Thank you for contacting Governor Charlie Crist's Office and sharing your concerns about recent decisions by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council ("the Council"). The Governor asked that I respond on his behalf.
Governor Crist supports the Council's efforts to protect our precious natural resources; however, the Governor believes this action will have serious ramifications for Florida's recreational anglers and our economy. The requirement to establish strict catch limits for all federally managed species that are undergoing "overfishing" by 2010 is affecting Florida in ways that were not anticipated. A closure effectively puts Florida's fishermen out of work in an already challenging economic time and would severely diminish the multi-million dollar annual contribution the South Atlantic fishery makes to Florida's economy.
Governor Crist has contacted Charles Davis, Chairman of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to encourage a prompt review of the science used to validate the Council's decisions in the fishery management process. The Governor also contacted U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and asked that the Department do everything possible to lessen the impact on Florida's anglers while still protecting our natural resources.
Rest assured, Governor Crist is committed to ensuring that necessary steps are taken to rebuild fish population in all waters adjacent to Florida, but firmly believes that a fishery-wide closure must be a last resort only after all other options have been exhausted.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact Governor Crist. Please do not hesitate to write again to share your concerns and ideas about issues that are important to you.
Office of Citizen Services