Holly Binns, a project manager with the Pew Environment Group, has commented in response of the approval of new plan to protect fish species. He said that this conservation plan is an important first step toward saving fish species in need of protection. Two of these species—Warsaw grouper and speckled hind—are critically imperiled and it is urgent that we act now to save them.
It is fact that the stocks of Warsaw grouper has plummeted to just 6 percent of healthy levels. Binns said that this recovery plan is part of a larger effort to help end overfishing, which has taken a toll on many southeast species. Coupled with the recently approved protections for the severely depleted red snapper, the plan is putting us on the right track toward a much healthier ocean ecosystem, robust fishing and recreational opportunities for the future.
Amendment 17B sets annual catch limits on nine species, including several grouper species, such as snowy, gag, red and black grouper. It also closes an ocean area to fishing for six additional species in water deeper than 240 feet to protect the critically imperiled Warsaw grouper and speckled hind, which are frequently caught by accident in these depths when fishermen target other species.
All fishing for Warsaw grouper and speckled hind is prohibited in all waters. In the deep-water area, fishing also is prohibited for snowy grouper, blueline tilefish, yellowedge grouper, misty grouper, queen snapper and silk snapper.