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Glenn Cameron oral history interview
h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Terry Lee Howard.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file (33 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (25 p.)
Oculina Bank oral history project
Interview conducted March 29, 2010.
Oral history interview with charter boat captain Glenn Cameron. Cameron grew up in the Fort Pierce and Sebastian area and has been fishing for his entire life. He was a mate for several other captains before deciding to run his own boat. Cameron is very familiar with Oculina Bank and attended several of the meetings about the area's closure, which has had a negative effect on his business. Due to the lengthy closures of certain fisheries like grouper or snapper, he has been forced to take his boat to Mexico for three months a year. In Cameron's opinion, quotas or bag limits are better ways to manage a fishery, since they create a definite goal; marine protected areas are too difficult to enforce and encourage dishonest fishers, while closed seasons just put more pressure on another fishery. He feels that there are too many special interest groups influencing fishery policy in excess of the scientific evidence. In this interview, Cameron also discusses how he determines where to fish and describes a typical charter trip.
Charter boat captains
Charter boat fishing
Fort Pierce (Fla.)
Saint Lucie County (Fla.)
Howard, Terry Lee,
Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Development Foundation.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
Oculina Bank oral history project.
y USF ONLINE ACCESS
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 transcript
text Terry Howard: Today is March 29, 2010. Â Im Terry Howard, and were at the Fort Pierce City Marina on the Floridian, conducting an oral history with Glenn Cameron for the Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation project with Fort Pierce fishermen on the Oculina Bank HAPC [Habitat Area of Particular Concern]. Â Welcome, Glenn. (laughs)
Glenn Cameron: Welcome to the Floridian. (laughs)
TH: Please state your name, spell your name, your place of birth, and the date of birth.
GC: Glenn Cameron, G-l-e-n-n C-a-m-e-r-o-n. Â My place of birth is Melbourne, Florida at 10-29-63, October 29, 1963.
TH: All right, so you are how old?
TH: Forty-seven. Â Youre a young man. Â When did you move to Fort Pierce?
GC: Nineteen eighty-five .
TH: And what brought you to Fort Pierce?
GC: The proximity of the fishing.
TH: Good fishing?
GC: Good fishing in the proximities. Â I was born and raised fishing out of Sebastian Inlet. Â I was better apt to make a year-round living out of Fort Pierce with the proximity of the fish.
TH: As a?
GC: As a charter fisherman.
TH: Are you married?
GC: Yes, I am.
TH: How old were you when you got married, about?
GC: About thirty-five.
TH: Okay. Â Do you have children?
GC: Yes. Â I have three children.
TH: How many, and their ages?
GC: I havemy oldest son is twenty-seven, my middle son is fifteen, and my youngest son is ten.
TH: Okay, cool. Â And how much schooling do you have?
GC: I have two years of college.
TH: Okay. Â You have an associates degree?
GC: I have an associates degree.
GC: Its just Associate of Science.
TH: Do you have another job? Â Do you have another job besides charter boat fishing?
GC: Nope. Â Im just a charter boat fisherman.
TH: Okay. Â Other jobs that youve had?
GC: I was raised in the construction business. Â My family was in the construction business.
TH: You currently own a boat?
GC: I currently ownIm a partner in a fifty-seven foot boat.
TH: Okay, the Floridian, the one were sitting on now.
TH: Can you tell me the kind of boat; can you describe it?
GC: Its a custom-built North Carolina boat called a Buddy Cannady, built in Manteo in North Carolina, kind of a custom-built charter boat.
TH: Cool. Â Okay. Â Id like to ask you some questions about the Oculina Bank, and Chip Shafer told me thats the correct pronunciation.
Chip Shafer was also interviewed for the Oculina Bank Oral History Project. The DOI for his interview is O06-00002.
GC: Ahk-you-lee-nah Bank.
TH: Ahk-you-lee-nah. Â Okay. Â How familiar are you with the Oculina Bank?
GC: Very familiar. Â I was involved with the original meetings about the closure. Â I went to five or six separate meetings up and down the coast, you know, involving the closure. Â So, Im very, very well-versed with the Oculina Bank.
TH: What was the Oculina Bank designatedwhy, in your opinion, was the Oculina Bank designated as an area to protect?
