FWC announces Spiny Lobster Season

The regular 2019 commercial and recreational spiny lobster season starts Aug. 6 and runs through March 31, 2020.

“Spiny lobster season is an exciting time of year to be on the water,” said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Chairman Robert Spottswood. “But it’s also a time to remember safety on the water and to remember the importance of taking care around Florida’s important coral reefs.”

Planning on catching some of these tasty crustaceans? Learn more about bag limits, size limits, where to harvest and other regulations at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Lobster,” which is under the “Crabs, shrimp and shellfish” tab. Get your license and spiny lobster permit at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com.

If bully netting this season, keep lights directed toward the water and avoid shining them at houses or people along the shoreline, and keep sound levels low when near shoreline residences.

Don’t forget to use care around corals and other marine life, and care with yourself and other divers. Always use a divers-down warning device. More information on divers-down warning devices is available online at MyFWC.com/Boating by clicking on “Boating Regulations.”

Congratulations to our Marathon High School Scholarship winners!

Mitch Gale presenting scholarships to Annabelle, Nicole and Rachel at Marathon High School

GMFMC January Meeting

At their January 2019 meeting in Orange Beach, AL, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management reappointed to another term all six members of the Spiny Lobster Advisory Panel.  They include:  Bill Kelly – Chair, Daniel Padron – Vice-Chair, Joshua Nicklaus, George Niles, Simon Stafford and Robert Gaitanis.

FKCFA Executive Director Bill Kelly attended the meeting where he continued to press the Council for reallocation of king mackerel from the recreational to the commercial industry.  Over the past ten years recreational fishermen have harvested less than half of their 6MP Annual Catch Limit while the commercial sector has repeatedly faced closures during the same time frame.  The 30MP of unharvested king mackerel by the recreational sector represent more than $40M dollars in product losses to the commercial fishermen and have deprived consumers worldwide of fresh, Florida seafood.

2019 FKCFA Scholarships

Attention High School Students that graduate this year!

It’s time to apply for the annual Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association Scholarship Program.   Applications are now in all the Monroe County High Schools.

Preference is given to students from a commercial fishing family or marine related business.

(Check with your career counselor) or download the application at our web site: www.FKCFA.org
All applications need to be in our PO Box by April 8, 2019

We gave a total of $5500 in Scholarships in 2018

Coral Shores Kendra Powers
Island Christian Joy Russell             
Marathon Julissa Herrada
Marathon Esteban Joseph Sainz
Key West Brandon Geide
Key West         Kyle Iarrobino 
Key West         Lindsay Jayne
Key West                 Madison Kruege

South Atlantic Council Issues

Once again at their December 2018 meeting, the SAFMC has postponed any remedial action to alleviate negative, socio-economic impacts with regard to the commercial harvest of yellowtail snapper, over 95% of which takes place in the Florida Keys. The Council has deferred action until the next SEDAR stock assessment is complete sometime in 2020. Six years have passed since we first asked the Council to provide some effort of relief and examine allocations between the recreational (1.5 MP) and commercial (1.6 MP) sectors with the recreational side fishing less than half of their allocation over the last 10 years.  With the stock assessment only being completed in 2020, it will take another year or longer to implement an amendment to provide any changes and that is provided the Council takes any positive steps to correct this imbalance.  The Council’s lack of action is most disturbing and fails to comply with provisions in the Magnuson-Stevens Act, Article 4, regarding Allocation.  Capt. Bill Kelly, Executive Director

Council Posting: Yellowtail Snapper – Regulatory Amendment 32

Council members voted to postpone consideration of Regulatory Amendment 32 that would revise accountability measures for yellowtail snapper with the intent to alleviate socio-economic impacts of in-season closures in the fishery. After considering recommendations from the Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel and public comment, the Council will delay further development of measures until a benchmark stock assessment for yellowtail snapper is completed in 2020.