The Board of Directors of the
Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen's Association (FKCFA) and our members are
confident about the future of Monroe County's marine resources and our industry
continues to participate in cooperative research efforts to maintain and improve them. From a management
perspective, we can assure the public that the county has a growing and
sustainable seafood industry.
The Florida Keys are surrounded by a
seafood gold mine, and over the last two decades, the county has maintained its
spot as one of the top most valuable ports in the nation. With more than 350 federally
permitted fishing boats, the Florida Keys are home to the largest commercial
fleet from Texas to North Carolina. Over 80 percent of the spiny lobster
harvested in the state of Florida are caught in Monroe County, making commercial
fishing the county's second largest economic engine and employer next to tourism.
The commercial fleet supports over1,600 families, which is close to 5
percent of the county's population. Stock Island alone lands 7 million pounds
with a dockside value of $24 million — that's 5 percent of Florida's total
landings and 13 percent of total value.
2006, Monroe County was ranked the fifth most valuable port in the nation, with
a dockside value of about $54.4 million. In only 8 years that ex-vessel value has increased to more than $100 million. This figure does not include retail
sales and profits made by wholesalers who marketed seafood products worldwide. MOst economists agree to a turn-over rate within the county of 'x6' putting the value of those harvests at more than $600 million.
It's reasonable to predict that seafood and related industries earned upwards of
$70 million. This does not take into account the millions of dollars of shrimp
caught off Key West and landed at other ports around the Gulf of Mexico. The
face of the shrimping industry has changed, with many ice boats being upgraded
to freezer boats, some capable of fishing up to three months, that return to
their respective Gulf ports.
Seafood is a renewable natural resource and cooperative efforts between fisheries managers and stakeholders have kept all key indicator species in the Florida Keys at sustainable levels. Every year, our fleet harvests
responsible amounts of seafood, which allows for stocks to rebuild themselves. None of our commercially important species are overfished, including shrimp,
lobster, stone crab, kingfish, Spanish mackerel, red grouper, and mangrove,
yellowtail and mutton snappers. In addition, 80 percent of our commercial
fisheries have been recognized as "environmentally responsible" by the Monterey
Bay Aquarium's Seafood Marketing Program. FKCFA is also championing an effort to
define "sustainable fishing practices" that will conserve habitat and stocks for
These facts confirm that Monroe County's commercial
fishing community is a significant part of our economy. Aside from the money
that it generates, our commercial fleet is one of the last standing symbols of
this county's heritage.
FKCFA can assure consumers worldwide that seafood products harvested in the Florida Keys are among the safest in the world, sustainable and harvested using environmentally safe practices.
What's the difference?
Monroe County Commercial Fishermen, Inc. (MCCF)
Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen's Association (FKCFA)
MCCF dba FKCFA are one and the same. We 'do business as' Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen's Association because we are involved in both state and federal fisheries management. We adopted the new name to enhance recognition of the organization. Many folks are not familiar with Monroe County but most everyone knows about the Florida Keys. Our challenges are great; including preservation of
our working waterfronts, habitat and ecosystem management and protection and working effectively with state and federal fisheries managers for reasonable rules and regulations governing our industry.
Only if we all pull together can we continue to keep you,
Keys commercial fishermen in business!
A Few of Our
- Trip limits increased to 45,000
- Transit authority to any Florida port
Biscayne National Park
- House Natural Resources Field Hearing - August 4, 2015
- Ros-Lehtinen introduces HR 3310 to prevent large scale closures in Parks/Sanctuaries without State approval
- House Appropriations Committee Hearing on BNP set for 2016
- 2015 increase in allocation by 433,000 pounds
- Change of fishing year - August 1- July 31
- Increased penalties for trap robbing, wrung tails, out of season possession
- Increased penalties for traps no tags pending House vote this month
Spiny Lobster/Stone Crab
- Transfer of C & X numbers approved by State of Florida
- Stone Crab AP development of training videos to be completed in 2016
- ACL Exemption for Spiny Lobster incorporated into MSA reauthorization, pending congressional approval
- Expansion of fishable territory in the South Atlantic now pending SAFMC approval
- Developed grant for trap testing program approved by SAFMC and GMFMC, now awaiting final approval by NOAA/NMFS/SERO
- In 2011 our association was instrumental in the development of 60 new
sites throughout the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary dedicated to the
protection and preservation of Acropora
(Elkhorn & Staghorn) and five other types of corals indigenous to the
Florida Keys and listed by the federal
government as threatened or endangered. (Go to Lobster Info on the
- Our members routinely donate fresh Florida seafood for major fundraisers
benefiting Habitat for Humanity of the Upper Keys and The Good Health Clinic
enabling them to raise tens of thousands of dollars for their respective
- We represented the majority in the industry opposing
implementation of a controversial federal fisheries management plan called Catch
Shares, thus preserving jobs in Monroe County and the Southeastern United
- We assist The Marathon Turtle Hospital recovering turtles injured due to boat strikes, red tides, entanglements and predator attacks. throughout the year. LIkewise, we assist in releasing
rehabilitated turtles back into the wild.