GC: Well, the original reason to protect it was because of the delicate corals that live on the Oculina Bank. Â It was originally designed to protect the Oculina coral; its a very fine coral and easy to destroy. Â Their original mindset was to keep the draggers and the longliners off of it, to try to maintain some coral on that bank itself. Â I think later, as an afterthought, they decided to tack on fishing as well, which the scientists originally that proposed it were not for the fishing closure. Â They were for the protection of the coral, but not for the fishing. Â Its not designed that way, originally.
TH: Is that Grant Gilmore?
Richard Grant Gilmore, Jr., PhD is a fish ecologist and ichthyologist. Â He worked at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution as research scientist for twenty-seven years, from 1971 to 1998. Â Gilmore has worked on regional aquatic conservation and fishery management programs including Everglades Restoration, Oculina Coral Bank studies and Indian River Lagoon habitat management and reclamation.
GC: Yes, it is.
TH: Okay, at the Harbor
GC: Harbor Branch Institute.
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution at Florida Atlantic University, is a non-profit oceanographic institution operated by Florida Atlantic University in Fort Pierce, Florida.
TH: Okay. Â Anything else you can tell me about the Oculina Bank? Â What do you know about it? Â You just did that. Â What do you think about the closure of the Oculina Bank to anchoring and bottom fishing?
GC: I think that the closure for anchoring is not a bad ideaId hate to see anybody destroy the coral and all. Â But I think the fishing is just too hardit would be too hard to patrol it, you know. Â I think that enforcement is a huge problem with it. Â I dont think that that was the route to go.
TH: Has the closure of the Oculina Bank affected your fishing?
GC: I mean, theres a lot of times thatyou know, certain times of the year where the fishing moves off there, and it blocked me from a huge fishery. Â A good part of the year the fish pull off there, and I need to be off there doing that. Â The people above me and below me are still allowed to fish that, my competitors are still allowed to fish that area, as where Im closedIm forbidden to fish that same fishery off of my inlet, and the people on the inlet surrounding me are all allowed to fish the same areas, you know, east of their inlet, the same depths and all.
GC: So, it hampers me. It hampers my ability to compete with bordering inletsyou know, boats from bordering inletsbecause theyre allowed to utilize that fishery where Im forbidden to utilize that fishery.
TH: If anchoring and bottom fishing in the Oculina Bank was not prohibited, would you fish there?
TH: Okay. Â But you dont see a problem withI mean, you do see a little problem with anchoring.
GC: Certainly. Â Yes, I mean, I feel like it would damage the coral, and I would not want to damage the coral. Â It would not be a place I would typically anchor anyway.
TH: How do you fish there when you do fish?
GC: I power fish. Â You know, non-anchoring, just dropping on select locations.
TH: And for what fish?
GC: For amberjack, grouper, and snapper.
TH: Okay. Â Thats the main fishing target there. Â Okay, overall, how has fishing changed since you began fishing in the Fort Pierce area?
GC: Oh, boy, it changes yearly. Â I mean, its hard to pinpoint it. Â Every year just depends upon the cycle of the weather, on how it changes, you know? Â Every year is very different: sometimes the fish have pulled way up in shore, some years theyre off shore; you gotta go with the flow. Â I mean, its fishing, you never know what kind of cards youre gonna be dealt. Â You need to go move and change and go with the flow of every year. Â Every year is absolutely different than the next year.
TH: So fishing is cyclical, pretty much: it depends?
GC: Yeah. Â Certainly, it depends on what cycles of it. Â Its justevery years different. Â You have to go with the flow, watch the trends.
TH: For example, how was sailfishing this year?
GC: This year, with the colder weather up north, we had a big push up, and it was one of the best years weve ever had.
TH: And how about red snapper?
GC: Red snapper fishing is better than Ive ever seen it in my entire life right now.
TH: And youre not allowed to catch them now?
GC: Youre not allowed to keep any of em.
TH: Go back to this question again: Overall, how has fishing changed since you began fishing in Fort Pierce? Â Have there been
GC: I feel the red snapper fishing has just exploded in our area.
TH: Do you have any theories on why that might be?
GC: I have no idea why it would. Â I mean, I dont know. Â It may be just from the regulations, you know, the bag limits up and down the coast? Â I feel like since theyve imposed the bag limit, Ive seen a huge increase in the fishing for the red snappers to where now, its exploded.
TH: Were getting ahead of ourselves here. Â But do youI sense that you like bag limits as a way to manage fisheries?
