Some South Carolina fishermen are saying the National Marine Fisheries Service is running them out of business. A revision to the 2007 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act would require regulators to determine how many of each of the 27 fish species are “overfished.” The Service says some fish are low in numbers and require regulation.
However, Captain Cameron Sebastian of Little River Fishing Fleet in Myrtle Beach says that’s not what he sees going on.
The fish are definitely not being depleted. There are an abundance of many species of fish out there, and it’s a shame to see certain legislation come through that’s really going to cripple the charter boat industry and make a lot of individuals, recreational fishermen not be able to go out an catch fish. I heard a lot of testimony yesterday of a lot of guys that are extremely upset and disappointed.
The National Marine Fisheries Service announced the closure of black sea bass fishery for the winter and were looking at closing fishing service for other fish species, such as dolphin, wahoo, and cobia. Sebastian says these types of closures are unnecessary and affect the $600 million industry–among others.
Most of the fishermen who come down and do those special types of charter going out for the deep fish, the historic record we see, they come down for the weekend. So, they get a hotel on Friday night, hotel on Sunday night, they go out to dinner Friday night, Saturday night, breakfast Sunday morning. So, now your not only talking about how it affects us in the economy, now the hotels are getting hit, the restaurants are getting hit. So, it’s a big effect that I don’t think they even look at how it’s going to effect the economy along the coastline.
In his opinion, Sebastian believes there is a flaw in the system–
Some of their figures, especially for species like dolphin and wahoo, they will pretty much readily admit they are exceedingly flawed. So, pretty much, they’ve been mandated by the government, the Magnuson-Stevens Act to, no matter what, come up with some types of figures and put some types of regulations on the fish, even though they’re not being overfished and there has not been a problem with some of them being overfished, and they have to take these measures by law.
As for the next step, anglers will now go to the federal Commerce Department and legislators to attempt to change the law calling for fishing restrictions.