Spearfishing is the most selective method of fishing with zero bycatch mortality. Unlike rod and reel fishermen who leave lead, hooks and line on bottom structure, spearfishermen leave nothing. In every other instance involving fishery law in the Gulf of Mexico, hook and line fishermen follow the same restrictions as spearfishermen and vise versa. So, it is our belief that if hook and line fishermen are allowed to  rod and reel fish the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, then spearfishermen should also be allowed to spearfish the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

It is also our understanding that the production platforms whether in or out of operation in the proposed extension of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary will be under the same protection of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary as the reefs it currently protects, thus it is assumed that these production platforms/artificial reefs will be protected from removal and/ or toppling once they are decommissioned. We are in favor of protecting our decommissioned production platforms/artificial reef. These platforms should be protected due to the unique aquaculture they support from the upper depths of the Gulf of Mexico to the very floor of the Gulf of Mexico and left standing upright under the protection of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. They should be considered critical marine habitats, just as the natural reefs that are already under the protection of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

The undersigned:

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