GC: Yes, I am for bag limits. I feel that like bag limits are more the proper way to do it, because of enforcement. Â I feel like people can adhere to a bag limit; it gives them a goal for their day. Â I feel like once they catch their bag limit, theyll move on to another fishery.
TH: Okay. Â Lets go back now and talk about the fish, how its changed. Â How aboutlets go to another species. Â How about kingfish?
GC: I think kingfish have maintained themselves throughout the years. Â I mean, when I was a kid the kingfishing was unbelievable, and I feel like at times, now, the kingfishing is still unbelievable. Â I feel like the kingfish have been maintained; the fisherys been maintained well. Â I feel like it has sustained itself very well.
TH: Do you see anything that really hurt the kingfish along the way?
GC: I think in the early days, the roller nets really was way too efficient on killing kingfish. Â I think since theyve stopped the roller rig fishing of the kingfish, I feel like the fishery has sustained itself very well.
TH: And the subsequent drift netting of kingfishing?
GC: I am not for the drift netting. Â I feel like it does more harm than good. Â I feel like they kill tootheres too much by-catch in a drift net. Â I dont feel like its a good fishery because of the by-catch. Â They cannot control what they catch. Â I feel any fishery that has a large by-catch should be disallowed. Â I think it should be a more selective fishery.
TH: Okay. Â Now, your fishing history, specifically: what is your earliest memory of fishing and how old were you?
GC: Oh, I wasyou know, my family owned boats the whole time growing up. Â Since the time I can remember, Ive been fishing out of here, you know? Â Bottom fishing, king mackerel fishing, you know, just all sorts of fishing out here. Â Before I could remember, I was fishing. (laughs)
TH: (laughs) Before I could remember. Â Thats good. Â How did you learn how to fish? Â Who taught you?
GC: Oh, well, I was kind of self-taught. Â You know, my father always owned a boat; we fished all the time and we just kind of morphed into what we do now. Its somethingweve developed a lot of the fisheries, and Ive just learned along the way from everybody up the line. Â A lot of commercial fishermen took me under their wing and helped me, and some of the early charter fishermen helped me, and just kinda took information from everybody that I could.
TH: Now, you went through, I guess in your teens, where you were a surfer?
TH: And did you not fish at the same time you surfed?
TH: You fished from the beach?
GC: I fished from the beach, I fished from the jetties, I fished from the bridges. Â I fished wherever I could.
TH: You once mentioned that you caught a huge kingfish in a canoe?
GC: Oh, yeah. Â We used to fish from a canoe regularly from the beaches up in Melbourne.
TH: Now, when you hooked a fish like that, did it drag the canoe?
GC: Oh, yeah, it would drag the canoe all over creation. Â Yeah, kingfish, tarpon, cobiaI mean, you would hook the fish and just go for a ride. Â And youd actually wear the fish down byit would tow the canoe, and I mean, youd have tothat fish would have to be just about dead before youd flip it in that canoe.
TH: And how did you flip it into the canoe? Â Thats
GC: You would eitheryoud use a gaff or grab it by the tail. Â And cause usually we would forget the gaff, wed have to wear that fish out and grab it by the tail and flip it into the boat. Â Or, we would just beach the canoe and then drag the fish up on the beach.
TH: Okay. Â How bigwhat was the biggest fish you caught like that?
GC: Some kings in the fifty pound range, and cobias in the forty-fifty pound range, and you know
GC: tarpon do a couple-hundred pounds. Â We would not boat em. Â Ive had em bounce, you know, flop in the boat, flop out the boat. Â I had a tarpon roll me over in the canoe.
TH: (laughs) Which one took you on the fastest ride? Â The tarpon?
GC: Yeah, certainly the tarpon.
TH: They used to call it in the whaling
GC: It was the Nantucket Sleigh Ride.
TH: Okay, the Florida version. (laughs)
TH: All right. Â How did you decide to become a charter captain?
GC: I think it was a natural transition. Â I was raised in the construction business and I really didnt like the construction business, and I would work all week long to go fishing. Â At one point, I said, Why do I have to work construction when I can make a living fishing?
TH: And your father had the construction company?
TH: And he knew you werent really happy?
GC: Well, he knew I was not happy, and when I turned eighteen he sent me to get a captains license.
TH: Chapman School [of Seamanship]?
