Congress Considers State Management of Gulf Red Snapper
Hearing on Rep. Jeff Miller’s bill explores options to flawed federal management system
WASHINGTON, DC (12-4-14) – The U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs held a hearing today on legislation to transfer management of Gulf red snapper from the federal system and allow the states to take responsibility for the fishery. The legislation, H.R. 3099, proposes a new course for management of Gulf red snapper, an important fishery that has been plagued by short seasons and privatization schemes even as the stock has recovered beyond expectations.
“As a result of the current federal management of Gulf red snapper, we have witnessed lawsuit after lawsuit, and anglers continue to be hit with the shortest recreational seasons on record and are justifiably outraged,” said Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), who led a bipartisan coalition with Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) to file H.R. 3099. “Furthermore, the failed management has done significant economic harm to communities along the Gulf Coast who rely on the billions of dollars anglers spend annually. This is clearly a cry for help.”
H.R. 3099, which currently has 20 bipartisan cosponsors, aligns with a call from four Gulf States governors for Congress to take action to reverse the damaging economic impacts currently resulting from an “irretrievably broken” system of federal management of Gulf red snapper.
Vitter Urges Dept. of Commerce to Discard Controversial Red Snapper Proposal
Proposed amendment would unnecessarily divide recreational red snapper sector
(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, today sent a letter to Penny Pritzker, Secretary of the Department of Commerce. In the letter, Vitter urges Secretary Pritzker to deny a request by the Gulf of Mexico Regional Fishing Management Council (Gulf Council) to divide the recreational red snapper sector.
“Recreational fishing is a way of life for many Louisianians and residents along the Gulf Coast and the Gulf Council’s amendment is putting that in danger. Their proposal to further divide the recreational fishing sector is completely unnecessary, based on an incomplete economic analysis, and goes well beyond their federally mandated authority,” said Vitter. “It is crucial for Gulf fishermen, tackle shops, boat retailers, and the surrounding communities that Secretary Pritzker denies the Gulf Council’s request to move forward on this highly controversial proposal.
Gulf Council sells out on snapper
Council decision relegates recreational anglers to bystanders in snapper fishery
MOBILE, ALABAMA (10-24-14) – The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council approved a highly controversial management plan for red snapper this week that will take a significant percentage of the recreational quota and reserve it solely for use by the charter/for-hire industry. The Council approved Amendment 40, known as sector separation, by a 10-7 vote over opposition from several Gulf states, Congress, the vast majority of recreational anglers and even from within the charter/for-hire industry itself. The amendment will now be sent to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce for final approval.
“It is extremely disappointing that such a flawed management proposal was approved in the face of so much opposition,” said Bill Bird, chairman of Coastal Conservation Association’s National Government Relations Committee. “Significant questions over key components of Amendment 40 were never adequately addressed. This amendment will create such striking inequities for private recreational anglers that it is difficult to understand how this amendment will be sustainable. It is infuriating that the Gulf Council continues its give away of a public resource when the public has neither a reasonable season nor reasonable size and bag limits for that same resource.”
Artificial Reef Construction at The Pickets Underway
CCA Louisiana and partners launch artificial reef project to save famed Louisiana trout hotspot
The Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana, along with partners, Apache Corporation, Fieldwood Energy and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, began construction today on an artificial reef system in Ship Shoal 26, known by many Louisiana anglers as “the Pickets.”
The Pickets Reef is being constructed of roughly 14,000 tons of 4-inch limestone over three specially engineered artificial reefs. The reef is designed to protect depressions in the seafloor that were created by the prevailing current flowing around and through the Pickets. In doing so, the reefs will maintain and enhance these scour holes, while providing additional habitat for marine life.
National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucus Speaks Against Sector Separation
On behalf of the Executive Council of the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC), and as Co-Chairs of the Mississippi and Kentucky Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucuses, we would like to thank you for the opportunity to comment on proposed Amendment 40 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico. NASC is comprised of 44 state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses, including those of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
Congressmen urge Council to table Amendment 40
Sportsmen’s Caucus urges ‘fair and euitable balance’ in red snapper fishery
WASHINGTON, DC (10-20-14) – The Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) has joined a groundswell of opposition to a controversial mangemement proposal for Gulf red snapper scheduled for a final vote of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council this week in Mobile, Alabama. In a letter to the Gulf Council, the CSC, the largest bipartisan caucus in Congress with nearly 300 members in 49 states, calls for Amendment 40 – Sector Separation to be tabled.
“While we fully support a better management approach to alleviate the hardships of an extremely short recreational season on the charter/for-hire fishery, providing more days of fishing for a select few while completely ignoring the impacts to the majority of participants is irresponsible,” CSC Co-Chairs Representatives Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) explained in the letter. “Other options that address the needs of the recreational fishery as a whole should be on the table.”