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Federal plan for allocation of fishery resources moves forward

Outer Banks Sentinel wrote:
"Remember that current demographics are a direct result of the regulatory burden placed on the commercial fishing industry by the very council now wanting to reapportion quota," he said.

"In other words, the SAFMC created the diminutive effort in our fisheries through draconian regulations and now claim the increased recreational effort justifies taking more and more fish from our folks and handing them over to the recreational sector," McKeon explained.

Jeff Oden, an Outer Banks commercial fisherman, believes the SAFMC is set on a course to reallocate the resource largely to the recreational sector, no matter which allocation method is used.

He said the snowy grouper fishery has been a traditional commercial fishery with more than 90 percent of landings by commercial fishermen.

"Now they are saying that all of a sudden in 2006, the fishery is now 40 percent recreational," he continued.

"They said recreational fishermen landed 168,873 pounds in 2006, exceeding their harvest limit by 35 times, yet NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service) Southeast Regional Administrator Roy Crabtree sat in a meeting in Washington last fall and said the recreational community was well under its 4711 pound target for 2007," Oden explained.

"The one thing that jumps out at me us how conveniently the numbers change and how subjectively they are applied," Oden said.

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