GC: No, actually just Sea School. Â I actually went to Florida Atlantic College [University]. They had a classroom set up there where they were running Sea School, and I was driving there every evening going to Sea School.
TH: Okay. Â When did you start fishing in the Fort Pierce area? Â So then you got your charter captains license, and did you work for other captains?
GC: I still worked as a mate. Â I worked as a mate for years and years for different captains up and down the coast, and I ran some boats up and down the coast.
TH: Did you reach a point whereand this is a question Ive asked all the charter captains. Did you reach a point where you felt that you could run a boat as well as some of the captains you worked for?
GC: Certainly, certainly. Â I reached the point where I was frustrated with some of the captains and their lack of effort, and I felt like I could give them a better effort.
TH: Give the customers?
GC: Yes. Â I felt like I could give my people a better effort.
TH: Cool. Â (murmurs to himself) Start fishing, recreational? Â Okay, so did you ever fish commercially at all?
GC: Yes, I did. Â I did some commercial net fishing and a little bit of commercial kingfishing.
TH: What did you fish for? Â Kingfish?
GC: Well, net fishing, I did some pompano fishing and I did Spanish mackerel fishing.
TH: With nets?
GC: With nets.
TH: And you run other peoples boats?
GC: Ive worked with some of the net guys.
TH: Okay. Â Whod you fish with?
GC: I mainly fished with Steve Birney out of Sebastian.
TH: That was your commercial fishing. Â Okay. Â And who are some of the people you mated with?
GC: I mated for Ron Lane, some. Â I mated for a fellow named Bob Senneville that had a boat called the Emerald Lady here for years. Â Oh, a guy named Joe Kubik, when he had some bunch of boats here. Â Numerous people up and down here.
TH: Emerald Lady. Â He had a green boat.
GC: The green boat; it was tied up right here behind the Tiki Bar.
TH: Name was Bob?
GC: Bob Senneville.
TH: Okay. Â Cool. Â I knew him. When I put my diesel in my engine in 1992, he was over there hanging out at the boatyard, at that bar. Â He thought it was cool that I was using aputting a 150 horse, non-naturally aspirated diesel. Â He thought that was good. Â I said that was all I could afford. Â (laughs)
GC: You dont need to go fast. Â And this fanny dont need much horsepower. (laughs)
TH: They can get up and go. Â Okay. Â Lets see, so youve fishedyouve named some of the people youve fished for, and youre justtheyre just friends. Â They knew you, I guess. Â It says, How are you related to these people?
GC: Yeah. Â Just through the fishery.
TH: Okay. Â Now, when you first started charter fishing, where did you fish? Â What was your target area when you left the inlet? Â This is kind of asome of these
GC: Thats kind of vague. Â I mean, we utilized all of our fisheries. Â Youve got the Northeast fishery and you got the Southeast stuff out of here, and split the time up. Â I mean, its just like Im saying, you gottayou have to follow your trends. Â We tried to utilize all of our fisheries.
TH: So, can you show me on the map? Â During what months of the year do you fish for what fish?
GC: (laughs) Well, obviously, the wintertime is our sailfishing time. Â The springtime seems to be our dolphin fishing time and our bottom fishing time. Â You know, we have a great bottom fishery here in the springtime, typically. Â Summertime was king mackerel fishing.
TH: Okay, and how about dolphin?
GC: Dolphin fishing is in the springtime.
TH: Spring and summer?
GC: Mostly spring. Â You know, our betterwe would catch schooling dolphins through the summer, but our really good dolphin fishing is in the springtime, April-May.
TH: Okay, and bottom fishing?
GC: Bottom fishing was winter and spring.
TH: Okay. Â How long are your fishing trips? Â So, now, you have two fishing trips, like a full day?
GC: Well, now we offer a full day fishing, you know, right out front here. Â And we also offer a full day on the east side of the Gulf Stream, where were tuna fishing on the east side of the Gulf Stream.
TH: Thats more expensive.
TH: Whats it cost to go to the east side?
GC: Thirty-four hundred dollars.
TH: For a day?
GC: For a day.
TH: You start way early in the morning?
GC: Its a twelve to fourteen hour trip. Â I leave at five in the morning and I get back at five or six oclock [pm], and Im usually cleaning fish here till the wee hours.
TH: So, its a twelve hour day.
TH: But how long a run is it over there?