- In cooperative testing with the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission we have developed new and innovative designs on lobster
traps that reduce trap movement by tides and storms up to 80% providing
additional protection to corals and fragile sea grass beds.
- Working with Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) of Key
Largo, we have assisted in data collection, geographical distribution studies
and population dynamics on lionfish, one of the most troublesome of all invasive
species ever to enter our fragile ecosystem.
- Trap cleanup efforts carried out by FKCFA members in 2011 have
removed significant amounts of marine and household debris from fragile mangrove
shorelines and Essential Fish Habitat (EFH),
- FKCFA has awarded over $53,000 (since 2006) in college scholarships
to graduating seniors from Coral Shores, Marathon and Key West High
Schools to individuals persuing further education in marine related
studies and marine law-enforcement.
- We work closely with college students on research programs for
basic and advanced degrees in marine studies.
The topics include ecosystem based management, marine debris removal
programs, coral protection, seagrass
protection, and of course studies on finfish, spiny lobster and stone crab.
We average 10-12 students per year
seeking industry assistance.
- Our association provides significant industry representation in
fisheries management with an executive director that attends all Gulf of Mexico
and South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Meetings, Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
meetings and numerous other regulatory hearings.
- Members of our association serve on a number of federal advisory panels including spiny lobster, stone crab,
king and Spanish mackerel, coral and habitat/ecosystems and the FKNMS Sanctuary
- We initiate and/or participate in numerous scientific research
projects in an effort to protect the marine environment and assure the
sustainability of the resources we harvest.
$450,000.00 in funding for FKCFA members in 2006 and $750,000,00 in 2010
as part of a FEMA-Monroe County trap cleanup measure addressing impacts from Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
In 2006 we secured a $500,000.00 grant from the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund aiding
fishermen through awards of $1,040. and $2,080 respectively to rebuild their traps and fishng gear
convinced the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council of the importance of retaining 'tailing permits' to help those who take
multiple day lobster trips.
Secured $4,800,000. in disaster aid to help fishermen recover from (1998's)
hurricanes Georges and Mitch by working with the Governor's office, our
Congressional delegation, as well as many local elected officials.
Members support these efforts by contributing their dues and making extra contributions of time and effort to particpate in fisheries management and cooperative research programs. We must all pitch-in to ensure that our fisheries are sustainable for the financial benefit of the citizenry of Monroe County and to preserve our cultural heritage. Indeed the survival of all commercial fishing in the Florida Keys is at great risk from loss of our traditional working waterfronts, excessive fishing regulations and inappropriate and unwarranted interference from some environmental groups espousing a 'sky is falling mentality' for their own personal gain.
Have a voice in your future by joining FKCFA.
You can qualify for group rate insurance for both your vessel and crew through
Check out our educational video
Fisheries in the Florida Keys:
the Conservation of Marine Resources and the Preservation of Fishing
35 minute educational video focuses on how commercial fisheries have evolved in
the Florida Keys under Federal and State fisheries management laws. The video
highlights how commercial fishermen and the general public are collaborating to
conserve marine resources and preserve working waterfronts. In addition to
administrative issues, this educational video also summarizes the long standing
heritage of commercial fisheries in the Florida Keys.
is important for the general public to realize the historical and economic
significance of commercial fisheries to the state of Florida and the U.S. Over
the last two decades, the Keys have consistently ranked within the top ten most
valuable ports in the nation; earning 70-80 million dollars annually. With more than 360
federally permitted fishing boats, the Florida Keys has the largest commercial
fleet from Texas to North Carolina.
over 25 years, the FKCFA has worked with a variety of local and national
partners to conserve marine resources. As stewards of the marine environment,
our members understand their efforts towards sustainable development are
continuing to preserve a future for commercial fishing in the
Part 4 (some of you may need to hold down the "Ctrl" button when you click on this link)
FKCFA actively promotes the organization and local fishermen by participating in a number of public events.
Keep checking in to find out what our next event will be.