Clear and Present Danger Off Florida’s East Coast

If allowed, an Exempted Fishery Permit would mean thousands of longline sets by a commercial-fishing enterprise over the next three years in an area closed since 2001 as critical to protect juvenile swordfish. EFPs are granted pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and allow research to be conducted at times and places where fishing or the collection of samples might not be allowed otherwise. In 2001, NMFS closed these areas to longlining. To sweeten the pot, Day Boat would be the only entity with the right to longline in this conservation area. They alone would be given the right to make 3,240 longline sets in a protected area, with 2,160 of these sets in the nursery area. Interestingly, the permit would give Kerstetter and Day Boat the right to sell the ability to fish to non-Day Boat longliners in these two closed areas if the non-Day Boat longliners contribute "funding support" to Kerstetter. Here, all the shares would be given to one entity. However, HMS did ask that the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) look at the pending proposal. The SAFMC allows public comment on pretty much any topic. The Council received 654 comments against this EFP application.
Clear and Present Danger Off Florida’s East Coast

If allowed, an Exempted Fishery Permit would mean thousands of longline sets by a commercial-fishing enterprise over the next three years in an area closed since 2001 as critical to protect juvenile swordfish.

If you are a fan of schemes to privatize public resources for the benefit of a very few and to the detriment of the American public, a plan currently being evaluated by the Highly Migratory Species Division (HMS) of the National Marine Fishery Service (NMFS) will warm your heart.

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The application submitted by David Kerstetter and Day Boat Seafood, LLC is for an exempted fishing permit (EFP) to allow longlining in an area off Florida that has been closed to that activity since 2001.

EFPs are granted pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and allow research to be conducted at times and places where fishing or the collection of samples might not be allowed otherwise. These permits – for the most part – enable valid research. However, in recent years, the process has been abused by those who wish to profit from rather than conduct true research. Recent efforts to establish catch share programs started with EFPs like this one.

In the 1980s and 1990s, swordfish were in trouble in the U.S. The number of fish and the average landed weight for these fish had gone down. It was determined that a major cause of the problem was that too many juvenile swordfish were being killed by longlining activities. Several organizations had already sued NMFS, and there was talk of an Endangered Species Act listing. The federal government designated two areas off the East Coast that would be closed to longlining: one area off the Florida coast and the other off South Carolina, known as the Charleston Bump. In 2001, NMFS closed these areas to longlining. The effort was almost immediately effective and by 2007, swordfish were declared recovered. Ever since that time, there have been efforts to reintroduce longlining in these proven nursery grounds and designated conservation areas. Kerstetter has been involved with four of these attempts and the co-applicant, Day Boat Seafood (Day Boat) has been involved in three.

On the third attempt by Kerstetter, the permit was granted. However, Nova Southeastern University was listed…

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