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In The Spread - The TBF eNewsletter

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MOBILE BIG GAME FISHING CLUB – SETS HIGHEST MINIMUM  - 110”

The 51 year old MBGFC increased its blue marlin minimum size limit for its 2017 tournaments to 110 inches; this is the largest minimum size limit in the Gulf of Mexico. The increase is consistent with the Club’s long and strong commitment to billfish conservation. Read more here.


UPDATE ON LONGLINES in FLORIDA’s EAST COAST CLOSED ZONE

Credit to National Marine Fisheries Service
The NMFS extended the deadline to March 29, 2017 for accepting public comments on the application for an Exempted Fishing Permit.  If approved, six pelagic longline vessels will fish for three years in Florida’s East Coast Closed Zone. Email your comments to nmfs.hms.pllefp@noaa.gov.  A webinar on the subject is scheduled for March 27.  
 Read more here.


DEBATE on BILLFISH CONSERVATION ACT

The 2012 Billfish Conservation Act has yet to be implemented and is under Congressional review again in an attempt to resolve debated language so no Pacific billfish can be imported into the continental U.S.  The devil is in the detail of the language. Read more here.

AMENDMENT 5b – DUSKY SHARK PROTECTION

Do Not Check Shark Endorsement Box when renewing HMS Angling Vessel Permit.

NMFS released the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Amendment 5b to the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan in mid- February, 2017.  A new Preferred Alternative (A6d) “requires the use of non-stainless steel circle hooks by all HMS permit holders with a shark endorsement when fishing for sharks recreationally south of 41 degrees 43’ latitude, except when [shark] fishing with flies or artificial lures.” Read more here.

7 PELAGIC LONGLINE VESSELS in GULF of MEXICO VOLUNTEER  to STOP FISHING  

Responding to the Deepwater Horizon’s Comprehensive Restoration Plan, which offers to compensate Gulf pelagic longline fishing vessels for voluntarily not fishing for up to 6 months, approximately 23 vessels applied and 7 were selected.  When added to the NMFS’s mandatory two month closure in April and May, a reduction in bycatch should be realized. The 7 vessels can use greenstick gear during the two month voluntary closed periods. Read more here.

TAG & RELEASE AWARD CEREMONY 

TBF Awards Ceremony exceeded expectations when awarding captains, mates and anglers for their tagging and release contributions.  A record crowd celebrated and partied while highlights were accentuated by colorful and ubiquitous emcee Fly Navarro – aka Crazy Cuban from the FlyZone. Check out the pictures here.

FEDERAL WATERS OFF US WEST COAST

Whether to authorize an Exempted Fishing Permit for deep-set buoy gear is again before the Pacific Fishery Management Council, in what has been a prolonged process despite the positive that buoy gear does not catch bycatch and offers a sustainable method to fish. Read more here.

CALIFORNIA’s MARINE LIFE MANAGEMENT ACT

California’s Department of Fish & Wildlife and their partners are reviewing the MLMA and will make recommended amendments by the end of 2017. The Act implemented in 1999 calls for management through a science-based ecosystem strategy that manages not just fish, but all marine creatures and their habitat.  The Act established numerous marine protected areas and one marine recreational management area, which resulted in all the waters off CA out 3 miles to be included and angering anglers and other users. The Act also shifted the burden of proof for continuing to use or harvest a resource to the users to prove the resource could withstand the activity.  The amendment process promises to be robust. Read more here.

Tag and Release Online Database: Did You Know?

Do you need a refresher on how to enter your releases? Did you know that you can enter multiple species if they were caught by the same angler on the same day? Click on the TUTORIALS tab, and choose Tutorial 4: Releases.

 Email your comments to:tag@billfish.org



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