GC: In this boat, its about two and half hours over.
TH: That aint too bad. Â Its not too bad. Â Okay. Â Thats interesting. Â And then, how about a full day out here?
GC: A full day out here is from seven to four.
TH: Whats the average? Â Does everybody pretty much charge the same?
GC: No. Â Im at the high end. Â Im at $1400 a day for that.
TH: Okay. Â Tris told me he had three-quarter day trips.
Tris Colket, who was also interviewed for the Oculina Bank Oral History Project. The DOI for his interview is O6-00003,
GC: I dont offer those.
TH: Just half day?
GC: I dont offer that.
TH: Just full day?
GC: You either go all day with me, or you dont go at all.
TH: Okay. Â Why is that?
GC: I justI dont feel like I could give you a good effort with half a day. Â I dont feel its worth the money. Â If I dont see of the value, then I dont offer it. Â I dont offer fishing trips to catch fish that I dont feel like we can catch, either.
TH: For example?
GC: For example, if you want to go catch a sailfish in March, I will not take you. Â I mean, the possibilities are a lot greater that I will fail. Â So, I just dont offer the trip. Â I offer trips to catch what I feel like you can catch.
TH: Interesting. Â Cool. Â So, this time of year, what do you fish for? Â This is the spring.
GC: Typically, bottom fishing right now.
TH: So, right now the Oculina Bank closure wouldI mean
GC: Its devastating. Â Thats a good part of our fisheries off there this time of year.
TH: And the closure of thehow about the lengthy closure on snapper and grouper?
GC: Its devastating. Â Its forced me out of the country to make a living. Â Last year when they proposed it and they were supposed to go through, I just packed up and went to Mexico for three months last year. Â And thats a trip that I will continue on now, because of the closure. Â It forced me out of the country to make a living.
TH: You take this boat down there?
GC: I take the boat to the Yucatan Peninsula. Â I just continue my sailfish season, because typically, come February 1, I go bottom fishing.
TH: But you cant do it now, because of the closure on grouper and snapper and the closure of the Oculina Bank. Â Is that correct?
GC: That is correct.
TH: Good. Â For how many years did you fish for sailfish, for all these fish youve fished for as many years as youve been a fisherman?
GC: That is correct.
TH: Why did you stop fishing? Â Okay, why did you stop fishing in Fort Pierce? Â Because?
GC: Because of the closures. Â Yeah, we have ayou know, we dont have the same interest in fishing here if youre not allowed to keep anything. Â Im better suited to leave the country and fish and utilize a fishery that people enjoy, rather than a fishery that youre not allowed to keep anything in. Â Our sailfishing is all release, anyway, so I utilize that down off the Yucatan.
TH: Okay. Â Now, these questions are a little ambiguous, but were gonna work through them. Â Lets see. Â On the average, how far offshore do you fish?
GC: From twelve to twenty miles.
TH: Thats off of Fort Pierce?
GC: Off of Fort Pierce.
TH: Thats not counting when you go over?
GC: Thats not the east side.
TH: East side. Â Okay. Â How do you decide where you will fish?
TH: Everybody laughed at this. Â (laughs)
GC: Conditions dictate.
TH: Conditions, previous days fishing?
GC: Conditions. Daily conditions dictate.
TH: Do you decide before you hit the inlet, or at the inlet?
GC: I decide as the morning progresses. Â I listen to the [marine] radio, I look at my science, you know, my water charts, my sea conditions, and I let conditions dictate.
TH: Your water charts; thats a new technology.
GC: Sea surface temperatures.
GC: I get them on the computer in the morning before I leave, and I also have them in Sirius [Satellite Radio] Weather on my bridge that I get updates throughout the day.
TH: Cool. Â I dont have that on my boat.
GC: Probably not. (laughs)
TH: (laughs) Okay, so youre feeding information to yourself.
GC: Correct, right. Â And I listen to the radio. Â I scan dozens of channels listening to all the chatter, listening to the conditions up and down the coast.
TH: Okay. Â Lets see; we already did what months; how long does a fishing trip last, we covered that. Â Average trips catch: This is very ambiguous, but depends on whether
GC: It depends on the time of year, and the fishery that Im utilizing.
TH: Okay. Â And right now, have you found kingfish out there?
GC: Offshore bar. Â We had a very good catch up (inaudible).
GC: Yup, very good catch of kingfish.
