Attention Gulf Red Snapper Anglers

Photo provided by: MyFWC
Photo provided by: MyFWC

Big changes to Gulf recreational red snapper management could be coming – here’s your chance to weigh in and make sure your voice is heard. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) is holding public hearings on a proposal known as regional management that could give states a larger role in red snapper management in federal waters. See meeting dates and times below.

Currently, the Council is responsible for management of the recreational red snapper fishery in all Gulf of Mexico federal waters. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) manages state waters off Florida. If the Council approves regional management, the federal recreational red snapper quota would be divided state-by-state or at a regional level, and states would set recreational seasons and bag limits in both state and federal waters off their coast.

Regional management could allow for recreational red snapper regulations in federal waters to be tailored to more local needs. However, there are possible trade-offs, such as potentially fewer fishing days for Florida red snapper anglers.

Two meetings will be held in Florida on regional management during October. Council and FWC staff will be on hand at these meetings to discuss proposal details and what it might mean for Florida anglers. If you cannot attend an in-person meeting, there will also be a webinar.

The FWC Commission will discuss regional management and review input from the public hearings at its Nov. 18-19 meeting in Panama City. This input will help the FWC Commission decide how the FWC representative on the Council should vote on the Council’s regional management proposal.

The Council is expected to make a final decision on regional management at its Jan. 25-29 meeting in Orange Beach, AL.

Meeting dates and locations:
All in-person meetings begin at 6 p.m. local time and end no later than 9 p.m. local time. The webinar begins at 6 p.m. Eastern Time.

Thurs, October 22, 2015
Embassy Suites
570 Scenic Gulf Drive
Destin, FL 332550

Tues, October 27, 2015
Hilton St. Petersburg
Carillon Park
950 Lake Carillon Dr.
St. Petersburg, FL 33716

Wed, October 28, 2015

Click here to register!

Public Hearing Guides with details about the Council’s regional management proposal will be posted on the Council website at

Become a Better Advocate with NMMA’s Grassroots Advocacy Tool Kit.

In an effort to keep the recreational boating industry up to date of legislative work and engaged in advocacy activities, the NMMA has put together a new all-inclusive Grassroots Tool-Kit. A PDF can be downloaded here.

The tool-kit is intended to be a resource you can turn to to be a better advocate, to share our industry’s story with key influencers and decision makers, as a guide to hosting Congressional visits and much more. We hope you will use this as reference material in your daily endeavors, as we strive to make industry advocacy a 365 day reality. If you have any questions, please contact Michael Lewan at

NMMA -National Marine Manufacturers Association

SWFMIA PRESS RELEASE – Jopie Helsen named “Member of the Year”

FORT MYERS, FL — Jopie Helsen, owner of the Sailor’s Wharf in St. Petersburg, FL was named “Member of the Year” by the Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association at its recent annual dinner.

“Jopie has been an outstanding advocate of the marine industry for many years and has played a huge role in the growth of our association in the Tampa Bay Region,” said SWFMIA President Hans Wilson. “In particular, his role in protecting the interests of recreational boating in the development of St. Petersburg’s Master Plan for their downtown waterfront is a classic example of what drive and determination can achieve. The marine industry is very fortunate to have someone as dedicated as Jopie is to the boating lifestyle.”

The inscription on the award reads:
“Lead Me, Follow Me, or Get Out of My Way”, General George S. Patton
(Or, was it Jopie Helsen?) Many people have great ideas and good intentions, but few have the focus and drive it takes to carry through. Fortunately for the Marine Industry, Jopie Helsen is one of those few. His success as a world-class racing sailor, a boat manufacturer, and since 1978, owner of St. Petersburg’s The Sailor’s Wharf Yacht Yard is well known. Jopie’s leadership and energy has been the catalyst in the growth of the Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association in the Tampa Bay Area. He has worked tirelessly to educate business and government leaders on the economic impact of recreational boating, the need to responsibly manage Southwest Florida’s magnificent waterfront, and the importance of promoting the boating lifestyle to residents and visitors. Husband, Father, Business Owner, Marine Industry Veteran, and Friend.

Thanks Jopie for all you do.