TH: Youre ready. Â Okay.
GC: Yes, kingfish are back. (laughs)
TH: How many years have you been a charter boat captain?
GC: Since 1980.
TH: Cool. Â Nineteen eighty? Â Thats about how long Ive had my kingfish boat.
GC: Since 1980.
TH: All right. Â Finally, and this is back to the Oculina Bank, and
GC: So, is that thirty years?
TH: Ive been a kingfisher
GC: I just renewed my license again. Â Just this year, I just renewed it again.
TH: Your captains license?
GC: Yeah. Â I think its the fifth time Ive renewed.
TH: How long will it last?
GC: Four years.
TH: Four years. Â Thats twenty years; its not thirty.
GC: Well, since 1980. (laughs) Â Whatever; I just renewed. (laughs)
TH: (laughs) Â Anyway, now were gonna go back and ask you somerehash Oculina Bank, and then the final lead up is your opinion on how best to manage the fishery.
GC: Can we take a break for a second?
TH: Finally, Id like to talk about your fishing, how your fishing has changed over time in regards to the Oculina Bank. Â Since 1984, several changes have been made in the regulations of the Oculina Bank. Â Id like to know if any of these regulations affected your fishing; if so, how? Â And I guess in 1984, they just stopped the draggers from dragging.
TH: Did that affect your fishing?
GC: When they just stopped the draggers, no, it did not. Â It did not, not at all.
GC: Actually, I felt like the fishing actually got better on the Oculina Bank for a number of years once they stopped that.
TH: The trawlingI mean, the dredging.
GC: Right. Â We were able to catch the vermillion snappers, unbelievably, off there, once they stopped that effort.
TH: Okay. Â They closed trawling in 1984: trawling, dredging, and long lining. Â And youre just saying it really helped your fishing, if anything?
TH: Nineteen ninety-four , the Oculina Bank designated an experimental closed area where fishing for and retention of snapper/grouper species was prohibited. Â Snapper/grouper fishing boats were also prohibited from anchoring. Â Was your fishing impacting by this regulation, and how?
GC: Largely. Â It was a big part of our fishery at the time, and it basically took us out of thetook that fishery out of us and left it for the guys on either end of us to fish that same waters above and below us.
TH: So, actually, the Oculina coral runs north and south from there?
GC: Right. Â Right, up and down fromyou know, its a bank that literally stretches, I feel, from Palm Beach to Cape Canaveral and beyond.
TH: So, it just targeted
GC: So, basically, what they did is they took the Fort Pierce fishermen off the map as far as the fishing in forty fathoms.
TH: Very interesting. Â Its the first time thats beenpoints been made; very good.
GC: And we wereyou know, we had to suffer through the original MPA [Marine Protected Area]. Â When I was going to the meetings, I never heard one good thing said about it. Â Nobody was for it, but yet, it was still shoved down our throat. Â I felt like when we went to the meeting, they already had their mind made up and they were going through the motions of listening to us plead our case. Â So, basically, when they made that, they took the Fort Pierce fishermen and took them off the map for fishing in forty fathoms for what they said was a decade, which, obviously, became more than that. Â We were the guinea pigs.
TH: Nineteen ninety-six , all anchoring was permitted in the Oculina Bank.
TH: Prohibited. Â Did this impact your fishingthats 1996, two years later?
GC: The anchoring did not. Â We never really anchored on it, anyway. Â Its kind of deep for us to anchor; its typically a lot of tide. Â So, we do what we call power fishing, where we just motor through and do a controlled drift through a pinpointed area.
TH: Okay, and theres a map on this page. Â Designated marine areas, lets see. Â In 1996, trawling for rock shrimp was prohibited in the area east and north in the designated Oculina Bank. Â In 1998, this area was incorporated into the Oculina HAPC. Â Fishing with a bottom longline trawl or dredge was prohibited in the expanded area, as was anchoring of any vessel. Â Was your fishing impacted by this regulation, and how?
GC: No. Â We were already shut down, and we had to take it out of our scope of fishing at that point.
TH: Gotcha. Â Designated marine areas that are closed to fishingthe designation of marine areas that are closed to fishing is being used more frequently as a fishery management tool. Â What do you think about the use of closed areas to fishing compared to other types of management regulations: quotas, closed seasons? Â And this is kind of open-ended: What is yourwhat [do] you feel [to be] the fairest and best way to manage fisheries?
GC: I feel that theyre setting themselves up for failure, because theyve created an enforcement nightmare. Â Theyve taken hundreds of square miles of ocean that has to be patrolled in order to manage that fishery, which theyits not economically feasible to enforce the rules that theyre creating. Â I feel that the bag limits and quotas far exceed any kind of MPA management, especially on the basis of enforcement. Â I feel that the quotas and bag limits have worked in the past, and are very much more enforceable than an MPA.
TH: Okay. Â How aboutwhen you say worked, okay, two things here: Speak to, please, the fairness of the best way to manage the fishery; and speak to the best way for the fish to manage the fishery.
GC: Well, I feel like, if you create a bag limit, that the average angler will accomplish his bag limit and either return to port or go on to a different fishery. Â I feel it gives them a goal: theyve set a goal to reach that bag limit, and then they go off to something else. Â As compared to, you know, the MPA, which isI feel like the bag limits worked far superior. Â I feel like theyve been proven through the years, where the MPA is(telephone rings)
TH: You did mentionwhat do you think about closures, major closures? Â You mentioned something about it putting more pressure on other fish earlier.
GC: I mean, I feel like if you close a certain fishery and you take the fishermen out of that fishery, the fishermen are still going fish for something else. Â So when you close a certain fishery, you add pressure to another fishery. Â So I think its a catch-22. Â I feel like if you reduce the bag limits, I think you would have accomplished more by doing that than just closing a fishery. Â Cause say you takeyou close grouper and snapper, so you take that effort and you put that combined effort on a completely different fishery. Â Cause people are gonna fish, and if you take them out of one fishery, youre gonna put them onto something else.
TH: Are people gonna pay you the same amount to fish for sea bass?
GC: No. Â No, theyre not gonna go. Â What the closures have done have forced me out of the country. Â You know, Ive had to leave the country now to be able to sustain my livelihood the way Im used to it. Â Ive had to leave the country. Â And I actually bring anglers out from my hometown to other countries to go fishing, because my own country shut my own work down completely.
TH: And youre going to?
GC: Im going to Mexico and Im going to the Bahamas.
TH: Okay, excellent. Â And one more time, the mostthe fairest, most equitable way to manage the fisheries is to adjust the quotas and adjust the bag limits?
GC: Adjust the bag limits and adjust the quotas, yes. Â Adjust the size limits. Â I feel like thats the fairest, most enforceable way to manage a fishery. Â I feel like its been proven through the years that that is the best way to manage a fishery.
TH: And LAPs? Â Well, I wont get into that.
GC: MPAs are too hard to enforce. Â And then you alsoyou take that, you take the honest person will not fish that, and youll take another fisherman, will use that as his private fishery. Â Its because its an enforcement nightmare. Â These people get away with fishing like a pirate in a closed area, because they know that its unenforceable.
TH: Finally, last question: Thinking ahead, to the future, what do you think fishing in Fort Pierce will be like in ten years?
GC: Depends on what they do with their management. Â I feel like weve had great increases in certain fisheries and declines in other fisheries. Â I feel like if the people who manage will listen to science more than personal opinions, I feel like we can manage the fishery a lot better. Â I feel like theres too many special interest groups that are overpowering the science. Â I feel we need to listen to the science of what the ocean is telling usnot what a certain group is telling us, but what the overall science tells us. Â I feel like if we listen to the science, we will be able to manage our fishery for years to come.
TH: Excellent. Â And with that, I thank you very much, Captain Cameron. (laughs)
GC: I dont want some special interest group forcing their opinion down my throat. Â I feel like if we listen to science and let science dictate it, Im for those closures. Â I am for whatever happens if science backs the thing. Â I dont want some tree-hugging special interest group saying that were hurting this fishery when, in fact, the fishery has exploded. Â I feel likeI will back
TH: Youre talking about red snapper.
GC: Yes. Â In particular, yes, red snapper. Â I feel likeif science says that we have to stop catching this, Im for that, but I dont want somebody sayingthat has nothing to do with our fishery, that lives in Colorado, gonna come here and dictate to us whats going on in our fishery. Â They dont know! Â Theyre not basing their opinion on science. Â Theyre basing it on their own personal opinion, and I feel thats wrong. Â I feel to be fair to everybody, that we base our facts on scientific study.
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